Murdoch shares Whitby Falls Farm with the community

August 22, 2017

Oranges and lemons: Mia (left) and Ella Roberts at the Whitby Falls Citrus Picnic

Oranges and lemons: Mia (left) and Ella Roberts at the Whitby Falls Citrus Picnic

More than one-and-a-half tonnes of fruit was plucked from the citrus orchard as Murdoch opened the gates of its Whitby Falls Farm to the public on the weekend.

The inaugural Citrus Picnic kicked off community engagement activities at the farm and celebrated a significant milestone in Murdoch’s four-year restoration and development program for the heritage-listed site.

As a working farm, the site is already providing valuable field experience for veterinary, forensic science agriculture and environmental science students. As the site develops, Whitby Falls will offer opportunities in media and tourism, clinical applications and outreach.

Hundreds of members of the public flocked to the 203-hectare farm in Mundijong on Sunday for the opportunity to picnic in the orchards and enjoy free family activities.

These included citrus cooking demonstrations by the Forever Project and workshops about composting citrus peels and pulp to improve garden health.

The Murdoch Outreach team ran a popular stall with face painting and games for children.

Whitby Falls Farm Manager Bob Fawcett was on hand to take members of the public on tours of the old mental hostel on the site and the grounds.

Whitby Falls Project Lead Jo Faulkner said she was delighted to open the farm to the community on a gloriously sunny day.

“This has been a great opportunity to show the community the improvements the University has made to this wonderful property since taking on the lease four years ago,” said Ms Faulkner.

“We have proven that we can host large numbers of people here so we are excited about the potential of the site to host events like orchestral concerts and community fairs in the future.”

Murdoch’s Sustainability Manager Leah Knapp said many visitors had committed to reducing their food waste after watching the demonstrations and participants would receive follow up support for their efforts.

Mr Fawcett said he was pleased to be able to share his passion for Whitby Falls with the public.

“People have been very complimentary about what Murdoch has achieved in restoring and protecting the heritage values of the farm,” he said.

The Ward family from Byford said the opportunity to visit the farm had been great.

“The kids have been climbing the trees to reach the fruit and enjoying the many activities on offer,” Gosta Ward said.

“We had no idea the farm was here so it has been very interesting to visit.”

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Media contact: Jo Manning
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