Falls Forest Retreat

OUR STORY

We are honoured to be on the ancestral lands of the Birpai people. We acknowledge the First Australians as the traditional custodians of the continent, whose cultures are among the oldest living cultures in human history. We pay respect to the Elders of the community and extend our recognition to their descendants who are present.

Once an old world dairy, the estate as we know it was acquired in the 1960s and established as a commune soon after. The Falls Forest Retreat and the buildings here were purpose built as a place for families to live together in communion surrounded by nature. It is as abundant in local history as it is in flora and fauna.

For decades, babies were raised on the hips of their mothers, while fathers tended to the land in harmony with each other, planting fruit trees and other food crops. Bricks were laid, gardens were sown as a community evolved through the seasons. As years rolled on and the babies grew and arms weakened, the commune slowly came to an end. The estate was subsequently purchased by an investor, who took it upon himself to plant thousands of blackbutt trees, a eucalyptus tree known for being one of the best timbers in Australia. These tall trees sway in the wind in the forest that surrounds us. 

While these trees were one day meant for harvest, thus tripling the value of the property, the land was once again put on the market now selling as a cash crop. Along came famous paleobotanist Mary E. White with 60 years of unparalleled scientific knowledge behind her. With the help of her extensive life's research, she discovered a hidden pocket of ancient Gondwana Rainforest had emerged among the limbs of the blackbutts and from the base of the National Park. The planting of these trees had led to a mass rewilding, protecting and regenerating ancient flora and fauna once thought to be extinct here. She purchased the property and immediately went to work and with the help of Sir David Attenborough, acquired 226 acres of forest and turned it into conservation land – a rainforest sanctuary that is forever protected by it's status, no matter whose hands take over. The surrounding is home to a variety of Jurassic flora and fauna some of which are endangered and found nowhere else in the world. It is home to many endangered species such as the gold and green bell frog, giant barred frog and the grey-headed flying fox to name a few. Mary White called it her “legacy to the nation and the planet”. During her time, the late Mary White used this space as a way to educate and share her life's accomplishments in wildlife protection. Upon her retirement, the property was acquired by our family, in search of a peaceful family retreat which we now have the absolute honour and pleasure to share with you.

In the stillness of the day, we hear the echos of the recent past chiming throughout these story-keeping walls and we look forward to sharing it's magic with you and your loved ones.

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DREAMTIME STORY

The Three Brothers

The Three Brother Mountains are unique to the Camden Haven, and held dear by most locals for their mighty presence and the haunting Aboriginal story of how they came to be. The Dreamtime legend tells the story of three brothers, who were killed by a witch called Widjirriejuggi and were buried where the mountains stand. The three mountains lie between the villages of Laurieton and Moorland, south of Port Macquarie.

The three brothers of the Biripi tribe lived near the Camden Haven River. The legend invariably has been altered over time and by different storytellers, and there are a number of different versions. The version below is brief description as told by Harry Buchanan in 1976 (NPWS Aboriginal Sites Register). Harry Buchanan was a Gumbangirra tribal Elder and this version was told many of the Aboriginal legends throughout the Kattang, Biripi, Thungutti and Gumbangirra tribes ranging from Taree to Grafton:

The three brothers had undergone their initiation and they were required to live in the bush for several months before returning to their tribe. During this period, the brothers became worried about their parents and the youngest brother volunteered to check on them. Just as he was leaving, he saw an old witch arrive near their camp. When the youngest brother arrived at his parents' camp he told them how he had seen the old witch and the father said 'go quickly or the old lady will kill your two brothers and eat them'. Just before he left, his father gave him a special boomerang which was to keep him safe.

When he arrived back, he saw the old woman and she said she had eaten his brothers and was now going to eat him. Before she got a chance, he hit her on the head with the boomerang and killed her. He then gathered his brother's bones and buried them where North Brother and Middle Brother Mountains stand today. He then went to where the South Brother Mountain now is, and because he was ashamed that he had not saved his two brothers, he killed himself.

Dooragan was the name given to North Brother Mountain by local Aboriginal people, according to Elaine Van Kempen in her 1997 book ‘ A History of North Brother Mountain, Dooragan National Park’ because it was seen as the “protector” of the area.

North and Middle Brother are national parks. The Three Brothers Mountains are a spiritual place for Aboriginal people, who feel a connection to their country and their ancestors when they go there. The mountains are visible from all around, and the local Aboriginal people believe that the mountains protect them. 


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The mighty spirits of creation stirred that night, and where each body lay, there rose a mountain to mark the tragedy. From this time on the mountains were know as the 'Three Birroguns' or wise men of the Biripi tribe.

Harry Buchanan, 1976

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