Collingwood Children's Farm
The Collingwood Children’s Farm is a not-for-profit, inner city farm situated on the Yarra River in the Melbourne suburb of Abbotsford, Australia. It is adjacent to, and considered part of the larger Abbotsford Convent complex. The Abbotsford Heritage Precinct Farmlands (APHF) supporting the Farm are unique in being the oldest continually farmed land in the state of Victoria. Farming commenced in 1836, with formal landsales occurring in 1838. Farming on this land has continued for over 175 years. It is also the oldest Children's Farm in Australia, established in 1979.
The farm is open to the public all year round, from 9.00am to 5.00pm and visitors may explore the grounds at their own leisure.
The first Sunday of every month (excluding January) is a Family Day with a barbecue, plus horse and hay rides for the children. The farm also hosts a popular monthly Farmers' market, on the second Saturday of each month; selling fresh produce from the farm and over 60+ Victorian producers. To celebrate the Winter Solstice and as a fundraiser, the farm also holds an annual bonfire event.
The farm boasts an extensive range of animals from earthworms and peacocks to goats, sheep, horses, ducks, pigs, chickens, donkey and guinea pigs. Nearly all of the animals at the farm are classified as rare breeds.
The horses at the farm are all fine specimens, with there currently being 8 horses (but not at the same time) and one donkey. In height order, the horses names are: Tumby, Charlie Benson, Ollie, Zac, Mega, Brandy, Tyson and Harry. The donkey's name is Mickie. Zac and Mega are both Walers. All the horses at the farm are ridden by staff, Young Farmers, and the Holiday Program which is run in all term holidays except summer holidays.
The farm began in 1979, when a community committee leased a small plot of Crown land next to the Yarra River, used by the farm and Community Gardeners. Funding has come from various sources over the years and now entrance fees and donations make up the bulk of the farm's income. The farm relies immensely on community effort with staff, volunteers and a Young Farmer's Programme working collaboratively to maintain the farm.
Visitors are able to try their hand at cow-milking, which occurs daily at 10am and 4pm. Produce from the animals, such as honey, earthworm castings, and eggs are for sale from the farm when available. The farm also offers hosted birthday parties (limited to two per day) on weekends (except those days which fall on Family Day, Farmers Market Day and other special events). Weddings and special events are also held at the farm.
Cyclists and pedestrians will often take a journey along the Yarra River Trail as it passes through the Collingwood Children's Farm, following the Yarra River from the city to Dights Falls and further afield. They often stop and eat at the Farm Cafe (which is run independently of the farm).
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