Welcome to our inaugural post in the First Impressions series. Belinda and I will excitedly be conducting site visits at some stunning event locations scattered throughout our region in the following weeks. Last week we had the great pleasure of exploring Donegan’s Farm with co-owner & host Josie on a warm & sunshine-filled morning.
Situated 20 minutes from Ballarat, most locals will be familiar with Donegan’s Farm through their previously offered kinder & primary school excursion program. In recent times, the farm has transitioned into an impressive function & event venue with various venue options for consideration within the 60-hectare farm gates. The property has been owned and farmed by the Donegan family for over 150 years, with Josie and Peter currently at the helm.
Pulling up in the allocated paddock car park, we spy a charming wooden barn with thoughtful rustic details contained inside. Adjacent to the barn, we meander through a cottage garden and meet with our host, Josie, inside a multi-purpose dining hall. While wedding season sees bridal bookings use the space, Donegan’s Farm offers pizza nights for locals to enjoy inside this homely, relaxed-styled room in the cooler months.
After a quick overview of their operations, Josie leads us through the expansive property to another of the venue options available. We give way to a passing tractor before entering a large, deceptively plain appearing shed. The doors swing open & reveal the most fabulous floor-to-ceiling Aussie rustic bar creation, complete with corrugated iron & reclaimed timber. Adoring posies in vases decorate a few of the tabletops before us, with Josie sharing the space can cater for around 150 seated guests. Along the wall opposite the bar is a decent-sized stage allowing for live entertainment. Once used as a potato shed, the setup is now an inviting rustic function space. When questioned on the food options, Josie confirms she is the head cook with a menu of honest & straightforward country fare done well.
Josie bids us farewell at this point but encourages us to explore other pockets on their farm. After admiring the nearby quaint Airbnb cottage (another bonus of this impressive property!), we made our way across the road to further examine their latest events triumph. Graze in the Maize presented a short-term opportunity to enjoy food, drinks & live music throughout February and early March in the cornfields on Donegan’s Farm. Well-worn paths invite us to venture into the middle of the corn and discover the event clearing used for Graze in the Maize. We have way too much fun brushing past the husks of corn, looking for the whereabouts of the clearing. Belinda fancied using the occasion to reminisce on her love of the X-Files and other horror themes for added dramatic effect. (Visit Troop Events on Instagram for further explanation.)
The final surprise on this property came as we drove around the cornfields’ side to view ‘the swamp.’ The swamp location exceeded our expectations and revealed another barn-like structure with a balcony overlooking green lawns and an attractive waterway. Towering gum trunks, an outdoor bar & onsite toilets make this our pick of outdoor ceremony locations! Such a delight to view.
The entire Donegan’s Farm property is available to hire, and our minds are ticking over with the endless possibilities!
Written by Lisa Taylor SheLovesBallarat