Southampton Homestead and Farm is owned and operated by Jeff Pow and Michelle McManus. Southampton Homestead is a triple-heritage listed property, located on the banks of the Blackwood River. The farm is also situated on a stretch of the Bibbulmun Track; which was included in National Geographic’s 20 ‘Holy Grails of trails’.
The Southampton story is one of boldness, resilience and hope. Since Jeff purchased the property in 2006, and began the hard and painfully slow process of restoring the soils and grasses from pine plantation back to original perennial pastures. He also transformed the property from a ‘weekender’ and bed and breakfast, to a regenerative, working farm. In 2011, he left a management role in mining to relocate permanently to Southampton Homestead and start farming. The first job – pasture recovery. Forty years of neglect resulted in infestations of french Blackberry; the organic reform process using grazing animals made progress slow but steady.
In the summer of 2013, the unthinkable happened – the farm, including the historic homestead and almost all the animals, was devastated by fire. 10,000 acres in total were decimated in the inferno.
Grim but undeterred, Jeff commenced the rebuilding process almost immediately with the help of neighbours, friends and sometimes strangers. Barns, fences, water and infrastructure were rebuilt, and the pastures were re-seeded immediately with a cocktail of perennial grasses. When the fields were ready, life returned to the valley. After unrelenting efforts, the business commenced trading in December 2014.
Michelle joined the farm in late 2013, bringing an open mind, her business experience and a pair of workboots. With a background in sustainability and social impact management, particularly in the corporate sector, Michelle supports the strong Southampton vision with both her business creativity and significant operational ‘grunt’.
Find out more about how we farm.
6 thoughts on “Our Story”
I am so impressed with all that you have achieved on your beautiful property down in Balingup. How hard you all have worked and to what effect!
Some 10 years ago a friend of mine was looking after the Homestead for a few days. Whilst visiting her I picked up a handful of acorns from beneath the enormous oak trees that grew behind your house. Since then those little acorns have grown into small trees on our property in Dwellingup. One of them is much bigger than the others and I am optimistic that acorns may be produced in the next couple of years. Perhaps you may like some of the acorns when they eventually appear? I am hopeful that your trees survived the bushfire, but, if not, then you will be able to grow new little oak trees from their progeny.
Lydia thank you so much for your message! What a lovely memory, the three oak trees actually survived the fire…and the animals who survived intuitively flocked there and were as safe as could be. We’d love to see some acorns when they appear! Thanks again for this message, glad you enjoyed your time on the farm with your friend. Best, Michelle and Jeff
What a powerful story of integrity and perseverance. I visited your website, read your story and became inspired to persevere my goals in life. You are an amazing family
Thank you Evelyn! It’s so lovely to hear your feedback. I see you are in Cowaramup, might see you around the South west then 🙂 Black Sheep Deli stock our products, great local place supporting local farmers. Best wishes, Michelle & Jeff
Thank you Michelle and Jeff for sharing your passion with us today on the farm tour. Your perseverance to create a sustainable farming system for your birds is a real credit to you, it was a pleasure to see. Keep up the hard work the result is worth it. All the best.
Andrew & Tarleah
Andrew and Tarleah, thanks for coming and for much appreciated support! Great to share with everyone, see you in a couple of weeks.