How Bloomfield Rides Out A Pandemic

Filed in Just In by May 27, 2020

GENERATIONS of the Haydon family have been on their property Bloomfield in Blandford since 1832.

For their family and many others in the Upper Hunter district, covid-19 is not the first pandemic they have weathered.

Peter Haydon shared a photo of their family, taken at Bloomfield Homestead in 1919, all wearing masks to protect themselves from the Spanish Flu, which killed more than 50 million people worldwide, including many local cases and deaths.

Members of the Haydon family wearing masks due to the Spanish Flu pandemic at Bloomfield in 1919. Photo: Peter Haydon.

The global spread of that deadly strain of influenza virus was facilitated by the massive troop movements in WWI.

Like many families, the Haydon’s longed for the return of their loved ones who were soldiers, including Lts Guy and Barney Haydon who fought at Gallipoli, Beersheba and in the Middle East Light Horse campaigns on their Bloomfield bred horses Midnight and Polo, both by Tester, but it also meant the Spanish Flu continued to reach our shores with the troops.

“Cases continue to be taken off incoming steamers. Despite the somewhat stringent restrictions placed upon travellers on the railways, the malady continues to spread to the outlying country centres…..So far as we have been able to learn there is still one case only at Murrurundi.” – The Influenza – Increases City and Country Cases, The Scone Advocate, Friday, April 11, 1919.

Thankfully, for the Haydon’s, Peter Haydon said he didn’t think Guy or Barney had the influenza at any stage. 

Fast forward to the covid-19 pandemic and Bloomfield has once again served the Haydon’s as their safe haven during another pandemic lockdown.

More than 100 years after their family members departed to serve in WWI, the current generation of Haydon’s commemorated ANZAC Day during lockdown at Bloomfield.

Thankfully during this pandemic we have better science to understand how to take proper precautions, we have better medical treatment available and our community and families like the Haydons are fairing much better.

“I have three sons working in Sydney and they all decided to come home during the lockdown to be on the farm and there were lots of Zoom meetings,” said Peter Haydon.

“I had to take a Zoom meeting myself and I ended up having to go to work station number five in the shed,” laughed Peter.

“It was great for the grand kids to hunker down at the farm and ride ponies everyday, rather than being stuck in an environment in Sydney,” he said.

The Haydon’s at Bloomfield in 2020, during the covid-19 pandemic. Photo: Peter Haydon.

“It was also quite the task taking care of the grandchildren between 9 to 5 each day, so that their parents could continue working,” he said.

“The internet makes working from home possible, it makes it very possible, so everyone could keep doing their Zoom meetings, so everyone was very happy,

“My son explained to his wife that it wasn’t the first time the family had taken refuge at Bloomfield, during WWII when Sydney was being bombed they returned and they didn’t say for a few weeks or months, but years, I think his wife was a bit concerned,” laughed Peter.

“But they have all gone back to Sydney now,” Peter Haydon said. 

Also on ANZAC Day the Haydon’s were able to watch a replay on the ABC of a Landline story on Midnight, their famous family warhorse and their family’s connection to the famous Charge of Beersheba. The Haydon’s are thought to be the only family whose horses they ride today are directly related to those in the charge. Read more on Midnight and Haydon Horse Stud.




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