Bullo River Station | Guest Wing
LOCATION: Victoria Highway, Baines NT 0852
Located in a beautiful remote pocket of northwestern NT close to the WA border lies Bullo River Station. Whilst a working cattle station, it offers an elevated homestead stay that compliments the magnificent landscape and activities around the 500,000 acre property. We stepped in to refurnish the guest rooms and guest breezeway, the first stage of the station’s reimagining & new chapter embracing undone Australian luxury.
Our design decisions were strongly informed by Mother Nature in all her glory in the East Kimberly region. We collected, bottled & pressed natural materials from around the property – ochre, earth & clay, paperbark, eucalyptus leaves, melaleuca blossom, river mud, felted boab seeds, wild rice, kapok, native hibiscus, reds, green ants, sands from the gorges, waterlilies, feathers, stones & rocks. These samples informed our colour palette, foundation and base materials, patterns, fabrics and materials that were used throughout the design, from colour matched custom tiles to the tactility of soft furnishings.
The history of large cattle stations gave some historical cues for shapes of tables, style of beds and bathroom fittings. It helped define our foundation materials that age beautifully in a harsh weather climate and with a bit of tough love – leather, salvaged wood, blackened steel, brass, stone and cane. We drew upon historical bush craft skills & traditional trades that come hand in hand with homesteads and remote stations where resourcefulness of materials and a ‘can do’ attitude are necessary. Within the rooms you will find forged hardware by a blacksmith, towel holders braided by a whip maker, twig side tables by a bush craft furniture maker and custom traditional Australian cast iron beds. The idea of homestead materials, those that are traditionally found within riding distance of the homestead, were always in mind.
The guest breezeway lined in salvaged Australian hardwood has an air of a relaxed gallery displaying artworks commissioned for the space. Included amongst the artworks is a Wyarra ancestor spirit from Arnhem Land that resides in the bush. He will protect & guide people who may lose their way. There’s also a pair of Wyarra ancestors that are dreamings of the stingray. These are sure to protect the guests that respect the land & they are the bringers of abundance & the bounties of water. They are all made from paperbark, a local resource & made by the artist Lena Yarinkura.
A Cabinet of Curiosity sits proudly in the breezeway displaying natural species and materials as well as found objects from the property. Guests are encouraged to add to the collection and not remove items from the station. Curiosity is key, and this ‘show&tell’ informality builds on a guest’s knowledge & education through tactility and accessibility to objects and books. In addition to the cabinet, we begun a library of books that will be added to continuously to engage the guests, answers their many questions and connect them to this landscape.