We catch up with Bill and Lyn Rose, owner operators of the Old Fernvale Bakery in Fernvale, Queensland to talk pastries, pies and the past.
Sydney has the Opera House. New York City has the Statue of Liberty. Likewise, Fernvale has the Old Fernvale Bakery, and it wouldn’t be the same without it. Home to a variety of over 150 pies and a myriad of expertly baked delicacies, it’s no wonder it’s grown to be a house hold name across south east Queensland and beyond. We sat down for a chat with founders and owners Bill and Lyn Rose to chat about how their passion for pastry lead to a life of pies.
The Old Fernvale Bakery is a unique Australian bakery specialising in pies. They are located along the Brisbane Valley Highway at Fernvale and they have been operating for almost five decades.
WHAT MAKES THE OLD FERNVALE BAKERY UNIQUE?
The pies themselves of course! We have an extensive menu which boasts over 150 different varieties of pies. I don’t think there’s anywhere else in Australia were you can choose from over 150 pies, so we are very proud of that.
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT WORKING AT THE OLD FERNVALE BAKERY?
The people, both kinds. By that I mean the ones out the front (the customers) and the ones out the back (the workers). Behind the scenes, we are lucky to have really wonderful staff who work very hard and take pride in their work. They’re a great group of people and we value the importance of being able to provide local employment and training opportunities to hard workers. Out the front, we love chatting with our customers and we’ve had so many wonderful people walk through our door.
DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE CUSTOMERS?
Hundreds! How could we pick just one?
WHAT MAKES THE OLD FERNVALE BAKERY PIES SO TASTY?
You can’t have a good pie, without a good baker. We believe that baking is an art and that’s why we employ highly skilled, well trained professional bakers and nurture our apprentices with proper training and support. We get some of the best bakers in Australia to come and work with our bakers and apprentices, so they are constantly learning better skills and producing high quality baked goods. Everything is made fresh in house with high quality ingredients by our expert bakers. I’m very proud of our bakers, who have won countless awards and medals for the Old Fernvale Bakery.
TELL US ABOUT THE DECOR IN THE OLD FERNVALE BAKERY CAFE
It’s called the “Old” Fernvale Bakery for a reason. Entering into the cafe is like entering into a Ye Old World. We’ve an undying love for all things that represent old country life in rural Australia. We’ve got lots of beautiful memorabilia on display so there’s lots of interesting things to look at. We’re thankful to some of the local families who, over the years, have given us old photographs and family treasures, some dating back to the 1800s. There’s certainly something very special about all of our knick knacks as they not only tell our story, but the story of our community and those who came before.
YOU’VE BEEN AROUND FOR 48 YEARS, HOW DO YOU KEEP THINGS FRESH AND NEW?
For starters our menu is always expanding. We encourage our bakers to challenge themselves and enter nationally recognised baking competitions. This provides them an opportunity to improve their skills and experiment with new recipes. We also like to think outside the box when it comes to traditional bakery dishes. For example, at the moment we’ve got some really unique takes on the hot cross bun with flavours like lemon meringue pie, jam, peppermint, jaffa, double chocolate, caramel and pina colada.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU AS BUSINESS OWNERS?
We both come from humble beginnings and have had to work very hard to get to where we are today. It’s important for us to remember where we came from and to give back to the community and to charity. Currently, the Old Fernvale Bakery has joined forces with River 94.9FM to raise money for the Children’s Hospital Foundation. We’ve always respected the wonderful work that goes on at the Lady Cilento Hospital in South Brisbane. You’d be surprised by the amount of people in our own community here in Fernvale who travel into the Lady Cilento on a regular basis so that their children can receive treatment.
I’ve even met customers in our bakery who travel into the hospital every day so that their little girl can receive chemotherapy. You don’t have to look too far to find someone in our community who needs the Children’s Hospital Foundation. We’re personally visited the hospital several times to visit sick kids and have been so touched by the children and families there. The last time we went, we met a little girl who had been there for five years. The hospital has been her home, and the wonderful staff there are like her family. It’s stories like this that have moved us to try and raise as much money as possible for them. Last year we raised around $21K for them and this year we’re aiming for $40K, so we’re hoping people will get behind it by liking us on Facebook and digging deep. Between Australia Day and Easter Sunday, we’ll be running regular auctions of first release, gourmet flavoured hot cross buns. All proceeds from the auctions will be added to the fundraiser for the foundation. In addition, we’re selling other amazing flavoured hot cross buns and for every packet sold, we’ll donate $1 back to the foundation.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT FERNVALE AND THE LOCAL AREA?
It’s our home. We moved here over 50 years ago when there was just a post office, one pub, a little general store, a guy who sold food out the side of this caravan and the shoulders of the road were still dirt. The town is right on the doorstep of Wivenhoe Dam, one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever seen.
We love our home at Wivenhoe Pocket. It’s our escape, our peace and our serenity. We are country people at heart and love nothing more than sitting quietly at home and looking out at our property and our beautiful charolais cows. We feel so privileged to breed such amazing creatures and to live in the beautiful Somerset region.