The O'Brien Family Farm
The O’Brien Farm is situated within the City of St. John’s between Mount Scio Road and Oxen Pond Road. The thirty-two acre property is located within Pippy Park and is adjacent to the MUN Botanical Gardens.
The O’Brien family immigrated to St. John’s from southeastern Ireland. John O’Brien (1791-1857) established a farm in Freshwater, two miles west of St. John’s, in or around 1818. From its establishment, this farm was operated by O’Brien family for 190 years until the family’s last descendant, Aloysius Patrick O’Brien, passed away in October 2008. The O’Brien Farm is made up of a series of fields, pasture lands, gardens, woodlands, waterways, a ca. 1850s-era cottage, and later outbuildings.
In 2010, the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador acquired the farm to be developed as an historic site. In 2011, the O’Brien Farm Foundation was founded The to manage, preserve and develop the property as a sustainable historic resource and visitor destination. The O’Brien Farm as an historic site focuses on a number of themes: Irish settlement in Newfoundland; Irish-Newfoundland culture and tradition; farming history in Newfoundland; sustainable farming practices; the story of the O’Brien family.
The collection of materials relating to the O’Brien Farm comes, first, from a series of interviews that Dr. Jo Shawyer, Department of Geography, Memorial University, did with Aly O’Brien during 1992-1994. Other materials include photographs from the O’Brien Family photograph album, and photographs taken over the years on the farm by visitors and friends. A series of newspaper clippings, written reports, and other miscellaneous printed ephemera are also included. The original audio recordings are deposited in the MUN Folklore and Language Archive, while the photographs and printed materials are in the possession of John and Maura Mannion.