Five minutes drive from The Racecourse Inn is Brickendon Farm, one of Australia’s oldest farming properties, which has been continuously farmed by the Archer Family since 1824. ?Situated on the alluvial soils of the Norfolk Plains, on the banks of the Macquarie River, Brickendon lies next to Woolmers, also an?important convict estate.
In July 2010 Brickendon and nearby Woolmers were listed as World Heritage properties, in honour of their convict past. ?The two Estates are regarded as the most significant rural estates in Australia having the second largest number of convict workers and still retaining a living history from early European settlement to the present day. ?Brickendon used assigned convicts, who were not paid wages, but fed, housed and clothed by the Archers. ?Many of the men were skilled tradesmen, including blacksmiths and wheelwrights, and others worked the fields. ?Women were almost exclusively assigned to domestic work, and were not allowed to fraternise with the men, but several did marry, and even if previously married in the United Kingdom, were allowed to marry in the colonies once seven years had passed.
The probation system was introduced to Van Diemen?s Land in 1839. The?key principles were that both punishment and reform could be achieved by separate confinement and a regime of hard labour, religious instruction and education. Once prisoners passed through the different levels of probation they became available for hire to the settlers, and with sustained good conduct, eventually gained a?ticket-of-leave or a pardon, with many settling?in the Longford area. ?The average age of convicts at Brickendon was 23, with the oldest 59 and the youngest only 13. ?Many were repeat offenders.
The small chapel is a brick single-roomed Victorian Picturesque Rustic Gothic building, with a high pitched shingled gabled roof, belltower and gabled foyer. The chapel is highly decorative with many neo-gothic features including brick buttresses and decorative fascias and stained glass windows.
Brickendon is still run as a productive mixed-use farm of 453ha. ?In William Archer’s diary detailing the running of the property, he identifies one third of the men as skilled agricultural labourers.
The Blacksmith’s shop is as it was when the last blacksmith left in the 1930s.
The pillar granary features a unique set of?curved sandstone piers known as ?staddle stones?,?designed to keep out rodents.