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Restoration work begins on historic far north tourism destination

Work to restore a century old homestead in the heart of SA is underway with hopes it will continue to tell stories for another 100 years.

Picture credit: @Taylormade_heritagerestoration
Quondong Station, a beloved rural getaway location 164 kilometers north of Burra, has embarked on a journey to revive its cherished century-old homestead, aiming to ensure its endurance for another hundred years.

Inspired by a captivating stonemason’s discussion in 2022, the Quondong Station team recognised the need to tenderly restore their beloved abode, which had undergone a flawed renovation over fifty years prior.

“In the 1970s, the walls were ‘repaired’ using modern cement, sourced from Quondong’s own quarry,” the station shared with its Instagram followers. “However, this approach proved disastrous for these venerable structures, as they lost their ability to breathe, dry out, or adjust with the soil.”

Enlisting the expertise of two skilled stonemasons, the restoration effort is now in full swing, with the project being spearheaded by Matt Hogg and Taylor Made Heritage Restoration.

“These ancient walls are beginning to speak, revealing their history to us.

“The villa room, constructed by two stonemasons, showcases varying skill levels, with no lime in the mortar, merely the station’s quarried stones held together by red mud, now degraded to dust.”

The restoration project has garnered significant online attention, with former Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop offering messages of encouragement as the station progresses on its journey.

Quondong Station offers an off-grid outback experience, often referred to as an ‘oasis’ for those seeking respite from the modern world. Visitors can explore the station’s red landscape on foot or by bicycle by day, before returning to relax under the expansive night sky by night.

As dusk descends, guests can indulge in a camp dinner featuring a selection of Australian Native foods, curated by renowned Creative Native and Red Ochre chef, Andrew Fielke. Alternatively, they can join the station team around the fire pit, delving into discussions about station life and the unique ecology of this Gondwanaland edge.

For those seeking a more leisurely experience, the station offers afternoon tea and garden tours for $30 per person. Following the redesign and replanting of the central garden in 2020, guests can now revel in its lush Mediterranean oasis. After exploring the gardens, guests can enjoy homemade scones with quandong or fig jam from the orchard during afternoon tea.

Quondong Oakbank Station, characterised by its absence of creeks and underground water, has defined its narrative over centuries. Initially inhabited by the Danggali people, who depended on red mallee roots and hakea for sustenance, the area witnessed a transformation with European settlement. Despite the challenge of water scarcity, Thomas Elder’s division in 1869 marked a pivotal moment. Enduring through adversities like the Federation Drought and rabbit plagues, James Gallagher’s ownership endured for nearly six decades. Successive changes in ownership followed until the current proprietors assumed control in 2003. Today, Quondong Oakbank Station spans 365,140 acres, specializing in Smooth Rolling Skin (SRS) Merino sheep and ethical wool production.

To learn more about Quondong Station’s rich history or to stay updated on the restoration efforts, click here.

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