AllCommunity NewsGisela Horner

Christmas on TV at Bella Vista Farm

Film Crew Christmas On Tv At Bella Vista FarmLifestyle show Better Homes and Gardens has been a popular addition to Channel 7’s output for decades and this year, they decided to celebrate their Christmas show at Bella Vista Farm (aired 1st December). Check out Episode 44 of the show on click on Shows/Better Homes and Gardens.

“Every single person here is so impressed by Bella Vista’s beauty and what is on offer for people to come and experience” says Johanna Griggs who joined the show in 2005. “At Bella Vista Farm you can actually immerse yourself in a bygone era and learn about the history.

It is amazing. Settlers left us with a great legacy – these magnificent trees and buildings – they are all so important. Even if you don’t have the history when you come here, you would just love a day out in these incredible grounds. It is an unexpected bonus”.

Johanna, former teenage swimming backstroke champion, showed great interest and knowledge about the farm, its originators and its volunteers who continue to keep the farm alive and active.

Graham Ross, the program’s award-winning gardening expert, a local resident, knows the farm well, visiting on many occasions. “When I hear the property is open, I always mention it on my radio program (The Garden Clinic on 2GB).

Ws Setup Shot Christmas On Tv At Bella Vista Farm
Crew setting up for the shoot

The Hills is a great growth region. Bella Vista Farm gives all of us a wonderful opportunity to experience our history firsthand.” Graham is particularly impressed by the beautiful line of Bunya trees on the property. “Look at them – those Araucaria bidwillii – they are fantastic. Nobody is planting rows of them like that.

I would like to see even more along the driveway! Trees are precious, buildings are precious and the history it represents is precious. Australia is a special island, it’s a unique community in which we live with our First Nations People and we should all celebrate this”.

Vet Dr Harry Cooper who joined the show in 2004, also expressed his joy at being in such a beautiful location. He visited the resident sheep and noted they were in extremely good condition. He gave eight bales of hay used on the shoot, which were gratefully received by the sheep for bedding! “What a great place for the sheep to live out their days!”

Harry has always loved the country, living a free life as a young boy, running through the bush, fishing in the local river. His father wanted to be a vet, but his two sons achieved that goal. Neil, Harry’s brother, has no interest in appearing on television, he just loves his life as a vet.

Harry enjoys combining his television persona with his career. As a boy, his father gave him a ruler in a velvet envelope and said to him “Harry, this is an instrument to measure. It will be used to measure your life. Make sure it is as straight and true as this rule”. Harry has always lived by this advice.

Johanna summed up the day: “We are so grateful to have Bella Vista Farm for our Christmas location. It’s magic”.

It was announced popular chef, Ed Halmagyi AKA Fast Ed, was leaving the show after two decades to open his new bakery, Avner’s, in Surry Hills Sydney. Avner’s, (Ed’s Hebrew name), will serve classic Jewish food including bagels, pastrami and other delicacies. We wish him well in his new venture.

The Friends of Bella Vista Farm, in partnership with the Hills Shire Council, maintain the grounds, including the heritage gardens. They also apply for restoration grants. On Open Day, the volunteers welcome visitors, they run the popular Trash and Treasure stall, serve Devonshire Teas and the Sausage Sizzle (with onions and home-made chilli jam).

Dr Harry Cooper Johanna Griggs And Fast Ed 01 Better Homes And Gardens 2023 Christmas Christmas On Tv At Bella Vista Farm
Dr harry cooper, johanna griggs and fast ed
Dr Harry Cooper Karen Martini Graham Ross 01 Better Homes And Gardens 2023 Christmas Christmas On Tv At Bella Vista Farm
Dr harry cooper, karen martini, graham ross







Members of the Hills Shire Symphony Orchestra play in the gardens and knowledgeable guides conduct house tours which take the visitor back in time to the 1840’s. Bella Vista Farm gives to so many, visitors and volunteers alike – the Friends of Bella Vista Farm do it because they love being there.

Come and visit on Open Day – the first Sunday of each month (except January). Cnr Elizabeth Macarthur Drive and Norwest Boulevard Bella Vista from 9am-2pm. For more information visit the Council website:

Gisela Horner

Gisela Horner has had an extensive career in Television, having been a Production Manager for the ABC for 15 years and has had many extra/special extra television roles. She was invited to join Ric Birch and his team as Volunteer Coordinator for 250 backstage volunteers for the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic and Paralympic Games. Thereafter she had an extensive career working with the Professor of Ophthalmology at University of Sydney as his executive assistant. She is passionate about volunteering and currently volunteers for a community organisation as Publicity Officer, writing stories about volunteers and highlighting their valuable work. She is Editorial Co-Ordinator for a community magazine in the Hills District and her love of meeting people in the community and telling their stories gives her great pleasure. She has a love of reading, dancing and music.

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