Making a community on the Murray
Old Blythewood is a beautiful old farmhouse that sits on Bindjareb Noongar Country on a high bank overlooking the Murray River.
For tens of thousands of years prior to the existence of this house, the Bindjareb Noongar made the most of the rich natural environment of the area, using fire and other methods to encourage species they prized for sustainable farming, hunting and gathering.
John and Mary Anne McLarty bought the property in 1856, giving it the name ‘Blythewood’ and building the house that still stands today. Set on a high bank overlooking the fertile flats of the Murrary River, Old Blythewood stands as a testament to the industry, ingenuity and flexibility of the McLarty family.
John was a tenant famer and Mary Anne the local postmistress. Not content to simply farm the land, in 1860 John was granted a publican’s licence and the house was built to accommodate the family business as well as the family itself.
Patrons of the McLarty family’s hotel and post office entered the small rooms off the veranda while access to the family bedrooms was from the dining room and parlour and a detached kitchen block was built at the rear.
The house was gifted to the National Trust by the McLarty family in 1972.
The National Trust recognises that Old Blythewood sits on Binjareb Noongar Country, and that it is downstream from where the Pinjarra Massacre took place in 1834. We are committed to reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and our work at Old Blythewood provides an opportunity to recognise the the resilience of the Binjareb people and their ongoing connection to the land.
In 2019 the Trust approached the local Bindjareb Noongar community to talk about preparing a new Conservation Plan for Old Blythewood. We are continuing our work with the community to ensure that the story of the landscape in which Blythewood sits is shared with our visitors.
Recent conservation works
After completing extensive conservation works to Old Blythewood, this state-listed heritage place is now open to the public once again.
Lotterywest funding supported the conservation works to the house and kitchen building. The works, which were carried out through 2020–21, included roof repairs, timber floor works, masonry conservation, external timber painting and site drainage works.
See, Do, Explore
Make a booking to explore the house and gardens of Old Blythewood to appreciate the industry and innovation of the McLarty family. Or come along to the annual Jazz Picnic in the Gardens, held in spring.