The time I slept in Joe Hockey’s house


It’s not every day a girl gets to say she’s slept in the Treasurer’s bed. But today I was reminded that’s exactly what I did a few years back. And I can report it was a pretty enjoyable experience.

Yes friends, I kept that one quiet. But now I have got your attention, let me tell you about my brush with Joe – or his Malanda farm cottage to be precise.

I am pretty sure it was 2005. I had flown to north with hubby, Mr C, who was doing some work at a dairy factory at Malanda.

After spending a couple of days in Cairns (for Mr C’s obligatory charter fishing trip), we undertook the steep, windy drive up to the Atherton Tablelands.

Not being savvy to school holidays (we had a 3 year-old and a baby of just a few months in tow), we did not pre-book our accommodation – and we arrived to find there was literally nothing around.

Things were getting desperate. We were just about ready to give up when a lady at a local tourist information office said she knew of a property that had just come onto the holiday rental market.

She made a phone call and sure enough, there was and it was available. I remember driving along the country road and I recall crossing a small bridge. Further down the road, there it was – our home for the next few days.

The cottage was on a property farmed by a local, but the owners lived interstate and until just before we stayed, I understood they had used it purely as their holiday home.

Master 3 loved playing with the farm cat at Joe's Malanda dairy cottage.
Master 3 loved playing with the farm cat at Joe’s Malanda farm cottage.

It was a comfortable Queenslander with a homely cottage kitchen and cosy lounge room. An enclosed verandah would have been a relaxing space had I not had two little ones to keep entertained.

Until now, I had all but forgotten my surprise when I recognised one of the faces on some of the photographs in the kitchen – it was Joe Hockey, then a minister in the Howard Government.

Obviously not in the same league as he is today, but still I knew who he was (maybe it was during his time on Sunrise with his sparring partner, Kevin)

My memory was piqued today when I saw the cottage in a story about Joe and his wife’s Malanda farm on the market. Yep, that was the place alright. Actually it doesn’t look like it’s changed much at all since our visit.

The enclosed verandah as it appears on the current real estate sales page.
The enclosed verandah as it appears on the current real estate sales page.
Back in 2005 – sorry for the feet on the furniture Mr Treasurer.

I am not sure how long the property was on the holiday rental market – I did look again a few years back when I started Family Friendly Accommodation , but couldn’t find any reference to it.

When asked by a reporter why he was selling the property, a spokesman for Mr Hockey said it was a personal matter for him and his family. And so it is.

But I just wanted to say thanks Mr Hockey for the opportunity to stay on your farm – it is now part of my own family holiday history and I am sure one day, when I am old and love telling stories to my grandchildren, I will tell them about the time I slept in a treasurer’s bed.

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Author: Amanda

Holidays with kids is a changing feast. With more than 12 years now under my belt, I am passing on what I have learned to help other parents plan their family holidays to make them as stress-free as possible.

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