Blair Briggs took over the management of Mowbray Park Farm Holidays in 2007 along with his wife, Jacqui. The business had been operating for 20 years prior but its fair to say had run out of energy and ideas. Blair and Jacqui installed a new team people that shared their passion for a life of never ending improvement. The property itself is very old (1820’s) this provided some unique challenges in being able to make necessary improvements whilst maintaining that heritage character. Blair’s engineering background proved invaluable in identifying solutions to these challenges and 8 years on its fair to say Mowbray Park has lost none of its heritage charm whilst offering modern comforts and services to its customers. Jacqui set about improving the lot of all the animals on the farm especially the long suffering horses, ridden everyday in a per functionary manor. Jacqui became a ‘Parelli Professional Instructor’ of Natural Horsemanship a kinder way for horses to be treated she allowed these animals to become’ emotionally free’ and today each of our horses enjoys their day as much as us and our riders.
Over the 8 years Mowbray Park Farm has established a Mountain Bike Track, runs a regular horsemanship clinic for children, educates, entertains and encourages engagement in all things farming. Mowbray Park Farm has won two major awards in Sustainability has made the finals 3 times in the NSW Tourism Awards with a third and second placing. This year Blair was inducted as Alumni into the NSW Business Chamber.
The future is exciting for Mowbray Park Farm with more and more families and schools wanting children to have genuine and real experiences, a kind of back to earth experience. Mowbray Park Farm regularly attends Government trade missions to Asia and is present at the major Australian Tourism fairs. There is no respite for the team at Mowbray Park Farm as they strive to bring excellence to experiential tourism.
How do the experiences you offer at Mowbray Park Farm give guests a unique perspective on the history, people or culture of your region of Australia?
We sit near the center of where European agricultural development began, we share this and other stories dating from 1822 when the farm was established. Our stories are central to the experience.
How have the experiences that you offer evolved since their inception?
Yes they have, we place more emphasis on history and education.
What is one detail of an experience you provide that may go unnoticed by guests, but which you feel is important?
Animal husbandry, we never keep prey animals in isolation due to the stress that would cause. The needs of our animals comes first as we are responsible for their welfare.
What do you wish every guest knew as they consider participating in the experiences you offer and possibly staying at the farm?
The need for food and water security, the ability of gazing animals to sequester carbon in our soil, and the role farming can have in protecting our environment.
What is one travel trend that really excites you?
One trend that really excites me is parents’ need for their children to engage in, and be exposed to, something ‘earthy’ such as a farm.
What sets Mowbray Park Farm apart from other farmstay opportunities?
It’s a working farm, we produce beef and sheep, we integrate education into our narrative, we take people on a journey
What is one insiders tip to getting the most out of an experiential travel vacation?
Be prepared to engage, keep your mind open to the possibilities the experience can offer.
What is one strategy that has helped your business to grow?
A key strategy’s include having very high levels of personal engagement from all my staff, interesting activities for children and adults, and having varying levels of experiences depending on groups/families needs or desires.
What is one personal habit that has helped you to be successful?
Try harder and listen well, with humor and humility.
Please share one instance where a guest had a moving or emotional reaction to the experience you provided to them.
We have many, we have had parents in tears (of joy!) seeing their children embrace what we do and how we do it releasing them for a time from the constraints they feel their lives have and coming to a place that feels that it has none (we do we just hide it well). After my sheep shearing demo and wool industry talk I have had elderly people completely stunned at what they have learned, their gratitude is humbling.
Blair Briggs on LinkedIn: https://au.linkedin.com/pub/blair-briggs/2b/91/a6
Mowbray Park Farm on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Mowbray-Park-Farm-121547264593
Mowbray Park Farm on Twitter: @MowbrayParkFarm