“Did you know that the first apple tree ever to be planted in Australia was in Tasmania by none other than William Bligh in 1788?” says Ellie Smith.
Ellie Smith is the Functions Manager at Willie Smiths Apple Shed, but she’s also part of the family!
Willie Smith’s Apple Shed is a unique function space located just 35-minutes’ drive south of Hobart, set in the naturally stunning Huon Valley region. The Shed is a large rustic barn surrounded by green pastures and old wooden buildings. The original nineteen-forties apple packing shed combines a casual country feel with modern design.
Tasmania’s regional destinations can provide a fresh location for fresh ideas and The Apple Shed is no exception. Its beautiful timbers, pitched roofs and expansive natural surroundings are part of what makes the place so appealing for conference and incentive groups.
Ellie is married to Andrew Smith, whose great grandfather William (Willie) Smith first planted his Huon Valley orchard in 1888. Originally from the UK, Ellie met Andrew 16-years ago when she was a backpacker on the farm. “He fired me…then I moved in,” Ellie smiles. Together they now run the Apple Shed as the fourth generation of apple growers.
“Andrew’s great grandfather Willie, the son of two convicts, had a very hard start in life. His parents used to leave him and his siblings for days at a time with just sugar cubes to suck on apparently. I think it’s amazing that we are here, continuing and growing the business that he started, 80 years after his death,” she says.
“The wooden floors and walls tell the story of the Shed’s history,” says Ellie. “There are wax marks and nails from its days as a packing shed. It has a life and spirit of its own, and I think you can feel that when you walk in the door.”
“We have a huge display wall at the Apple Shed that displays around 400 different varieties of apples, which we pick each year from the heritage orchard in Grove. Everybody loves the wall and can’t quite believe how many varieties of apples exist”
The venue offers exclusive room hire and flexible food and beverage packages for corporate and business events. It can accommodate up to 200 people cocktail-style, or seated inside, can cater for a 100-person buffet-style dinner – more if using the outside area.
“We had a big picnic style event recently, with lots of food stations and activities going on, a bit of archery, and then a group of line dancers did a demo and got everyone up dancing, it was lots of fun for everyone. It makes me very happy to see people enjoying themselves at the Shed.”
When asked if there’s anything new on the horizon for Willie Smith’s, Ellie says, “we are about to start trialling some distillery experiences at our onsite distillery. These will include tastings and a relaxed talk with our distiller… It will make a perfect experience for an incentive group or just someone who has decided to stay on after their conference to do a bit of sightseeing,” she says.
There’s no doubt about it, if you’re looking for a beautiful rustic and unique Tasmanian off-site venue, you will love the Apple Shed.
Image credit – Kim Eijdenberg