Carving out life an idyllic
SEEMINGLY at the end of the world on the edge of Bass Strait, the beautiful and rugged Mt Strzelecki is perfectly framed by the window of Sally Walker and Paul Brophy’s living room.
Bluff Farm is located just outside the main Flinders Island township of Whitemark and has been sixth- generation- islander Sally’s home since 1987.
Like many Flinders homes, the exterior is unassuming while the inside contains hidden treasures.
The house has been extended as many as four times in its history.
“We think it was built in 1918 because the story goes that the builders were constructing it and they could see Whitemark from here and a white fl ag went up at the end of the First World War,” Sally said.
“They all knocked off and went and partied.”
The original section of the home features polished Baltic pine fl oorboards in the central kitchen and living area.
The master bedroom, with its stunning view, and the bathroom, which features a claw foot bath, appear to have been added on later, perhaps separately from the other two brick bedrooms off the living room.
In 2007, Sally and Paul added their contribution in the form of a double- height dining area which has the distinct feel of an art gallery.
The cathedral ceiling brings light into the space and the timber beams were salvaged from Sally’s father’s plane hanger which was destroyed in a particularly bad Flinders wind.
The desire to show and explain to new people their piece of island paradise is something common to many of the locals.
“People are curious because they think that we probably don’t have power or a telephone,” Sally laughed.
“I think it’s hard for other people to understand what it’s like to actually live here.
“Things that rule your life are like when the boat arrives and you know that you’re going to be fed again.
“The weather has a big impact on your day- to- day doings.”
Both inside the home and around the grounds, artist Paul has scattered some of his
It’s still the same in that it’s very safe, you can still find a beach with nobody on it easily and we still haven’t
got the crowds
pieces, many of which are made from the everpresent driftwood and tea tree.
The separate studio is where he can often been found working away.
Island life presents its own unique challenges when it comes to selling his works, he says.
“I’ve got a pile of wood I work my way through and I make my own clay,” Paul said.
“I’ve got a couple of sculptures I’ve recently put into Gallery Pejean in Launceston.
“But I’m making small works that are easy to get over there. I’ve sent a few pieces over on the barge the food comes on.
“You just have to cross your fingers and hope that everything arrives all right.”
The couple travel back to Launceston and sometimes Melbourne about two or three times a year.
While some things have changed, overall Flinders remains very much the same as she can always remember, Sally says. “It’s still the same in that it’s very safe, you can still find a beach with nobody on it easily and we still haven’t got the crowds,” she said. “We’re still small enough to know everybody.” Paul adds: “It’s quite exclusive. “There are a lot of different people from all over the world who’ve got places here.
“We get immigrants of all descriptions. They say that islands have an eccentricity to them and that attracts all sorts of people.
“Living in this house is just like you’re on a boat sometimes – you just have to get through the storm.”
HOME SWEET HOME: Clockwise from top, the double- height dining area which has the distinct feel of an art gallery at Sally Walker and Paul Brophy’s Bluff Farm; a dining table made by Paul; the house from the exterior; Limbs and driftwood Paul uses for his work; hundreds of books line the bookcases in the living room.
CREATIVE TOUCH: Left, Paul sits among the wood he uses for his artwork in his studio; above, a chair which Paul built; right, one of Paul’s sculptures; the sign at the entry to Bluff Farm, on Flinders Island.