It was some 16 years ago that Rob & Caroline Tolmie decided to make a ‘tree change’ from their waterside property on the Gold Coast. They chose Tamborine Mountain because they’d fallen in love with the village atmosphere and sense of community that the beautiful Mountain enjoyed and they wanted to be part of it.
After searching for the perfect location, their imagination was captured by a 2.7 hectare property at the end of a leafy lane and only a short walk to the main village.
“It was bigger than we’d imagined,” Rob recalls. “It was a sunny day and the driveway was lined with blossoming jacarandas, so it was love at first sight.”
“Most of the property was given over to rough horse paddocks and scrub, but there was the existing avenue of jacarandas down the drive, lots of citrus that thrive so well on the Mountain - and several rose bushes.”
Little did they know at the time, that this decision would lead them to design a garden on a grand scale. Many years of labour and love were ahead of them, to bring their dream to reality.
Caroline explains “Glenloch is a planned garden. We were definitely amateurs, but we sat down and drew out the ‘bones’ of what we wanted to create, with the avenues, terraces and ponds - the waterfalls and fountains. Whilst a few new features have been added here and there, we look back at the original plans with fondness, as the garden hasn’t changed much from our initial drawing.”
Glenloch feels like a European inspired garden, with its central avenue of Pin Oaks, it’s structural rock walls and its Buxus hedges. The Tolmies have added grand bronze fountains, secret garden ‘rooms’ and wonderful ‘walks’ to explore this picturesque estate.
The Mountain enjoys four very distinct seasons and this magnificent property shows each one off to the full, whilst continuing to be a haven for birds and wildlife.
Rob & Caroline open the garden once a year to raise funds for local Mountain charities.
When Rob & Caroline Tolmie bought the property that is now Glenloch, the sad two bedroom house at the top of the driveway had seen better times.
In the early days of the Mountain, the old cottage had been home to the local Post Master and General Store Keeper and was actually located in Capo Lane - about a kilometre away in another street.
“It’s hard for us to imagine that back in the 1940’s when it was sold and relocated to Yuulong Road, that the local men rolled it on giant logs, over the fields to it’s final home. It now sits behind the wrought iron gates at the entrance to Glenloch - and it just seemed fitting to call it ‘The Gatehouse’ …”
Renovating this lovely old lady was an inspiring work of love, as whilst the Tolmie’s wanted to bring her into the 21st Century, they also wanted her to retain her original cottage character.
“She had been neglected for some considerable time and the roof leaked badly! In fact the roof was so far gone, that daylight could be seen through the holes when the ceiling was removed! - so that seemed a great place to start”
Caroline remembers those first finds well, ”when the wall cladding came down and revealed that the sturdy Ironbark framework was in great shape – we were impressed that the ‘bones’ were still in good shape, and when the many layers of floor lino were removed, it uncovered old newspapers from 1943. Sadly, as fascinating as they were, with their enlightening history of the Gold Coast, their condition was so bad that they disintegrated when touched. It was still interesting to see the advertisements and names of the pioneering families that are still around today, both on the Mountain and the Gold Coast. It was an insight into the wonderful history that this old lady had lived through”
It is clear a lot of love and consideration went into the cottage restoration, a slow process however rewarding ‘The Gatehouse’ finally came to life, complete with a pretty new front entrance, a full modern kitchen, bathroom and laundry, as well as a large veranda and spa, from which guests can view the garden.
And finally those luxury finishes such as Plantation Shutters, fireplace and high quality appointments were chosen and installed to make her the luxury cottage that she is today.
The Gatehouse has been ‘home’ to many Mountain families over the early years, but happily now welcomes guests for luxury short breaks and holidays on Tamborine Mountain.