Episode 5: Boot Hill | The Alternative Dairy Co.

Episode 5: Boot Hill

Welcome to “Boot Hill”. It began with a simple idea and an old pair of boots, and it grew over time into the quirky colossus we now see before us.

“Y’know, what you’re doing is a bit weird.”

That’s Angus Hipwell, a farmer in the Upper Allyn region of NSW, and a master of the art of laconic Aussie discourse. He’s surveying the Ural CT motorbike that’s been parked on a dusty verge out the front of his property, the bike with the colourful umbrella and the full-sized La Marzocco espresso machine mounted on the side, the bike that’s currently being plugged into a generator and stocked with coffee beans and oat milk and being readied for service.

Angus is right, of course – it is a bit weird. A perfect flat white in the middle of nowhere, made on a motorbike? But then, we’re also standing in front of several thousand pairs of old boots and shoes that have been tied to a fence on Angus’s farm, so it feels as if the ADC team is not the only oddity around here.

Welcome to “Boot Hill”, a tourist attraction that you will really get a kick out of. It began with a simple idea and an old pair of boots, and it grew over time into the quirky colossus we now see before us.

The idea actually came from Alan Parkes, Angus’s next-door neighbour (which, around here, means he lives about 20 minutes away). Alan had visited New Zealand and seen the “boot fence”, a spot in Waitomo, on the North Island, where hikers traditionally leave their worn-out footwear tied to the wire.

So, Alan thought – why don’t we do it here? The road out front of his mate Angus’s property leads straight to Barrington Tops, a paradise for those who like to tramp around in the wilderness, so maybe they would start to leave their old boots behind and create a little local oddity if someone got it started?

Alan ran the idea past Angus, his mate agreed, and they tied a pair of boots to the fence. And then they waited. Soon, a few more pairs turned up. Then a few more. People hung their footwear from a tree. They placed a set of old snow skies there. They started adding Ugg boots and thongs and even high heels. And pretty soon Alan and Angus had themselves a full-blown tourist attraction.

It is, granted, a bit weird. But then sometimes the best things are.

Ben Groundwater
Travel & Food Writer