Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Exotic influences

Story Anne-Marie Smart
Photos Nigel Parsons

Exotic influencesThe home-welded signpost at the entrance to Saffron Downs near Burra, South Australia suggests that the property is simplistic but charming, and signifies the beginning of an interesting and different home-stay and dinner banquet venue.

Alistair Sawers and Pauline McPharlin bought the 6000-acre property in 1994 and immediately plunged into running sheep and restoring the run-down 130 year-old stone homestead.

"The house was just a shell when we first came here, kangaroos lived in one of the bedrooms and there were no amenities," says Pauline.

The property's previous owners had intended to bulldoze the house to tidy it up for sale, but the bulldozer fortuitously broke down on the day it was due to be reduced to rubble, giving the historic house a second lease of life.

Exotic influencesThe homestead is now an impressive piece of architecture, combining the old with the new in a typically Australian style.

Saffron, which throughout history has been related with prosperity, good luck and all the good things in life, is an appropriate title for this property, and the experience at Saffron Downs can be summarised as exciting food eaten in an interesting environment.

Having recently returned from Yemen, Pauline is excited about applying the experiences gained there to her cooking.

This is how she likes to cook - focusing on a specific style of cuisine, she treats guests to an indulgent experience in the culture and tastes of the region. Story end

Full story: Issue 21, February / March 02

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