Restoring old buildings can often uncover relics that can shine a light on the past and Bella Vista Farm is no different.
In 2017, major restoration and conservation work began on the various farm outbuildings dotted around the property.
Because the roof of the Implement Shed had to be stripped off it meant that a lot of light flooded into the shed. When volunteers from Friends of Bella Vista, Geoff Clark and Graham Rawstron, had a good look around its interior they came across a small and dirty bottle under the decades of dust.
When the bottle was cleaned up and held to the light the embossed words, Elliman’s Royal Embrocation, Slough 1926, could be read clearly on the bottle. Intrigued, the Friends of Bella Vista Farm turned to Google to learn more.
It seems that Elliman’s Embrocation was a famous animal rub developed by James Elliman Senior of Slough in England.
The embrocation was made from eggs, turpentine and vinegar.
It was sold for the first time in 1847. By 1911 Elliman’s Embrocation was being sold in 42 countries around the world including Australia. It was also sold as a human rub with the same ingredients but under a different name. It was sold as Elliman’s Universal Embrocation for humans, and Elliman’s Royal Embrocation for animals. It was used as an aid for aching muscles and joints.
The family continued to run the business until 1961 when, after more than 100 years as a family business, it was taken over by a large pharmaceutical company.
There are some parallels with the Pearce family who worked Bella Vista Farm for over 100 years from 1842 and depended on their animals for their prosperity.
Like most farms, Bella Vista depended on its animals to operate. The Stables and Implement Shed still show evidence in the remains of stalls and feed hoppers and stabling for a number of horses, possibly as many as 16.
Horses pulled the ploughs, provided transport for the children to school, dragged the heavy wagons loaded with wool bales or boxes of fruit to the rail and were the engines of the sulkies and other people movers that were garaged in the Coach House. The animals were worked hard and had to be looked after to ensure that they could continue to work.
Clearly they used Elliman’s Embrocation as a healing rub for the horses when they had strained muscles from their daily work. Two families, 100 years plus both working their trades with animals and connected by a single bottle dated 1926 and found in 2017… a story in a bot
You can catch a wonderful glimpse of the Hills’ agricultural past at Bella Vista Farm on Sunday, September 1 between 9am and 2pm. Chat to Friends of Bella Vista Farm about the rich history of the site and enjoy the Free Spirit Markets in the grounds.