The property, “Dunlop”, is the 881-hectare (2177 acres) homestead block of the former eponymous station which, in its heyday a century ago, sprawled over nearly 400,000 hectares (one million acres).
Today, the Darling River station is owned by the Chandler family, who are working to preserve and restore the property to its original state.
The original 1880s sandstone homestead, which is structurally sound and still in use, has interior walls of plaster, carpeted and polished timber floors, and high, pressed-metal ceilings.
A wide entrance foyer leads off the front verandah to the formal lounge and dining rooms and six bedrooms, most with open fires (some with cedar surrounds), while a rear section houses the kitchen, bathroom and staff quarters.
The original 45-stand woolshed – scene of the first full-scale machine shearing of 184,000 sheep in 1888 – was last used for a station shearing in 1993 and stands today as a rich historical relic of the boom years of pastoralism.
Other original buildings still standing, and in various states of repair, including the station store (built of sandstone and still with its original counters and shelving), shearers’ quarters, schoolhouse, worker’s hut, meat house and feed shed.
Article by Peter Austin 6 Jun 2011, for Farm Online National