After years of restricted access, historic Dunlop Station, on the Darling River south of Bourke, is open to visitors – especially those who would like a job.

Story + Photos Mandy McKeesick

“We stumbled across this place by accident when we were looking for a weekender to go fishing,” Kim Chandler says, freely admitting she did not realise the historical significance of her purchase. “We arrived to find ourselves with a fully furnished house, complete with a kettle on the stove and a biscuit tin on the kitchen table, though there was no water, the toilet wasn’t working and power came from a car battery.”

Dunlop, built in the late 19th century, had been locked away from prying eyes for 20 years and it wasn’t until Kim began experiencing problems with trespassers that she started to understand the public’s fascination with the property. Interlopers were so keen to see the homestead and the station store (both built from stone quarried on a nearby hill), the 45-stand woolshed, remnant village school, blacksmith’s shop, shearers’ quarters, and Chinese gardener’s hut, that they had no hesitation in jumping fences, breaking into buildings and, in some cases, stealing.

Four years after her purchase, Kim moved to Dunlop permanently. She set her sights on a restoration program, working off-property in order to fund her project. “It’s important to try and save it but our job, I feel, is to preserve not change,” Kim says. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #123

Outback Magazine: February/March 2019