Our History is alive
My name is Kylie Broxam and when I am asked about the history of Shirley Height Equestrian Centre, this is the best way I can capture over 4 decades of our beautiful family business.
The farm, as we knew it, was purchased in the year of 1977. It was nothing but tea tree and scrub with no house, no dams & no holdings. The property was then named “Riverview Farm”.
Larry (my uncle), Dad & friends loved it as it was the perfect place for motorbikes. That didn’t last for long once the horses took over!
Over the years with plenty of hard work from my mother Denise Broxam the farm was mostly cleared and our family home was built in 1978 by my father Fred Broxam then he continued onto building the top stables up at the house.
My grandparents lived on a large property in Launching Place named “Shirley Heights”.
In 1985 Denise and Pat (my grandmother - my second mum) decided we needed an Indoor arena so Denise could pursue her coaching career full time. After lots of planning the barn, school stables and the indoor were into construction and completed by 1987 when the business was opened and named “Shirley Heights Equestrian Centre”.
Denise was coaching full time 7 days a week whilst Pat was hard at work managing the running of the business. We had over 30 horses permanently agisted and around 40 of our own. Not just Dressage but race horses also. Denise and her father Stan were both trainers.
In 1990 Denise, Donna & my-self were all coaching. It was an extremely busy and popular riding school. I don’t believe horses were the only attraction though as many loved to come visit on weekends just to have a chat and watch the process of beginners become riders.
We also had many competitions from Dressage, Showjumping, Hickstead, 2 day events etc. for EFA – official / un-official – Junior / Adult riding clubs and the HRCAV.
These were fabulous times and many everlasting friendships were made through Shirley Heights.
In 1990/1991 Denise cut back on the coaching and went to our family sawmill to manage the business – Warburton Timber Company. Donna then retired from hairdressing and begun her fulltime coaching career, Pat continued to manage Shirley Heights.
In the December of 1998 my grandfather Stan passed away in the result of a car accident.
Mum & Dad (Denise & Fred) wanted my grandmother (Pat) to come live with us as her home in Launching Place was far too large for her to live alone. This is when our family home at the farm was re designed by Fred after a couple of beers! Denise and Pat fell in love with the design and it was built the following year. For those who don’t know the property it truly is an amazing home and was even more amazing to grow up in! (I am so thrilled that my daughters Paris & Sydney also have had the pleasure to enjoy the experience of growing up on “The Farm”.)
Things settled for a while Larry was married and moved to Mooroolbark with his wife Leanne. Donna lived in Warburton but missing the barn she decided to rent her home out and back to the barn it was! (Donna loved it in the barn) We use to climb out of the lounge window onto the roof of the barn and chat’n’laugh over a bottle of sparkling enjoying the views.
January 4th 2008 Donna was taken from us in a tragic motor bike accident.
From this day the farm was never the same for us. I continued coaching for a short time after, Denise was far too busy with the saw mill & to be honest it just didn’t feel the same without Donna.
Later that year my auntie (dad’s sister) Annie sadly passed away from cancer. With all that had happened, Denise & Pat then decided to officially close Shirley Heights.
It was very quiet, but really nice to have the farm back to ourselves for a while. Pat would drive down every morning to watch the horses train then sit down & have a chat with Sheree (best friend) & myself.
2011 it was decided that the farm was to be sold.
October 4th 2013 Patricia sadly passed away – now the farm was definitely not the same.
When people said “it’s the end of an era” it really is.... When people said “change is as good as a holiday” it really is... we hope!
I personally knew we would missed our home, but in saying that, my mother and father couldn’t be more thrilled with the sale to the VPCA.
The love for this business never wavered. Now almost 10 years on we are so excited as a family to reopen Shirley Heights Equestrian Centre and breathe new life into our new location. Our dream for this new development is a boutique, intimate experience. Our passion remains the same, if not more so. Shirley Heights Equestrian Centre is back and being used for what it was built for –“Pleasure, Fabulous times, Memories to be treasured by all”
From the Broxam & Peacock families we wish you all the very best.
Cheers and we hope to see you soon,
Kylie Broxam - Director and Trainer