Pre-World War I Kangaroo Valley, located at the foot of the Southern Highlands, was a rich dairy farming land with a population of around 1400 in 1885.
James Nathaniel Watson was one of Shoalhaven’s pioneering dairy farmers and it was on this site that Watson’s dairy farm was located.
Watson, with the aid of his wife, Sarah Ann and nine daughters, worked tirelessly growing all of their own vegetables, producing all of their own milk and butter and Sarah Ann made most of the family’s clothes.
For Watson’s daughters, daily milking was followed by two or three of them heaving heavy churns on an even heavier four-wheeled trolley , which they then pushed to the dairy. The original milking shed can be seen at the western end of the present day property.
In 1919, the Watson family built a new home near a row of camphor laurel trees, aptly naming the homestead, The Laurels.
Six years later, a family travelling the dirt road from Barrengarry Mountain to the South Coast stopped by for directions and to find local accommodation. Instead, they stayed for dinner and slept the night, beginning The Laurels’ life as a traveller’s guesthouse.
In 2015, David and Lindy Pitt purchased the property, and continue to provide travellers with a comfortable place to spend the night and the perfect base from which to explore Kangaroo Valley and its surrounds.