Southampton Homestead and Farm is owned and operated by Jeff Pow and Michelle McManus, with the help of Jeff’s children Charlotte, Eliza and Joe. 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.