Growing up I loved to play on the castle ruins in Germany. Every chance to get away was a train hop to Nuremburg to climb the walls, draw, write and ponder life. With the expense of moving to Australia and a wedding in Brisbane, we didn’t have a honeymoon. As our first anniversary neared something special was in order. Glen Innes, New South Wales and Kings Plains Castle were a vision from our dreams.
Kings Plains Station was settled by John and William Vivers, brothers who emigrated from Dumfries, Scotland. It’s comprised of over 60 thousand acres that by 1850 had 1,300 cattle, 12,500 sheep and 57 horses. John went back to Queensland while William ran the farm. He died in a wool press accident in 1857.
Dr. George Vivers, grandson of John Vivers built the castle in 1910 for his wife to feel more at home. Architect Herbert Ross used baronial architecture finishing with 28 rooms on three levels, complete with tower and battlements. The granite for the foundation and basement were quarried from a hill nearby and the bricks were made on the property.
Kings Plains Castle has hosted three governors of New South Wales and even the Prince of Wales during the early 1920s. There is nothing that can make an anniversary more special than to walk in the footsteps of the royal family.
The property stayed in the family until 2003 when Don and Colleen Hollingworth purchased it, now only 14,000 acres. They transformed the castle into a weekend bed and breakfast while farming the land during the week.
Our excitement to get there prompted an early start - 3:30 in the morning. The drive through the countryside along the New England Highway was filled with large boulder outcrops and dotted with cattle and sheep. Mist suspended silently over tree tops gave me an entrancing fantasy of medieval days of old.