Australian Country Homes

Australian Country Homes December Issue#5 2018

Australian Country Homes celebrates the warmth of the country aesthetic. We open the doors to some of Australia’s most interesting homes and see the enviable everyday lives of those who have made the move to a calmer, more welcoming and personally enriched way of living. Brought to you by Australian Country magazine, this new quarterly publication showcases the best of Australian country residences; from the weekender to the station homestead, the farmhouse to the historical home. Australian Country Homes covers the length and breadth of Australia. In every edition of Australian Country Homes you will see inspiring ideas from real Aussies on real budgets just getting out there and creating wonderfully warm environments. You will also experience rare glimpses into the families and businesses behind some of Australia’s most desirable lifestyles. Tour the styles, the plans, and the self-made touches that create a welcoming country home.

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1 min
editor's letter

Welcome to the summer edition of Australian Country Homes. Like most Australians, we’re relishing the chance to kick back and take it easy during the festive season, so this issue we’ve revisited some beautiful properties that offer wonderful opportunities to spend time in the great outdoors. Some have gorgeous verandahs or decks, others splendid bushland vistas or amazing water views. All are meant to be shared with family and friends, which brings to mind the outdoor entertaining that inevitably comes with the warmer months and holiday times. Alice Griffin’s feature starting on page 42 explores the many ways to take the stress out of summer entertaining, from having the right furniture and accessories to how to best keep and serve food in peak condition. A book of verses underneath the…

8 min
nothing but blue skies

In all probability, none of it would have happened if English restaurant critic Simon Hopkinson had been available. The year was 1997 and the then editor of Australian Gourmet Traveller Charlie (Carolyn) Lockhart was looking for a foreign judge to choose the winner of the magazine’s annual Best Restaurant in Australia Award. Simon was unavailable, so she approached Rick Stein instead. “What’s not to like about three weeks touring Australia, a country I already knew and loved, eating at the best restaurants and drinking fine wine,” the affable what-you-see-is-what-you-get chef, author and TV presenter recalls. “It didn’t take me very long to accept the invitation.” It’s a matter of history that on that trip Rick fell in love with the tour’s publicist, Sarah (Sas) Burns, whom he married in 2011. In 2009,…

2 min

The Wedding Nest is a boutique wedding gift registry specialising in unique gifts that are design- and style-focused, and not available on other registries. This is the registry for people who don’t want vanilla. The owners work hard (and love doing so) to source global pieces that are leading the way in design and showcase brands that do the same. Register online to view an extensive, yet well-edited, collection of beautiful homewares, statement furniture pieces and unique artworks, as well as all the registry basics. Orange Tung wood oil is an Australian-made, nontoxic, hard-drying blend of pure tung oil and essential orange oil. It coats raw or stripped wood, leaving a durable, waterproof, weatherproof surface, which is excellent for decking, flooring and furniture. Easy to apply, it covers 15 square…

6 min
cabbages and kings

Charlotte Thodey’s friends say she is the only artist they’ve ever met who sleeps with, paints and eats her subjects. Indeed, her studio in the bedroom of her home in Sydney’s inner west is jam-packed with fruit and vegetables in varying states of decay. But, then again, so is much of the rest of the house, as fruit and veg are Charlotte’s muse and she delights in giving them eternal life on canvas. “I grew up in a family of seven at the bottom of New Zealand’s South Island,” she explains. “My father was a country town doctor and he grew most of our food. The garden was pivotal for our rather large family. He was busy and if you wanted time with him, you had to weed. He was into…

6 min
at home with the hillbillies

Travelling west across the river at Richmond, NSW, we have to turn the headlights on as we head into a typical Hawkesbury Valley misty autumn morning. As the incline increases, the motor has to work that little bit harder. Travelling up through Kurmond, Kurrajong Hills and Heights and around the bends, we roll the windows down to hear the beautiful melody of bellbirds. The fog is behind us now and the sun shines brightly in the clear crisp mountain air. We pass fruit stalls with promises of all manner of stone fruit but our destination lies higher up, just beyond the small mountain township of Bilpin, the home of the mountain apple. In 1823, a young Archibald Bell came this way with his indigenous guides, seeking an alternative route to the…

4 min
when opportunity knocks

She jokes about it, but Heather Thompson is faintly serious about her recipe for ousting children from the nest. I listen intently in the hope I can apply her sage advice to my own situation. “The farm appeared to be a wonderful opportunity for lifestyle living,” she explains. “It was very close to a gorgeous beach on the Fleurieu Peninsula, had magnificent views and was a manageable 80 acres (32 hectares).” However, when Heather and husband, Rob, secured the purchase of Brooklyn Farm, it was not a property for the fainthearted. Settled by grain-growing pioneers in the mid-1800s — who themselves had a brood of 15 children — flora such as wattle and tea tree on the farm had been stripped, pastures were barren and the derelict farmhouse contained only basic…