The historical Melrose Station, set in the picturesque foothills of the main range that forms the Great Divide outside Killarney, is home to Colleen and Peter Lindores.
Its long history dates back to 1865 when Melrose Station was selected by Theophilus Howell, who owned the property until 1928.
Prior to Mr Howell taking over the property it was a part of South Canning Downs, and known as Killarney Farm.
The magnificent homestead was built by Mr Howell in 1880 using hoop pine and cedar timber grown and milled on the property.
Peter and Colleen bought Melrose Station in 2002 and have added neighbouring country to restore the property it back to its original size of 2430 hectares.
The alluvial river flats running to scrub country enjoys a 12 kilometre frontage to Condamine River where the couple contract breed quality Ultrablack bulls for the specialised Northern Territory and Western Australian bull markets.
As custodians of Melrose Station, Colleen and Peter have made many improvements over their 16 years and the home now sits in a beautiful extended manicured garden of more than two hectares.
The massive pecan tree garden centrepiece was planted 150 years ago.
The sweeping lawns include both couch and kikuyu grasses, deciduous shrubs and many rose gardens.
The Lindores have made certain that Melrose Station has maintained its grandeur, and have added a massive outdoor living area off the kitchen to accommodate family and friends.
“It is a big house with six bedrooms, but the rooms were built much smaller back then to retain the heating for winter,” Colleen said.
The couple has added a cellar built with sandstone blocks by Englishman Cliff Mason and Toowoomba stonemason Dan Gill, while a carpenter built the ironbark doors.
Included is a detailed sandstone archway to the entrance of the cellar which reflects Lindores Abbey in Scotland, where Peter’s ancestors originated.
Melrose opens gardens to charities and functions
Colleen and Peter Lindores generously open the Melrose Station gardens to many charities and other functions.
Two major fundraisers on the drawcard includes the Southern Downs Harvest Lunch that attracts some 250 guests.
The lunch promotes local produce and allows the guests to enjoy the food and wine produced in the region, while the money raised is given to a local charity.
Another successful event is the Killarney Picnic Basket Day, which raises money for the charity LIVIN, which is a not-for-profit charity raising awareness of mental illness and suicide prevention.
Guests are given the opportunity to mingle in the magnificent gardens that include two memorial rose gardens created by Colleen.
“We planted the memorial rose garden five years ago,” Colleen said.
“It started when we were given a beautiful rose bush in memory of Peter’s dad, the late Bill Lindores who lived at St George.
Since then about 30 rose bushes have been added, many in memory of various family members and friends.
Colleen said she selected the variety of rose to match the personality of the person in memory it was planted.
“We selected the Slim Dusty variety in memory of Peter’s dad,” she said.
“We planted a deep dark red rose in memory for my dad, the late Ron O’Toole from Cunnamulla.
A second memorial rose garden was established to honour blind people.
“We have a nephew, Bryce Lindores, who was blinded in an accident when he was 18, and we dedicated a garden where the blind people can enjoy and smell the roses,” she said.
To walk through the blind garden visitors enter through an avenue of trees and shrubs and a sandstone waterfall leading to standard brilliant pink rose bushes.
The Lindores have added a massive indoor outdoor entertainment area to cater for such events in their garden and it situated near the original cottage which has been renovated and restored.
The resident blacksmith, Paul Lawson, has been working at Melrose for the past nine years.
Paul works on pieces of art using many of the off cuts from farm equipment they are donated by the Lindores for charity fundraisers.
His beautifully crafted Condamine bells can take up to 20 hours to make and have raised as much as $22,000 at a charity auctions.
Melrose has water security
After Colleen and Peter Lindores moved to Melrose Station, they realised water was in short supply.
“We have two dams and they both went dry,” Peter said.
“We increased the dams to the maximum length we were allowed under the state government Hydro Water Plan.
“With the help of my brother John, we used bulldozers and scrapers to desilt both dams and lengthen the capacity to hold 130Ml of water.
The water that fills these dams is catchment run-off from the nearby Mt Leslie spur of the Great Dividing Range.
“We probably need to receive a fall of 50mm to get the run-off to fill them,” he said.
The dams provide much needed stock water for livestock, and is also used to water the magnificent gardens.
“We now have plenty of water but like everyone would like more rain.”