Jocelyn Hancock has a double life – she has her head in the city operating Cake and Bake in Brisbane, but her heart is in the country where she retreats to the land on which she grew up.
Jocelyn Hancock’s family has lived in Brisbane’s New Farm for 20 years making the two and a half hour drive to the family farm, Braeside at Killarney, as often as possible. She is amused by the reverse order of their rambling old city house that’s “like a tent in winter” and their comfortable modern country home.
Given the family’s sporadic visits to Braeside, the garden is essentially hardy — natives, lavender and an orchard. The effort put into the orchard over the past eight years is now bearing fruit with citrus and stonefruit such as grapefruit, lime, lemons, pomegranate and apricots used in goodies at Jocelyn’s West End bakery and deli.
Jocelyn is an enthusiastic advocate of food provenance and freshness. Her farm produce, honey, decorative whole fruit and veges and cut foliage gently remind patrons the source of their food is first-hand. She and husband Myles Parry are proud of the regeneration of the gully near the house with rainforest trees endemic to the region previously grazed by livestock. They have been rewarded not only by lush self-seeded natives but a corresponding increase in birds visiting their wildlife corridor.
The current house site was once a paddock where as a child, Jocelyn rode her pony to muster cattle. These days, Jocelyn and Myles garden while their two sons explore the 80 acres on motorbike.
While loving every aspect of her country house, it’s not surprising that the living area framed by floor-to-ceiling glass is Jocelyn’s favourite space: “I love the changing picture of big sky, rolling clouds and the view to the mountains on the horizon.” On the day of our visit, with their heads in the clouds, the mountains look snow-capped.
Family and visitors gravitate to the rosewood bench separating the culinary action of the kitchen from the living areas of the house. A gift from her father, the bench was made from a fallen log off her uncle’s property at nearby Spring Creek.
Louvres are used throughout for ventilation and views. In the spare bedroom they are placed either side of the bedhead so guests can wake to see Mount Leslie then roll over for a view of Cambanoora Gorge.
Architect Margaret Ward had an open brief sympathetic to the landscape. Jocelyn says, “We thought we would get a simple log cabin, not this incredible contemporary country house. Margaret has fantastic attention to detail and was completely in step with us,” says Jocelyn of the house completed 10 years ago.
In one of those turns of serendipity Margaret boarded with Jocelyn at Fairholme. It was school based work experience at iconic Weis Restaurant that opened Jocelyn’s awareness to the world of catering. As a qualified chef and Paris trained pastrycook, her love of baked goods led to Jocelyn’s Provisions in Brisbane operating for 14 years until 2009, and now to Cake and Bake in West End.
Words by Janet Kieseker | Images by Cory Rossiter