At the start of a new year and a new decade, volunteering is very much at the forefront of our minds; it shows the best of our national character.

Bella Vista, the 19th century farm where the Macarthurs grazed their Merino flock, would not keep operating without its team of dedicated volunteers.

The volunteers look after the small flock of sheep daily, tend the surrounding land, including the heritage rose garden, repair fences and machinery and carry out the ongoing work necessary to run a property.

On the first Sunday of every month (except for January), Bella Vista Farm’s volunteers, known as The Friends of Bella Vista, are ready to greet the public: to conduct tours, serve Devonshire Teas, to man the Trash and Treasure stall.

Children are welcome at the Farm and games and activities are always at hand.

Three of our volunteers, Mark Pearce, Carolyn Gould and Sharon Rawstron, have written a history of the house. Bella Vista Farm – Its past and its people (see separate story) is a memorable souvenir of your visit to Bella Vista Farm; the price is $20. All donations will go towards the restoration and upkeep of the farm.

Other people have volunteered to donate contemporary items to furnish the house. These include a piano, a mahogany dining setting, china tureens, Victorian lamps and other valuable pieces.

To support Bella Vista, you – our readers – can volunteer your time and come and visit this part of Sydney’s history.

The next date for your diary is Australia Day, Sunday January 26, 2020 from 4pm to 9pm. Entry is free.

Come and enjoy a celebratory afternoon and evening with great entertainment and supported by the Hills Shire Council (

Lamingtons, tea and coffee for $5 will be available to enjoy in the main house at Bella Vista Farm. There will also be a history display.

If you can’t make it to Bella Vista Farm on Australia Day, the next Open Day is Sunday, February 2 from 9am to 2pm when there will be tours of the main house.