history & transformation

In 1860, Augustine Mould and his wife Phoebe settled the property, which then consisted of 210 acres on either side of Nowra Road. The Moulds constructed a slab and shingle cottage, which they named Hatch Farm after their original home in Wiltshire, England.

Family wedding 1919 at the front of Hatch Cottage

The Moulds held the property until 1945 when it was bought by the Later family who lived in Hatch Cottage before building another farmhouse about a kilometre down Nowra Road. Over many years, the name Hatch Farm was discontinued and the cottages gradually fell into disrepair.

In 2002, the unnamed property was purchased by Greg and Shelley Dark and named Mali Brae Farm after a property that was owned by Shelley’s family in Nungarin, Western Australia.

The property consisted of three near-derelict buildings, wildly overgrown gardens and no real infrastructure. The surrounding paddocks were covered in thistle, bracken and blackberries. Greg and Shelley worked to uncover the history of the property as well as recover as many historical remnants and artefacts as they could.

The first building to be restored was Hatch Cottage, from which Greg won a traditional tradesman’s award for his painstaking and lovingly wrought workmanship. The Dark family lived in Hatch Cottage for two and a half years while they considered where best to build and situate a larger family home. Gradually the Dairy was restored and is now used as accommodation with Hatch Cottage for guests that are staying.

The journey of the old hay barn to a rustic and sophisticated venue began in September 2012. The heritage and history of the barn has been retained through the use of its original poles, tin walls and roof and a Heritage award was won by the Darks in 2013 for the conversion.

One whole acre surrounding Hatch Cottage has been deemed of heritage significance. The cottage itself is now listed on the National Trust register in NSW. The 1860s listed timber and iron building was the recipient of the Wingecarribee Shire Council Heritage Award in 2005 for the renovations to restore the building.