In the heart of Australia’s Northern Rivers region, in Byron Bay Shire, near the character filled town of Mullumbimby, there is a house… on a hill and it’s been there for a hundred years. Today, locals passing by lovingly call it ‘The Old Girl but its real name is ‘Longfield’ and it’s a 100-acre farm with a homestead built sometime around 1890. Its wraparound bullnose veranda, dilapidated grandeur and prominent position on a north-facing grassy knoll make it a much-loved local landmark that has sat empty for forty years, decaying in the sub-tropical climate.
But now Longfield has a new owner, Mel Macpherson.
Mel, with the help of her interesting and eclectic group of friends, is breathing new life into Longfield, an 18 month project that will see the ‘Old Girl’ reimagined and brought back to life. The existing building will be painstakingly reconstructed with the addition of a modern extension, the long-neglected paddocks restored through regenerative farming; and a new way of living shown to the world.
But this story isn’t a simply home renovation. The story of The Old Girl is also the story of Mel, who recently reached her 40’s – lost her father, left her husband and began to explore and accept her changing sexuality – all in the space of a few years.
As she begins the physical undertaking of rebuilding a house and converting her land into a regenerative farm, so too she must address the state of her own infrastructure and in the process, she will show us what bravery truly is.