Luxury outback paradise built in western Queensland
THE goal was to create a luxury haven in western Queensland - and judging by their pictures, the folks at Shandonvale Station have done just that.
It was more than six months of solid hard work to transform the shearing quarters on the property, which is situated about 20km outside of Aramac, into ritzy accommodation for tourists.
Whitewashed timber from the original 1900s homestead has been transformed into crafty bedheads, and timber from 200-year-old gidgee tree stumps has been used to make a dining room table.
The young managers of Shandonvale, which runs mostly dorper sheep behind exclusion fences, Deon and Lane Stent-Smith, decided on their tourism operation as a source of off-farm income.
They felt outback Queensland was lacking luxury accommodation but also wanted to bridge the divide between city and country.
"Down on the coast you can get cottage or farm stay accommodation that is so nice, but out here it's a totally different story,” Deon said.
"Around here, there is nowhere that has on-station accommodation. Most of what you get is $10 bucks a night and you go and camp.
"What we are trying to do is a one-on-one experience. So people can try and reconnect with rural Queensland and learn our story, the story of people on the land.”
Deon's family has a background in construction work so he was able to get help when he needed it, but the couple did most of the work themselves.
"Everything from the tables to the bed heads is just old material,” he said.
"We used railway sleepers from out in the paddock, shearing boards out of the shearing shed, and we just white washed old weather boards from the homestead, the original homestead that was here.
"We wanted to keep it a little bit original because it all has a story behind it.”
The property used to be owned by the Lynch family, originally from Ireland, who drew the land as a ballot block back in the early 20th century. The Lynch family operated the station for 97 years.
Today, on arrival at the station guests are given a seasonal hamper with fruits, vegetables and meat that's all produced on Shandonvale.
Deon is hoping the paddock to plate initiative will be a hit with their clients.
"Everyone is so disconnected from their food these days it's not funny. They think it comes from a meat tray in Woolworths,” he said.
"I know not everyone wants to kill a sheep, skin it and hang it in the cold room and to go through the whole butchering process to see how it all works. But we will offer that to the people who are interested,” he said.