Shortly after the construction of their farmhouse “Fairview” from pit-sawn white beech timber in 1907, the Pattemore family set about the next stage of their farming plans. They constructed dairy bails yards and a share-farmer’s house called “Mosman” on a ridge about 400 metres to the east of their home, Fairview. Whilst Mosman is gone, removed to Caloundra in the 1950’s, the sturdily built bails remain, although now in a deteriorated condition.
The Pattemore’s dairy bails serve as an important historical reminder to Maleny’s dairying past from the turn of the century, linking the living and working lives of dairy farmers of that time to Maleny’s built heritage. They are one of of the last remaining examples in the district of a walk-through milking parlour, bestowing a high historical significance to Maleny, the region and to the dairy industry.
Built as walk-through bails, their construction allowed for six stalls with feeders. Hand-milking their herd twice daily was initially the job of the Pattemore brothers. However the model the Pattemores set up for their farming enterprise from the start was to employ share-farming families to run their dairy farm. You can read more about the principals of share-farming here.
The bails were in continuous use from 1908 until long after the Pattemores sold their farm after JR Pattemore’s death in 1948. The families that came after them, who also lived at Fairview, continued dairying, using the bails to milk their cows. It wasn’t until the Caloundra City Council acquired what was by then the Armstrong’s family farm, in 1995, that their usage changed. The bails and surrounding land was then agisted under lease to Glen and Kathy Honor in 1996, who ran Droughtmaster beef cattle, still using the sheds and yards to work their cattle. The land around them was slowly becoming developed into what today has become the Maleny Community Precinct, owned by the Sunshine Coast Council.
The Fairview Cow Bails, as they are now known, form an historic back-drop to the 18 hole Maleny Golf Club, with a Heritage Walking Trail meandering past them as part of the wider Maleny Trail, on the now developed Maleny Community Precinct. However, they need some serious TLC to allow visitors and walkers to safely enjoy them and understand their role.
Our group, the Friends of Pattemore House, have been working for many years to have them recognised as an important heritage reminder of Maleny’s dairying past. Subsequently, a new subcommittee (Fairview Bails Restoration Committee) was established in January 2022 to reinvigorate the restoration plans under the Chairmanship of one of our members, John te Kloot. The Vision Statement of this new group, working together with the Sunshine Coast Council, is to:
- restore and preserve the Fairview milking shed and yards for the future education and enjoyment of all
- restore and preserve the Fairview shed and yards, including the six unique walk-through cow bails
- enable visitors safe access to guided tours and non-entry viewing
The Sunshine Coast Council supports our aims and, subject to funding, has agreed to commence weedy vegetation clearing and the required safety and structural engineering assessments, in support of ongoing works and restoration. Additional financial support has been provided by Councillor Winston Johnston, enabling Stage One of the planned restoration works to commence; the repairs and replacement of The Old Bail’s external gates and cattle yards.
Looking to the future and with council support, the Fairview Bails Restorations Committee will work with Maleny’s volunteer community organisations to restore, maintain and preserve the historic site. Once this has been achieved, our new group is working on a future Display Management Plan to create interpretation panels about the history of the Old Bails. Upon completion of the project, visitors will be able enjoy safe viewing of the building – whilst learning all about the dairying and share-farming past of Maleny, as seen through the eyes of the dairying families who spent their working lives at the Old Bails.