I've just spent two days on a farm stay called Bonus Downs, 46km south of Mitchell in western Queensland.
This amazing historical property is owned by Lyle and Madonna Connolly who bought the 33,000 acre station in 1990.
It was once owned by Sir Samuel McCaughley, a pioneering settler who acquired the property in 1908 when it spanned a massive 300,000 acres. Sir Samuel quickly built the place up - within five years there was 130,000 merino sheep lining up at the 42 stand shed which employed 100 men.
When Madonna and Lyle moved to the property with their two young children, a woman had not lived in the homestead for more than 30 years.
To say it was derelict is an understatement but with the couple's fire, passion, determination and a lot of hard work the property has been restored to its former glory.
For those looking for an outback experience to keep the shutter finger occupied this could be it. While a spectacular outback sunset eluded me due to heavy dark clouds threatening rain, there was loads of memorabilia, rustic artefacts, a shearing shed with fleeces, farm activities and animals (including two ever so cute blue cattle dog pups which I admit I am a sucker for) glorious gardens and an ancient Ooline forest dating more than 1.6 million years. Thanks Madonna, Lyle and Grant - I hope to one day come back again soon.
For more info on Bonus Downs visit www.bonusdowns.webls.net
Images: Top to Bottom
One of those cute pups, Cattle during cattle work in the yards, A bunch of keys done with unlocking, Grant breaks in a horse