When Kerrie and David moved from Brisbane to Tenterfield in 2004 seeking a less hectic life, they soon realised they had moved into a town with a unique history and many beautiful Colonial and Federation-style buildings.
In 1870, the population of Tenterfield was less than 900, but the town had five hotels and three churches. In the late 1800s, as the railway from Sydney was being completed, there was a boom in building as Tenterfield was now on the only rail link and all-weather road between Brisbane and Sydney. It was due to this that Sir Henry Parkes delivered his Federation Speech in the School of Arts in 1889. He was travelling from Brisbane to Sydney, via the new railway at the time. His speech is credited with reigniting the debate that ultimately led to Federation.
Many of the magnificent buildings from those heady days are still in use; from the Courthouse, Railway Station and Post Office to the Victorian style Stannum House and many others. Amongst all this history and beauty stood a red brick Federation-style house built in 1923 for Mr Jensen, the local jeweller. Sadly, its glory days were well behind it; holes had been punched in the ceilings to allow water from a leaky roof to escape; there was no usable kitchen and windows were nailed shut.
Of her first encounter with the house, Kerrie says, “I knew immediately I stepped inside it could be something special.”
While its original splendour had well and truly faded, David, a builder, established that the rundown house was very well built, and the couple purchased it in 2005. They made a decision that displayed both vision and courage. The first job was building a self-contained addition – an extension that became their home and from which, in 2006, they launched the restoration. One of the first tasks was to give the home its new name, Winton, which has personal significance for Kerrie.
Kerrie planned and sourced everything needed for both the extension and restoration. Her thoroughness, combined with David’s professional attention to detail, have resulted in a magnificent makeover. Walking in through the entrance hall with its gracious archway, one is struck by a delightful balance of sophistication and pure indulgence; fabulous fresco paintwork, polished timber floors and glossy pressed metal ceilings make it easy to see why Kerrie and David’s home was honoured with a Master Builders Association award for excellence in 2011.
While the house could be rescued there was nothing to do but start again with the garden and it is obvious that just as much thought and attention was given to this endeavour. Kerrie and David decided to share Winton with others and have opened their home as a luxurious B&B. As for the immediate future, Kerrie says, “David is currently restoring the Station Master’s House (circa 1860) while I continue to develop the garden and pamper our guests.”
Words by Christopher Desgrand | Images by Cory Rossiter