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Nine great regional houses

Nine great regional houses
Bass Coast Farmhouse. Photography Trevor Mein.
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The best regional architecture is modest yet ambitious, deceptively simple yet full of ideas about living in harmony and beauty. Here Tim Ross shows us nine brilliant examples.


Bass Coast, Victoria 

While Melbourne architect John Wardle has made a name for his practice with large-scale buildings for universities and institutions, it’s his beautifully crafted regional homes that have tugged at our heart strings. On Tasmania’s Bruny Island, his reinvention of an 1830s weatherboard whaler’s cottage and its adjacent sibling, the striking timber-lined Shearers Quarters, has gained him a swag of awards and inter-national acclaim. 

The spirit of those buildings can be seen in his latest regional project, the drop-dead handsome Bass Coast Farmhouse on Victoria’s east coast. 

Entirely off-grid, this is Wardle’s take on that most romantic of Australian homes, the farmhouse. It’s detailed beyond belief for its surf-loving owners, with moments of well-thought-out wonder wherever your eyes are drawn. Internally clad in timber, it has neat special effects such as screens and shutters that open with hand-cranked wheels, slowly revealing the connection to landscape. Somewhat curiously, given its extraordinary setting on windswept coastal heath and farmland, the house is anchored by an internal courtyard that becomes an extra focus of the house. Perhaps Wardle wants to remind us of the power of architecture to inspire as well as to relax.


Mudgee, New South Wales

What’s not to love about Mudgee? This central New South Wales town has pulled itself up by the boot-straps to reinvent itself as a food-and-wine hotspot for travellers. And for a place to stay, it’s hard to go past Gawthorne’s Hut.  

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