Monday, August 1, 2011

Argyle Downs Homestead

The homestead was originally built in 1895 by the Durack family on Argyle Downs Station (now   submerged by Lake Argyle)  
In the late 1880s, at the beginning of the great Kimberley beef industry, Patsy Durack and his two brothers built the Argyle Downs Homestead after a two year trek from Queensland bringing with them wagons, carts and 2000 head of cattle. The famous pioneering Durack family home became known far and wide as one of the social gathering places of the East Kimberley.
The Duracks experience is described in the book Kings in Grass Castles about their pioneering opening of the Kimberley area to cattle raising.


During the early 1970’s a decision was made to remove the homestead before Lake Argyle, a man made lake damming the Ord River, began to fill in order to preserve the building. The homestead was dismantled stone by stone with every stone coded in such a way so as to be able to be rebuilt with every stone back in its original position.

The lovely shaded veranda

Warm colour stone, and old camp beds on the veranda
The house is lovely with cool stone, wide verandas and doors on opposite side so cool breezes can blow through from any direction.
Photos in the Museum show many buildings and equipment submerging. It seems the Lake, enclosing the Ord River,  began filling faster than expected after some heavy rain, and they got caught out before they would get all the equipment out.

There were a series of graves of some of the family as well as memorial stones.
In the garden we also had the thrill of seeing a flock of Double Barred finches at a feeder, and over in the hedge a nest and a Bower Bird ! 
In that area the Great Bower birds collect silver and white, not blue as they do here. (Satin Bowerbird)  In the nest were lots of tea light candles .
The staff at the building said that they had a function with the tea lights set outside, and in the morning half the lights were in the nest!

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