The Tarnasey Farm Story
I’m going to let you in on a little secret………..Tarnasey Farm is actually not about the kids and animals…….well not totally about them anyway.
My name is Kerry, I grew up in Adelaide and then, in my early teens my family moved to central Eyre Peninsula for a “Tree Change”. It was here I developed my love of animals and horses and horse riding. After school I completed my apprenticeship and became a fully qualified chef and moved to Port Lincoln, Whyalla and ultimately back to Adelaide where I met my future husband. I had a variety of jobs from administration, accounts work, sales and even worked in the finance industry. During all of this I also managed my husband’s security business and we paid the mortgage and had quite a fulfilling and happy life. In 2002 we were expecting our first child, a son named Cooper. Unfortunately, although born at full term he only survived for one day. It was one of the hardest times of my life along with everyone around us but little did I know just how much it would impact my life in the future. Deciding to let fate play it’s roll it was not long after that when we found we were expecting another baby. Tarran (2003) was born a happy and healthy baby and then a few years later we were told we were expecting twins. We were all completely shocked by the news and to be honest, even though I have a younger brother and sister that are twins, I really had no idea what I was in for. Shanae & Casey (2008) arrived and it was hard work but it has definitely been a blessing and another contributing factor to how I got to where I am today. Reaching out to other mothers in the sleep deprived haze of newborn twins I joined a “Multiple Birth Playgroup” and soon became a joint coordinator with another beautiful mum there. As part of this group we decided to go away to a farm stay south of Adelaide with all our kids for a weekend. We had a lovely time, the sun was shining, the animals were great, the kids had a fantastic time as the girls were now toddlers and Tarran was school age.
The booking was made, I spent Thursday and Friday packing and getting ready and then loaded up the car and headed off. My husband was working so it was just myself and the children. When we arrived I was trying to contain 2 toddlers that wanted to explore and a 5 year old boy that just wanted to see the animals and I was trying to get everything sorted to make tea. On the Saturday morning we made the trek over the hill to feed the animals and to this day all of my kids remember that as a very fond early childhood memory. Ok, I have to admit, I loved it too!! In the afternoon the girls had a sleep and Tarran was playing on the playground and I sat outside in the sun and thought “this is great, I can stop for 5 minutes, it’s quiet and peaceful. I wish I could do this. If I did this there are things that I would have done differently”. My mind wandered to all the things I would change but it was filed somewhere in the brain space as I never thought it would be a possibility with our mortgage and the kids to bring up.
A year or so later I was back in my corporate suit, buying my latte in the morning after the dreaded day care drop off and pretending I was happy to be heading off to my finance job. I sat through a 6 hour meeting and came home exhausted. I distinctly remember laying on the lounge and thinking back to that afternoon in the sun and wishing I was there instead of where I was. I got up off the lounge and looked up realestate.com. My brother lived in Kadina and mum and dad were moving to Wallaroo so I typed in Wallaroo and 205 Ellis Road came up. 27 acres rural living, near the beach, a beautiful 4 bedroom home. Essentially, it was actually a house in a paddock with a couple of small animal shelters and 3 car shed. When my husband came home I showed him the house and told him I wanted to buy it, move there and build a farm stay but build it the way I thought would work better. I was actually half joking, I knew it would never be a possibility. We were only just getting by financially and our marriage had deteriorated over the years and I had no doubt it would mean a lot of team work and I wasn’t sure that we would even survive the move. His response was “if you want to then make it happen”. I sat in shock. Really? For real? He was going to support me in this?. My mind raced, bringing the kids up in the country instead of living on Cross Road, having horses and animals, creating a beautiful place where people could feel how I felt that day……..
There was no stopping me. Within two days I had drawn up a plan on a piece of paper of where I wanted everything including the cabins and paddock fences, I’d organised an inspection of the property and I fell in love with it. In the next few months we finished renovating our home on Cross Road and put it on the market, negotiated with the agent and put an offer on the house which was accepted and we were moving to the country to build a farm stay. For some reason it felt absolutely normal and exhilarating. I met with the Copper Coast Council and several other people and got them on board.
With my husband travelling back to Adelaide for his business during the week and me working at cleaning up the property and trying to get things moving with minimal money, looking after the children and working part time as a book keeper for some local businesses our marriage further deteriorated and we separated in 2013. My ex-husband and I remain very amicable and he resides in Wallaroo with shared care of our beautiful, well adjusted children and to this day remains supportive of my venture here.
This left me as a single mum and a whole lot of soul searching to do about me, my life and how the hell I got to where I was. Building fences was my therapy. With the fresh air and the satisfaction at the end of the day of how many holes I had dug or how many rails I had put up I was on a mission. Through the hours upon hours of blood, sweat and tears of building the fences, sometimes “helped” by the animals that had seemed to have found their way here, the property was taking shape. It was beginning to look a lot like what I had drawn on that piece of paper. With absolutely no financial assistance from any organisations or the government I had to be resourceful. I bought all the posts second hand and I did the majority of the physical work myself to save on labour. Financially it has been a blur, I am not even sure how I have managed to achieve what I have.
Eventually I got the property to a point where I was satisfied enough to approach the bank and ask for a loan to provide the infrastructure for the cabins. It was starting to seem an impossible task as I had obtained quotes for the power, water and waste requirements and I had no idea how I was going to make the repayments let alone convince the bank to lend me the money to do it. A windfall, a family member had some cabins in the caravan park at Roxby Downs and had to move them out and asked if I wanted them. Armed with this information and the potential income they could generate, a business plan and council approval (that took 3 years) I headed to the bank and got the approval a few months later. It was then that things really started moving, the cabins arrived and the fences got finished, trees were planted, driveways, landscaping and earthworks, stobie poles, rainwater tanks, bio systems, plumbing and so much more. At the same time I was also presented with an opportunity to buy a fresh produce business in December 2016 and this has been an absolute life saver. Although it is also hard work and long and very strange hours it has given me the income to make the repayments on the money I borrowed for the infrastructure while getting everything ready for the Grand Opening on 29th September 2018.
I have never lost sight of my plan and my dream. Tarnasey Farm looks exactly as I planned it right from the very beginning with so much more to come in the future. The hours and hours of work physically and mentally, not to mention the administration work, meetings, networking and money that I have poured into this place have been extensive as have been the challenges. All I wanted to do was build a farm stay with friendly animals, with a safe environment for the kids so that their parents actually get to have a rest and enjoy their time away without worrying where their children were or if they had wandered too far. Seeing families sit and relax on the deck of their cabin and listen to the kids running, playing and laughing and seeing the smiles on everybody’s faces when they interact with my beloved animals is my reward and it takes my breath away every single time. The sacrifices have been epic to say the least but the hard work has paid off (now hopefully I can pay the bank off!!) and I am so proud to share this beautiful place I have created along with the help and support of my beautiful family, friends and the local community, with you and I am so humbled that you have chosen to visit us here at Tarnasey Farm. Thank you and welcome.