The Barossa Valley is a place we associate with fine wine, dining, days of leisure, tasting and exploring the region.
This can not be said for the Grocke family. Four generation Valley natives who for hundreds of years have been hard at work farming the land, not producing grapes as most in this region do but farming grain and running sheep and cattle also.
Just as you leave Lyndoch you turn left up Rifle Range road and travel towards the hills that form the valley, past their own road, and I mean their own road! You pass through Grant Burge vineyard and keep going beyond Mt. Krondorf and through the hills.
My family love camping out in the camper trailer and getting into nature. So when we were invited by Sue Grocke’s brother Dale to come stay with them on April long weekend, we jumped at the opportunity.
As we passed the vineyards and wound up the tight roads the land was no longer looking like a wine region as the ground was all grassy and rocky covered in gum trees. We had passed over the top of the hills that flank the Barossa Valley and had dropped off the other side.
We found a good spot to set up camp, just up from the old shearing sheds. After setting up, getting the fire going and of course cracking a beer we decided to explore.
Sue’s husband, the man who worked on the land tragically passed away only in his 60’s a couple of years ago. He was the Grocke bloodline leaving poor Sue a widow with a massive farm. Reasons for his passing remain a mystery to this day, it was in the depths of Covid so the autopsy was difficult and inconclusive.
As we adventured around the land with Kangaroos jumping past us, Koalas in the trees, I was fascinated by the age of the farm, the shearing sheds, and the fences that had to have been made over a hundred years ago.
I found an old redgum fence post on my travels and couldn't help but think how hard it would have been to make every post then put it in the ground back then. At that moment I decided I was going to bring this old post back to life as a knife handle of beauty. I wanted to make a knife that was a symbol of the work her husband and his father and grandfather had done on that land to set up a life for them and something she could remember her husband by.
Later we came across a sheoak tree with very interesting sheoak nuts. I knew I had to play with them as I wanted to make a gift for Dale also.
Sue and Dale were lost for words when I presented them their knives as a gift. A knife each from the land they had spent so much time.
We have both styles on display in our shop and always ready to be seen and felt.