I have built a few garden rock walls in my time. Not many of them are still in­tact though, thanks to small boys who liked walk­ing on them and

Country Style - - A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR -

lit­tle Jack Rus­sell ter­ri­ers who loved noth­ing more than dis­lodg­ing key stones in the pur­suit of the lizards who lived in them. I’m sure they would not be crum­bling to­day if I had done a course with Josh Bowes. This sculp­tor and stone­ma­son from Dayles­ford in Cen­tral Vic­to­ria has mas­tered the art of dry-stone walling as you can see on page 16. A Coun­try Style garden is­sue just wouldn’t be the same with­out the pho­tog­ra­phy of Claire Takacs. I al­ways look for­ward to her glo­ri­ous im­ages and I’m never dis­ap­pointed — you won’t be ei­ther when you turn to page 62 to see the gar­dens she has in­cluded in her first book, Dream­scapes. An­other land­scape in this is­sue that will take your breath away is in di­rect con­trast to the gar­dens cap­tured by Claire’s cam­era. Um­bearra Sta­tion, An­gus and Kim­ber­ley Mckay’s cat­tle prop­erty south of Alice Springs, is 3600-square kilo­me­tres of open plains with gum wa­ter­courses, mulga and gran­ite hills. When Coun­try Style vis­ited, there were drifts of wild­flow­ers amid the na­tive pas­ture. “I didn’t re­ally ex­pect to still be here 10 years on, but once I lived here for a while, I found it was too beau­ti­ful to leave,” says Kim­ber­ley, who moved to Um­bearra when she was just 19. The iso­la­tion took some get­ting used to, but Kim­ber­ley had sup­port­ive neigh­bours and to­day says she’s lucky to run a busi­ness and raise a fam­ily in cen­tral Aus­tralia. Su­san and Matthew Playsted also be­lieve they are for­tu­nate to be able to give their four boys the ex­pe­ri­ence of grow­ing up on a farm. Al­though she dreamed of a prop­erty with an old Queens­lan­der, Su­san ended up with a “very ugly duck­ling” near Chin­chilla, on Queens­land’s Western Downs, but has trans­formed it into the beau­ti­ful home on page 34. “You don’t buy a farm for a house and, in the end, we made this house our own,” says Su­san. “This has been the best thing for our boys. We’ve hit the jack­pot re­ally.” En­joy the is­sue Vic­to­ria Carey

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