Willards Farm history to be preserved as work kicks off to maintain the 1870s homestead at Birkdale Community Precinct

MAINTENANCE work will start on the heritage-protected Willards Farm as its future place within Birkdale Community Precinct begins to take shape.

Willard's Farm on the Birkdale Community Precinct.

Willard's Farm on the Birkdale Community Precinct.

A program of works is being prepared for restoration priorities for the site, which is one of the oldest residences in the Redlands, believed to date back to the 1870s.

Mayor Karen Williams said works were completed recently to help stabilise the structural integrity of the farmhouse's main supports.

"This is such a well-loved and important property and it will no doubt become a jewel in the crown of Birkdale Community Precinct as we go forward," she said.

Investigations have been completed as part of developing the updated conservation management plan for Willards Farm.

"There will be maintenance work carried out on some of the farm's significant trees in coming months."

Cr Williams said the Birkdale Community Precinct's protected heritage areas included the former World War II radio receiving station built in 1943 by the US Army Signals Corp.

Cr Paul Bishop said Willards Farm, aka The Pines, held a special place in both history and the heart of the Birkdale community.

"There are so many heritage values tied up in this place, there are gateways to knowledge and ongoing stories of significance yet to be explored here," he said.

The original homestead and surrounding buildings, such as the milking shed and creamery, help to anchor the Birkdale Community Precinct within its early European and pioneer context.

"The structures were built by the Willards using simple bush carpentry techniques made from local timbers felled on site, including white beech, swamp beech, cedar and pine.

"The exact date the homestead was constructed is uncertain but it was likely around 1876 when owners James and Margaret Willard took out a mortgage on the land they had owned and farmed since 1865," he said.

Council bought the property at 302 Old Cleveland Road East in March 2016 following community concern that the site was subject to a development approval for residential lots.

Council then negotiated the purchase of the neighbouring 61-hectares of Commonwealth land, securing the property in December 2019.

The land is earmarked for a whitewater rafting facility after Brisbane secured the 2032 Olympic games last month.

"It is such a large property that a large number of uses and facilities can be accommodated without impacting on the precinct's heritage values.

"Other uses will also bring attention and appreciation to the heritage-listed sites that it contains," Cr Williams said.

Some of the ideas put forward for Willards Farm by the community include ventures such as farmers' market place, bush food gardens, a café or restaurant, paddock-to-plate dining experiences, and an agrifarm experience demonstrating traditional and contemporary farming methods.

A vision document for the precinct is being prepared and would be presented to council shortly.

For more information on Birkdale Community Precinct go to yoursay.redland.qld.gov.au/imagine