School Holiday Programs

Monday 28 June 9am to 3pm: Bush Survivor Day

Have loads of fun as you learn to survive in the bush including building your own bush shelter and lashing bush camp furniture. Enjoy orienteering with compass and map. Learn how to make different types of camp fires and cook some damper. Play challenging bush games. A wide range of bush survival themed activities.

Tuesday 29 June 9am to 3pm: Farmer For a Day

Enjoy becoming a farmer for the day. Help feed and water the animals. Care for the chickens, ducks, geese, donkeys, goats, horses and cows. Milk a cow. Set out new temporary fences. Learn about rotational grazing. Collect the eggs. Harvest some veggies. Learn some simple cooking skills. Enjoy cooking and eating fresh farm food. A true paddock to plate experience.

Thursday 1 July 9am to 3pm: Gardening Spectacular Day

Are you a young gardening enthusiast? Enjoy being a gardener for a day with planting, weeding, mulching, composting and more. Participate in a gardening treasure hunt. Take home your own potted plant to nurture and care for. If you love the garden then this is for you. Plenty of fresh air and sunshine. 

Enjoyable opportunities each day to visit all of the animals with the morning and afternoon feed and care rounds, making the most of being on the farm. Children Ages 5 and up.

Early Bird Discount is $50 per child per day. There will be a minimum number in order to run these amazing and engaging programs. Family Discount Rates Available.

Gracemere Farmstead is located at Yorklea, 15 mins from Casino and 25mins from Lismore.

In directing the educational programs on the farm I draw from almost 30 years of experience as a teacher in primary and highschools. I have completed a “Holisitc Management” (Regenerative Agriculture) course and a Certificate in Permaculture Design. I am passionate about farming and education, seeking to make an engaging and enjoyable link between the two, for students of all ages. I have completed my First Aid, CPR and Anaphylaxis Course.

All staff have completed their Working with Children Check.

To connect with the gang @ Gracemere Farmstead call Stephen on 0430912612 or email

Bush Survivor Day Tickets

Farmer For A Day Tickets

Gardening Spectatcular Tickets

2020! What a Year

With very little rain in the last months of 2019 we received nearly 200ml of rain in a week leading to us being flooded in for the 2nd time in 4 years. I also somehow managed to forget about our firefighting pump down at the front dam which was then covered in about 1m of water when the dam rose.

Then in February, Ellie, our faithful companion and right-hand dog when rounding up cows, died. We first got Ellie when she was just a 5 month old puppy and we were renting and she then came with us when we moved onto Gracemere. Whatever was happening on the property, Ellie was right there to supervise and make sure nothing went wrong. One of Ellie’s favourite animals on the properties was the goats, especially Lavender the first goat kid born on the farm.

Lavender was born all the way back in 2018 but in 2020 we doubled our goat herd with 5 new kids being born. First we had 2 sets of twins born within a couple of days of each other and then a baby girl born 3 weeks later. Forest (the father) certainly did his job well. We also decided to upgrade the goat house at the same time to accommodate the new arrivals. Coming from a rudimentary shelter to a 2-storey palace was certainly an upgrade for them and they loved it.

After we finished the goat shelter we decided to upgrade our milking parlour and brooders as well. Bethany first built the milking parlour way back in 2017 when we first got Clover and it was a little rough to say the least. It wasn’t very secure for any rouge cows and had quite to a significant lean to it. Our new milking parlour I think was quite the opposite. Cemented into the ground with a big roof and a sturdy head-gate. After milking for so long in a half broken run down milking parlour it was lovely to milk in a dry environment.

After the milking parlour came the brooders. Our old brooders were a collection of trailers that we had purchased cheap over time and then converted. While they were good we couldn’t fit in many chicks and had to upgrade. After much contemplation on the design on the brooder we settled on a raised-floor design with 4 big doors for access and ventilation. Well-insulated and rodent proof it was perfect.

2020 was also the year we said farewell to our pigs. The pigs were very hard to manage with such fragile soils (drought, then flooding) and we were struggling to sell the meat, so the hard decision was made to send the rest to the abattoir. While we did lose the pigs, some new and rather unusual animals did make their way to Gracemere.

The unusual addition to Gracemere was 5 donkeys. Donkeys are great for scaring off wild dogs and were essential to help prevent chicken losses. We first got two donkeys (a jenny and a jack) with the jenny possibly pregnant. 10 days later the jenny had a foal and then there were 3. A couple of weeks after that we received two more donkeys to make up our little donkey herd.

We also had to make a change to our market sales. 4 markets were too much to handle so we cut down the number of markets and deciede to trial online deliveries. The online store has been a success so far and it is continuining along with our attendance at Yamba Farmers Market on Wednesday Morning

And thats 2020!!

June Garden Update

Raising Goats

We have always been interested in raising goats, mainly because we have quite a lot of forested/ shrubby areas and thought that goats might be very good for helping to manage and clear it out. We received our first goats from a good friend Madeleine. We got a pregnant mother (Tina) and a 3 month old kid (Rosemary).

We were very worried about just how tough goats were going to be on our fencing as we’d had some bad previous experiences with sheep. Our sheep managed to get through every single fence we had up and finally ended up slipping through our back fence and disappearing. We tried to find them again, but sadly it seems they had gone forever. Thankfully our goats seem to be very gentle on fencing. We did first try a tethering system but we found it too much work and now just rotate them regularly through our different paddocks.

Goats tend to eat very differently than either cows or sheep, being more browsers than grazers. They love to trim all the lower branches of a tree and eat very woody plants. They seem to work very well running with our pigs, as the pigs require woody paddocks to help them stay cool and the goats will help clear out any shrubs/ trees that are low-hanging  in the pig paddock. To keep the pigs and goats in we currently have a 4 stranded electric fence connected back to the main energiser and it works well.

Tina was pregnant when she arrived and we all had a very anxious wait while we waited for her baby. Goats more commonly have multiples, however Tina only had one baby, Lavender, who arrived on the 6th December. We chose to hand-rear Lavender inside as it makes it much easier for us to milk Tina and makes Lavender eaiser to handle when she is older and we are milking her.

When we were hand-raising Lavender we used to keep her in a big tub inside during the night and then put her outside during the day. When she got a little bigger she used to occasionally escape and we had to track a rouge goat through the house and try to stop her causing damage. She was relocated outside very shortly after smashing a vase that was sitting on the coffee table. Once she went outside we tried to run her in the house yard but then she ate all the plants that were on our veranda and decided that all our deck chairs were her personal property. We then confined her to a smaller fenced yard where our precious pot plants were safe from a ravenous goat.

After having the 3 goats for a little while we decided that it would be great to be able to breed them and milk the three goats when they do have babies. We got a buck kid from Madeleine again and hand-reared him. He was a gorgeous black and white kid named Forest.

Overall our experience with raising goats has been very positive. They are very easy animals to look after and they produce a nice amount of milk that we normally turn into yoghurt. You do just need to remember to close the gates otherwise you end with some goats waking you up from a peaceful nap by charging up and down the deck.