Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Kimberley callingMallee oasis

The O’Sullivan family’s pragmatic response to the loss of their cattle station has been a great gain for travellers.

Story and photos John Denman

Brian O’Sullivan hooks an arm over the top rail of the yard and looks fondly at the small mob of horses he’s just run in. “Pine Plains had always been known for the quality of the horses it produced,” he says. “We used to have race meetings out there all the time.” He inclines his head over to some open country to the east. “Not any more though, it’s all different now.” Originally 100,000 acres, Pine Plains Station has been owned and run for much of its lifespan by the O’Sullivan family. Three generations had worked it until 1996, when Parks Victoria resumed all but the 300 acres of freehold that now sits surrounded on all sides by Wyperfeld National Park.

Kimberley callingBrian’s brother, and partner in the station, Tim, had seen the change coming like a mallee dust storm on the horizon. He threw himself into what he believed was the only option for the family after its livelihood was lost to the park. Unfortunately, he died before his vision of a tourist destination came to pass, leaving behind his wife, Susan, and their nine children.
Pine Plains Lodge was completed some time after Tim’s death by Susan’s new husband Adrian Meehan. Adrian believes in the tourism potential of Pine Plains and has followed Tim’s lead by developing it. The lodge is built from cypress pine, a standard building material in the mallee country, due largely to its resistance to white ants. The building is of drop log construction, a style adopted by Tim for its similarity with the pioneering architecture of the region. But that is where the parallel ends.Story end

Full story OUTBACK Issue 36 Aug/Sept 2004

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