Australian Country Homes

Australian Country Homes Issue 11

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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6 min
a fruitful life

Some of us just aren’t wired to live in suburbia, with fences for privacy and neighbours within earshot. It can work for a time, but the call of the country seems to always prevail. Wayne and Marie Stewart first bought their patch of rural paradise in 1980. In the lofty green hills of Peachester, overlooking Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, it was untamed bush — wild and rambling. Teachers by trade, with two boys in tow and dreams of a new home and flourishing orchard driving them forward, they began the mammoth task ahead of them. “We cleared some areas including a road in,” Wayne recalls. “Then we built a shed near where we lived in our caravan for 18 months while we built a house.” In time, they planted custard apple, lychee and avocado…

7 min
set in stone

As celebratory outings go, it was the one that blew all the others out of the water. As Sarah Beaumont recalls her 2012 birthday, her partner, Ian Glover, hit on the idea of a trip to the country to check out a property he’d seen for sale online. Sarah’s career as an organisational development training manager and Ian’s as an air traffic control systems installation manager meant they were always on the go in opposite directions and pretty much passing each other in the hallway of their inner-Melbourne home. “We were both living high-stress lives,” Sarah recalls. “So the idea of a tree change had lots of appeal. Our search for a change of pace had led us to look at places in the US, Italy and France, but there was…

6 min
cream of the crop

You could have heard a pin drop. As Sarah Crooke tells the story, she and her husband, Stephen, were sitting in the classroom for the world’s leading ice cream course at Pennsylvania State University in the US, surrounded by food chemists. As the talk swirled around stabilisers, emulsifiers, food dyes and flavour powders, Sarah raised a tentative hand. “But what if,” she asked, “we used fresh raspberries?” While everyone looked at her as though she’d announced she was planning on making ice cream with dish water, she certainly attracted the attention of the lecturer, who came to her after the class and shared whatever knowledge he had about the radical concept of making her product with fresh fruit. The Crookes and their son, James, and daughter-in-law Iris are the makers of Gundowring…

2 min
sibling rivalry

Robert After 40 years with his “head down and tail up” on his cattle station, Robert Peart says he relishes the freedom to indulge his passion for timber. “I’ve always been a hobbyist furniture maker, but life on the farm involved a lot of work,” he says. “Now that I’ve handed most of that over to my son, I’m free to indulge myself a little.” He adds that he is only interested in using timber from dead trees and harvests much of his material from the paddock. That might include brigalow, crows ash or ooline, but he also trades or buys rainforest timbers including greenheart, which is exceptionally durable, if not somewhat hard on his tools. While Robert says he does accept commissions, he likes to take his time and usually ends…

6 min
at home in the hills

Melissa and Andrew Kidd were roughly 16,000 kilometres apart when something life-changing popped into their respective inboxes. “Melissa and I emailed the same land to each other,” Andrew explains. “She’d returned to Australia a few months before me, while I finished an assignment in Frankfurt. While apart, we’d share property ideas. I was excited to see it as soon as I got off the plane.” An unbelievable coincidence or a sign from somewhere beyond, no matter how you look at it, it seemed it was meant to be. “We loved the area and had lived around here in our teenage years,” Melissa says. “So we couldn’t believe it when this block of land came up for sale.” It seemed to tick all their boxes — rural, close to the beaches of…

5 min
design divas

They say to be born into the Turner family means to be born in the saddle. While that’s not strictly true, the Turner women all started riding almost as soon as they could walk. Gendy Parry Okeden, the oldest of the three Turner girls, started riding at the age of two and was back competing just three months after her twin boys, Sam and Tom, were born. “My mother, Beth, is a veteran eventer and horse riding coach and trainer,” Gendy explains. “She grew up in New Zealand where everyone rode and hunted and then she met my father, Warwick, who was also into horses. They came back to his family farm at Oberon where, naturally, my sisters Nicky, Jamie and I grew up not really knowing that horse riding was…