On an unseasonably warm winter’s day, we visited the Tocal Homestead in Paterson, Australia, a rural property about three hours northeast of Sydney, to install our Opus+ players. This is their fourth iteration of Acoustiguide hardware; starting with Inform in 2002, then to exSite, Opus and now, Opus+.
Visitors to the site will see aboriginal grinding grooves, experience the Homestead’s original buildings and even encounter pigs who are direct descendants of those first farmed there! The tour offers the narrative history of the place, beginning with the original inhabitants — the Gringai clan of the Wonnarua people, which is where the name Tocal itself originates — through to today.
Visitors will hear how Tocal has been a center for innovation since the early 19th century, led by forward-thinking farmers. In 1832, James Webber tested crops new to the region, most notably grapes for wine-making — he was a pioneer in what’s now recognized as one of the best wine regions of Australia; later, Charles Reynolds established one of the greatest cattle and horse stud farms in Australia, and Charles Boyd Alexander brought mechanization and technology to Tocal. Today – through Tocal College — the area is at the forefront of agricultural education and environmental management.
Like many of our clients, Tocal Homestead wanted a hybrid tour solution. In addition to Opus+, we developed an iOS and Android GPS-enabled app which provides easy navigation around the property and showcases some revealing but previously archived images. For those unable to travel to Paterson, the app also allows access to virtual visitors from around the world who want to gain insight into early colonial farming practices in Australia.