One fateful day in October 1978, the community of Walpole & Districts woke to the news that Tinglewood Homestead, the renowned guest house, had been destroyed by fire.
Feelings of shock and disbelief spread throughout the region at this news. The beautiful, historic property on the Deep River was an icon of Walpole; destined, it seemed to everyone at the time, to be there forever.
There was anger too at the cause of the fire. A special dinner was underway at the Homestead when unexpected travellers arrived looking for accommodation. They were invited to take part in the dinner but declined. However, later in their room they set up a portable stove on the bed …
Messages of sympathy from far and wide flowed in to the Harbin family. The family had purchased the Homestead in 1956 from Frank Thompson, a pioneer of the region.
Frank had constructed Tinglewood from 1923 to 1926. He was handy with the axe, and his hand-hewn timbers were a feature of the building.
Tinglewood Homestead became renowned as a guest house.
Another Tinglewood rose from the ashes. New building was under way by early 1979.
Peter Harbin and his father decided not to replicate the former building because they felt the old world atmosphere that was so much a part of the original structure could never be replaced.
In 1994 the Harbin family sold Tinglewood Homestead and, after more than 80 years catering for tourists, the property became a private residence.
This post has been adapted from an article that first appeared in the May 7, 2014 edition of the Walpole Weekly. Molly Smith is a regular contributor to the Weekly with her “Looking Back with Molly” column. Pictures sourced from the Walpole, Nornalup & Districts Historical Society.