McLeod’s Daughters ‘Drover’s Run’ accommodation open to the public

The popularity of  the ‘McLeod’s Daughters’ telemovie in 1996 resulted in the long-running and highly successful television series produced by Channel 9.  Written by Sydney resident Posie Graeme-Evans, filming the  ‘McLeod’s Daughters’ television series commenced in 2001 and continued until 2008 – 223 episodes over 8 series.  McLeod’s Daughters  has now been screened in 41 countries and the worldwide popularity of the story, setting and characters is illustrated by the many comments viewers all over the world continue to post online.

McLeod’s Daughters was mostly filmed on location about 45 minutes north of Adelaide (South Australia), on a sheep/cattle property called ‘Kingsford’.  North-east of Gawler, it is close to the wineries of the Barossa and Clare Valleys.  Kingsford was purchased especially for the television series by Channel 9 in 1999, and called ‘Drover’s Run’ for the television show.  Careful filming and editing encouraged the illusion that ‘Drover’s Run’ was the expansive 30,000 acre property it once was, rather than just a hobby-farm size 225 acres.  Renowned horse trainer Bill Willoughby was in charge of the livestock throughout the series.

In 2009 the Ahren family bought Kingsford and after extensive renovation and restoration, the farm still runs sheep and is now open as  upmarket Bed & Breakfast accommodation, operating under the original name of ‘Kingsford Homestead’.  The heritage-listed homestead was built in 1856 by settler Stephen King, from sandstone brought to Australia from Scotland, as ballast.

Many rural residents enjoyed throwing rocks at the McLeod’s Daughters television series, delighting in finding fault with details, but now production has ceased the complete absence of any sort of drama relating to rural Australia is glaringly obvious.  Far more money was invested in making the series as authentic as possible than most television producers would have been prepared to spend either before or since.  Many pertinent rural issues were raised on the programme and it has inspired many young Australians to try living and working in the bush, and others to visit from overseas.  You can’t beat a popular television programme for bringing the bush into suburban lounge rooms and encouraging thought about otherwise ‘out of sight and out of mind’ food producers.  There is also a page on McLeod’s Daughters on this website.

Well done to the Ahren family for restoring a beautiful and historically significant building for future generations to enjoy, and I hope many McLeod’s Daughters fans get the pleasure of an overnight stay at ‘Drover’s Rest’ (Kingsford Homestead).  In the meantime, the books ‘A Million Acre Masterpiece’ & ‘Life as an Australian Homestead’ are a great way to ‘armchair travel’ across northern Australia’s largest cattle stations, none of which are open to the public.

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