Rebuilding the Front Gate

Rebuilding the Front Gate

For many years we had wanted to create a front gate that reflected how much we care about our farm and that also displayed the raw earthiness of the natural landscape, using materials found right here on the farm. Up in our hills, there are plentiful basalt rock formed millions of years previous when lava flowed from the earth to ultimately form what is now the Liverpool Plains, and although we knew it was going to be a lot of hard work, we decided that we had to build it using those rocks.

Without a plan yet in place, we pulled down the old gateway and built a new frame for the grid using some really heavy steel that we had on-hand. Our sons Patrick and Reilly were able to practice their welding skills as well as mix some concrete to install the frame. Then it was time to do some rock picking! At the time we were in the grip of drought and there was by then, such little grass covering the ground that we could easily park a trailer and fill it with rocks by hand in about fifteen minutes when we had all four of us working.

Gradually the walls and sides of the ramp went up and it was beginning to look better than any of us had anticipated. This was pretty slow work making sure that we placed flat edges against the wire mesh and in the corners, and we were very keen to finish it, but we had to fit it in between all of the other work that we need to do around the farm. I especially, was busting with excitement to see the finished product.

Once we completed the construction though, a new sign was required to really finish it off, and we knew it had to be raw and in balance with the natural materials of the whole front gateway. We loved the look of the steel frame in a semi-polished state – kind of industrial chic – so we thought that making a sign out of steel would provide that same look in front of the rocks.

I knew just the piece that was perfect for the job, pitted with rust and plenty of character about it, so I set out cleaning it up and marking and cutting the name of our farm by hand using an oxy-acetylene torch. I then used grinding and emery discs to highlight the edges of the letters to give that contrast against the rock and any shadows behind the sign.

What transpired was inspirational. A hand-cut steel sign, illuminated in front of the rock wall of the front gate, greeting both our visitors and ourselves with style. We used to just drive in, but now we see the way the rocks and the sign play with the sun and the contrast of the shadows, depending on the time of the day, or even how the rain intensifies the colour of the rocks.

We were so thrilled with the final result and have received plenty of wonderful comment since. I guess it shows we care and reflects the values that we run our farm and our grass fed beef business by – plenty of work when it’s required and remaining authentic.

We began offering our beef to others because we believed in what we produce, so just as with our beef, we are also offering bespoke hand made signs or street numbers, or even whole gateways as another product from our farm.

If you would like something truly bespoke greeting you and your guests at your “front gate”, then learn more about how we can help you with that here.

Derek