History makes a homecoming at the Bath family reunion

LOOKING BACK: Henry Bath along with the stencils used when shipping products across the country. Some stretch back to the beginning of the farm's history.
LOOKING BACK: Henry Bath along with the stencils used when shipping products across the country. Some stretch back to the beginning of the farm's history. Jacob Carson

AS much as the Gympie Region has changed in the past 100 years, the Bath family farm has been a constant presence nestled amongst the hills at Greens Creek.

For family patriarch Henry, who has spent 79 of those years living on the property, today was an opportunity to not only look to the past but to celebrate the future as well.

Over 100 relatives and friends crowded under a blue and yellow tent as Mr Bath read the history of the property and it's vital role for the Gympie community.

"I've been here all of that time,” he says, "Of the three houses I've lived in my whole life - they've all been here.”

More than just a home, the farm was in many ways a hub for the community - acting from everything as a local employer, to a polling station for elections.

The farm, one of over 1,000 in the region at one point - helped to keep the economy moving as the returns from the gold rush began to diminish.

While widely known as a dairy farm, a number of different crops over the years were grown on the property.

The home's shed has been converted into a makeshift micro-museum, containing old farm equipment, the original deeds to the farm from 1905 and to the excitement of one local journalist - a copy of The Gympie Times from 1903.

That the relics have survived is a minor miracle in itself - especially considering the tornado that tore through the property in 1989.

"You can see on the side there, the verandah,” Henry says, gesturing to the house, "It was torn off completely - the roof nearly got peeled off totally as well.”

"In a lot of ways you can chart the history of the farm through these things, you can see Gympie's history as well,” Henry's daughter Sharon says.

It was largely her idea and enthusiasm that saw the large extended family make the trek back to Gympie, some coming as far as Perth for the event.

"It's not just relatives, we extended it to former employees who worked here as well,” she says.

"Kind of an extended family.”

As he finished his speech, Henry Bath thanked those who had made the trip, and mused on his own experiences of life at the farm.

"As you get older, you seek out the past,” he says, "to remember how things used to be.”

"There's a feeling that if you don't hold onto that, before too long it'll be too late.”

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