Looking back on 2020: 87yo matriarch cares for one of the oldest homes in the NSW Southern Tablelands

The old adage "home is where the heart is" rings true for a 26 room historical property in Goulburn.

The property named 'Braemar' has served many functions over the centuries: a high class estate, an inn, a family home and for the past 65 years it's been the residence of Mrs Ann Poidevan.

While Mrs Poidevin is 87 years old, she still lives an active life on the property and lights the multiple fireplaces to keep warm, mans the Rayburn (slow combustion) stove and carries out farm work.

"You don't live in an old house, you work on it," she said.

These days she leaves most of the heavy lifting to the younger generation, but the country woman still helps muster cattle.

The mother of five partnered with her son Simon, a well known rugby union legend, 26 years ago to help run the farm. Since then the pair have been slowly renovating the old house.

"People ask 'how do old buildings get in disrepair?' because the people who lived here had been through depressions, world wars and things have to wait," Mrs Poidevin said.

The Poidevin family will celebrate 100 years at Braemar next year. Mrs Poidevin moved into the house at the age of 22 when she married her late husband Paul.

Braemar was first built in 1821 by Joshua John Moore a grazier from Horningsea, Cambridgeshire, England.

The house now sits on 30 acres that run down to the Wollondilly River. An additional 1100 acres can be accessed across the road.

The original Georgian homestead was extended in 1888 by the illegitimate son of the Duke of York. The Gibbs family lived and eventually died in the house.

The now iconic gateposts at the front of the property were salvaged from a demolished convent. Mrs Poidevin has Goulburn relics throughout her home.

"I had a little old ute and I'd rush in [to pick up old building materials]," she said.

"You wouldn't believe what my little old ute used to haul."

While renovations are underway, a portion of the upper floor remains closed off. Two bedrooms are situated upstairs for visitors, but otherwise the main floor has ample room.

The hardy woman is accustomed to life in an old house. Whether it be using her walking stick to remove cobwebs from a window or squishing a large black spider with her foot, Mrs Poidevin isn't daunted.

"The spiders love the place," she said.

Spiders aren't the only animals that visit, with possums frequently taking up a spot on the verandah, snakes making an appearance in summer, and "every cat and dog in the neighborhood" stopping by.

Enclosed in the far end of the verandah is the bathroom Mrs Poidevin dubs a "loo with a view". The windows look out over the countryside, complete with two alpacas in the paddock next door.

"Sometimes when we flush there are frogs in the toilet," she said.

The hard working woman is especially proud of what she calls her art gallery.

The old scullery has been transformed into a room with numerous family pictures hanging from the walls. The old brick floor has been replaced with sandstone off cuts.

When asked if she sits in this room to read she scoffed and replied: "I'm always doing cattle work, no way."

This story Two centuries of story inside the walls of Goulburn's historic Braemar first appeared on Goulburn Post.