An off-grid stay in Bathurst at the Farmers Hut

Farmers Hut - Sheep and a view
Farmers Hut - Sheep and a view

In the heart of Bathurst, NSW, the Farmers Hut has been built to comfortably meld with its surroundings in the middle of the working sheep farm, Wilga Station.

When the need to experience the country strikes, few destinations can beat Wilga Station in Bathurst, NSW (Wiradjuri country). Fully off the grid, the Farmers Hut, designed by owners Hamish and Mez Keith, is perfectly attuned to its environment, with everything you need and nothing else. Effectively a wedge-shaped building containing an open bedroom with a bathroom and kitchen tucked out of sight, the materiality is simplified luxury with polished concrete floors, a large sheepskin rug, and a vast and comfortable bed in tones of sage and mushroom. Jutting out from the room is a large day bed window seat with glazing to three sides that places the view fully within the room. A discrete stack of rocks eliminates a distant neighbour.

The building itself is well-suited to the environment with a curved roof bedded down with 40 tonnes of earth and a layer of rich green turf. Corten steel breaks the line between turf and timber cladding, while neatly stacked timber fills the side void. Both the timber and steel are aging to soft shades that sit well among the small copse of elm trees and antique sheep race that form the entrance.

However, it is the location that makes this stay extraordinary — perched on top of a small hill in the middle of a working sheep farm. The Hut is deliberately high to take in the entire southern view and allow the passive design of earth, heft, and glazing to maintain a comfortable temperature range of 16–24 degrees Celsius. The Central West can be exceedingly hot and, in placing the face away from the sun, the room is usable all year. During winter, an indoor fireplace and outdoor firepit are available, but really more for fun than any need for additional warmth.

So, back to this being the best place for a hut. Picture this. Sitting in the daybed reading, you glance up, and there, playing on the rocks, are about 15 lambs. The more sensible mothers are grazing within feet of the window, but the lambs are gambolling and cavorting, jumping from rock to rock, while bleating a gentle racket. Needless to say, the book is abandoned and the rest of the afternoon is spent watching lambs play as more and more come to join the flock. And then the sun sets, and this is truly spectacular, with great shafts of light spilling gold across the entire vista. Absolute bliss.

Photography credit: Monique Lovick

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