Last weekend we had a sad but lovely trip down memory lane. My husband Keith, my sons Joel & Rob, and I spent a weekend in the beautiful Barrington Tops, northwest of Sydney. The Barrington Tops are part of the World Heritage Gondwana Rainforests of Australia. The Gondwana Rainforests are so-named because the fossil record indicates that when Gondwana existed it was covered by rainforests containing the same kinds of species that are living today.

The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia (formerly known as the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves of Australia or CERRA) include the most extensive areas of subtropical rainforest in the world, large areas of warm temperate rainforest and nearly all of the Antarctic beech cool temperate rainforest. Few places on earth contain so many plants and animals which remain relatively unchanged from their ancestors in the fossil record. The outstanding geological features displayed around shield volcanic craters and the high number of rare and threatened species are of international significance for science and conservation. (from NSW Office of Environment & Energy Website)

From 1988 to 2004 our family holidayed at Barrington Tops every year, for a week in late September. When our children were little, and finances were tight, we saved our pennies to make sure that even if we were struggling to pay the electricity bill, we could always count on our Barrington week. We loved getting out of the city, being surrounded by lush green forests, native birds and animals, unspoiled wilderness. We loved the old-fashioned country hospitality of the 1930s guest house we stayed in. We loved the freedom that the children had to explore and find their own fun without toys or TV. One of my favourite memories was of Joel, aged 5, playing for an hour with a stick and a tiny puddle, not once uttering that familiar refrain “I’m bored, Mum”! It was the perfect family holiday and we all looked forward to it all year.

Sadly the fun came to an abrupt end in 2006 when the guest house burned down. It has not been rebuilt and the overgrown remains are a sad reminder of our loss. There was a magic about the Barrington Guest House that belongs to an earlier time and I suspect even if someone rebuilt it would not capture what made that such a special place. We are not the only ones who feel that way – a Facebook group was set up a little while ago where people share their memories, and mourn over the sad demise while recollecting happier times. When I think about what made Barrington such a special place it wasn’t the pristine rainforest, the hearty home-cooked meals, the fresh country air, the afternoons sitting on the verandah drinking tea, the colourful birds eating out of our hands, or even the spectacular scones with jam and cream every day for lunch, although all those things were important parts of our Barrington week. What made it extra special, and brought us back year after year were the people – the owners who made us feel like members of the family while at the same time being pampered special guests; the other regulars who returned for “our week” every year and became firm friends; the first-timers whose wonder and excitement at being there was infectious, and the staff who looked after our every need.

It’s almost 10 years since the fire, and we thought it was time for a visit. We had a lovely weekend, staying in one of the cottages on the site that survived the fire. We walked our favourite tracks, fed the birds, played 500 and talked a lot about the good times. Those days are gone but our memories are strong. I have lots of photos of our Barrington holidays, and to be honest they are in a shoebox, otherwise known as the too hard basket. Revisiting has hardened my resolve to get those photos scanned and to make a digital photo book that we will all treasure. Our memories will fade over time, but the photos will bring them back into sharp focus.

Did you know that offers a scanning service, as well as other media conversion? If you have boxes, envelopes, bags or drawers full of old photos, will scan them and upload them to your Forever account. Their motto is that they will convert anything from analog to digital.  Not only photos, but also albums, scrapbooks, children’s artwork, framed family photos, slides and videos, and even physical artifacts and memorabilia can be digitized. I’m thinking that this would be the perfect solution for my collection of precious, irreplaceable Barrington photos. Once they are in my Forever account, it will be so much easier to create a photo book for myself, and one each for Joel & Rob. Unfortunately, this project will have to wait till we get home from Doha as the boxes of photos are safely locked in storage now – another reason to consider digitizing is the ability to access my photos any time, anywhere!

Meanwhile, here are a couple of pages to give you a taste of our special place and how it looks today.

2015-06-29_2136  2015-06-29_2139




Content used in these pages:

Barrington Guest House Today:

  • Blueprint: Game Set Match DPS
  • Cottage Arts Feathered Ferns Paper Pak
  • Cottage Arts Feathered Ferns Stamps
  • Fonts: Boycott, KG Be Still and Know


  • Blueprint: One of the Boys (L side)
  • R side – Challenge 264 Banded Backdrop
  • Peppermint Creative Oil Paint Paper Night
  • Cottage Arts Feathered Ferns Stamps
  • Font: My Old Remington
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7 Responses to Blog: Bittersweet Memories

  1. Jan says:

    I am sure it was good to be back and reminisce, but it is sad that the guest house is no longer. We learned earlier this year that the beach house we stayed in at Kiawah for many years was torn down and a new house is being rebuilt in its place. I can bet that it won’t have 10 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms, though….and we were planning a beach reunion… Thankfully, I do have albums of our times there, but they may need to be digitized now! Glad you got to go back, even if it wasn’t the same.

  2. Sandy Norman says:

    Just looking at these pages and reading your story makes me feel like I have been transported to a place of peacefulness and fun. It brought back memories of trips to my grandparents cabin, camping with my family and day drives that were unplanned and just for the fun of going someplace. I just might go look through some of my older albums and take a trip down memory lane.

  3. Kim Passmore says:

    Shelley, it sounds like a magical place, and so beautiful! So sad that your family tradition disappeared with the burning of the guest house. I know how special that is because we go on an annual camping trip for a week to the same place every year. I went their for my childhood and have taken my children all thru their childhood. We made friends too and they still come as well with their children and all our parents and other friends we have picked up thru the years. Your memory book will be such a treasure chest of memories to be cherished once it is complete. I look forward to seeing your pages.

  4. Asmaan says:

    Awesome journalling!…makes me want to go there and check it out for myself!

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