Margie Lee-Madigan knows Broadmere like the back of her hand and Barkers Creek runs in her blood.
For over a century the Lee-Madigan family have lived on Broadmere: 2700 hectares of undulating black and red soil country, located near Nanango in the South Burnett region.
The property used to be a dairy before it became a commercial cattle operation in the 1960s.
Santa Gertrudis cattle line the driveway leading to Broadmere homestead, a fifth-generation Queenslander home looking over the undulating creek flats of Barkers Creek.
Mrs Madigan, whose great-great grandfather built the homestead in 1889, lives on the property with her husband Scott, and children Bridget, 21, and Jack, 17, when they are home on holidays.
The garden at Broadmere tells a story of love, dedication, and one of survival through years of drought, frosts and damaging storms.
Sausage, the family's pet deer, pokes her head over the house yard fence that protects the strategically placed plants from becoming a snack for the livestock.
Walking around the garden Mrs Madigan is able to point out spots linked to memories from her childhood; a photo taken in front of this bush and a party held under that tree.
Mrs Madigan said the main objective over the years was discovering which plants and trees would survive in the unique conditions at Broadmere, those able to handle dry summers and frosty winters.
She recalls many mornings where the bird bath in the front garden was covered with a layer of ice until 10 in the morning.
In a stark contrast, the Madigans were having to cart water for the garden and front lawn during the recent drought before discovering that many plants did not take to the bore water being used.
Considering the extreme conditions, there are still a number of species that thrive at Broadmere, including the historic trees and shrubs.
The various species spaced around the house and sheds are the stars of the show, the 100-year-old Chinese elm the centrepiece of the front garden.
However, the century-old jacaranda tree is Mrs Madigan's favourite, particularly when it is bursting with its distinct purple flowers towards the end of spring.
Silky oaks, camphor laurels and pepperina trees also make an appearance around the garden, framing the homestead and setting the scene of a true generational home.
Small shrubs are dotted around the garden with many crepe myrtles and camellia japonicas sprouting spectacularly coloured flowers in the autumn months.
Many of the smaller layering plants are over 50 years old, brought to Broadmere by Mrs Madigan's mother and grandmother in the property's earlier days.
"My Mum was from Sydney originally and when she first moved up here a lot of the locals gave her young plants and that's how her garden happened, from a lot of cuttings," she said.
"Mum was in a lot of community groups, she'd always come home with cuttings and take some from here for other people.
"That's what a lot of bush women did and that's how it evolved, it was all things that had been swapped around with country neighbours."
Throughout the garden beds brightly coloured agapanthus and gerberas are some of the few species planted in the ground that has now been taken over by the roots of the old trees, meaning Mrs Madigan has taken to using pot plants in many places.
An impressive rose garden is the newest addition to the line-up.
The garden is also home to different birds, something that is very important to Mrs Madigan, despite the parrots often eating her home-grown tomatoes.
King parrots, top knot pigeons, and double bar finches eat from the feeders hanging in the trees and play in the bird baths around the yard.
Lemon, orange and lime trees, as well as mulberry bushes, grow around the cattle yards and workers' cottage, remnants of the old orchard that was removed years ago.
Mrs Madigan describes the garden as an "escape" from the realities of farm life, particularly during hard times such as the drought that hit many parts of Australia over the last decade.
She believes that the upkeep of the garden plays an integral role in the maintaining the wellbeing of both the farm and the family.
"I am a believer that the garden is a place to come in from a day of hard work and it's a bit of an oasis," she said.
"If there's a shady tree to sit or lie under, it's a bit of relief for your mental wellbeing, it's good for the soul. It's a really important part of our lifestyle."
When Broadmere homestead was originally built in 1889 it was just a small home near the banks of Barkers Creek, but due to flooding was moved to a new site a few years later in the early 1890s where it was completed and still stands today.
The original structure now makes up the lounge and dining room of the homestead, which is situated on a rocky ironstone hill with a blend of red rock soil.
Mrs Madigan jokes that her great-great-grandparents were not thinking of the garden when they built the homestead in its current position, as the rocky soil makes it difficult for plants to survive, whereas the paddocks just outside the house yard have "beautiful" black soil.
The iconic Queenslander verandah is the only part of the homestead that has been renovated, when Margie and Scott restored the boards using ironbark timber from their own property, with no structural changes being made since it was fully built.
"We've kept the structure of the original old Queenslander and to us it's really important," Mrs Madigan said.
"To me it's important to keep the structure and the history.
"The house is so stable, it has seen many windstorms and it's still standing where modern homes around us haven't."
With French doors, heritage furniture, an antique glassware cabinet, and even more plants, the verandah is the feature of the homestead.
The east-facing home ensures that the verandah receives plenty of morning sun, making it the perfect spot to warm up and have some smoko in the cooler months.
Mrs Madigan said her mother used to spend time knitting and crocheting for charities on the front verandah when she wasn't out helping her father on the farm.
It is also Mrs Madigan's favourite space in the homestead, but she admits that the family don't spend as much time there as they would like due to limited free time from running their commercial cattle operation.
Despite some terrifying storms, the homestead has stood the test of time.
One of the worst hit the night of Mrs Madigan's 21st birthday.
"We had a terrible storm here on the night of my 21st and we had a circus tent up with 150 people here," she said.
"The whole tent blew down, the carpets in the house were lifting, and we ended up with six inches of rain that night and terrible hail damage.
"We've had some doozies but everything has survived."
An 80-year-old Isabella grape vine can be seen hanging from the outdoor pergola nestled in between the front and back sections of the house, forming a shaded seating area used as a bar and entertaining space.
It is clear the Madigans are proud of their family history with a personalised doormat welcoming visitors through the front door, pillows decorating the verandah furniture and a hessian-wrapped light shade hanging from the kitchen ceiling, all bearing the property name and year of establishment.
The highlight of the kitchen is a heritage wood stove that was not long ago retired from its duties, now posing as a cupboard in all its aged glory.
Paintings and family photos, new and old, line the walls and flowers from the garden sit in vases all around the home, bringing some of the colour from outside into each room.
Hanging on the wall in the dining room is a painting of the original homestead showing the old red colour of the roof, shaded by the silky oak trees that still stand out the front of the home today.
It is not a museum-like house where memorabilia is hidden behind cupboard doors, rather a home to be lived in and enjoyed as it has been by five generations over the last 132 years.
Mrs Madigan said the family has experienced plenty of milestones at the homestead over the years.
"It's a true generational farm, so we have celebrated many milestones here," she said.
"Lots of things have happened here, but being able to keep going on a family-run operation is a milestone on its own because unfortunately a lot of families haven't been able to do that for various reasons."
With both of the Madigan children pursuing careers in agriculture, it is likely that Broadmere will stay within the family for decades to come.
Also read: Argyle homestead a diamond in Geham's crown
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