Bullswool Farm has been home to Jan and Keith Austen for over 20 years. They originally ran sheep, horses and cattle on the 100 acre hill property. But Jan’s passion for breeding rare and unusual animals has meant that, over time, more exotic animals filled the paddocks.
Curl up on a comfy chair in Bullswool Farm's garden, and be charmed by the stories New Zealand's rural past... read or listen to recordings of poems written by Bullswool Farm's owner, Keith Austen. read more
Click here to hear excerpts
from the"Bullswool & Barbed Wire" CD
Keith known locally as “the Bard of Paeroa” has always penned humorous poems inspired by his love of rural life. A few years ago his poems were broadcast on National Radio. To his enormous surprise, afterwards, letters flooded in from all parts of the country, requesting copies of his poems. In response to the demand, a collection of his poetry, Bullswool and Barbed Wire, was published. Since then, the book has been reprinted several times, been followed by More Bullswool and Barbed Wire, further media appearances, and Keith has become a popular after dinner speaker. As Keith’s fame as a rural poet spread, so did word of what an interesting place Bullswool Farm is. Tour groups and schools started to request visits, and a constant steam of coach parties began to arrive. 2011 first year the Farm has been open daily to the public. While making a programme about life on Bullswool, the producer of TVNZ’s Country Calendar asked Keith to write a poem about Bullswool Farm’s menagerie, and this was the result…
“I was happy with my farm,
it satisfied my needs,
With my herd of breeding beefies,
and sheep to eat the weeds.
But then my wife got in the act,
I thought that she’d gone crackers
When the stock-truck backed up in the yards,
and out leapt ten alpacas.
I didn’t mind the ducklings,
but the emu ate my watch,
And then came goats and llamas,
what an animal hotch-potch!
Her stroppy mini horses,
all chase the deer around,
Her growing herd of donkeys,
are tearing up the ground,
And so my farm’s diversified,
an animal who’s who,
In fact it’s not a farm at all - it’s just a blinking zoo!”