Carv­ing out life an idyl­lic

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - Jes­sica Howard

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.

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