Updated: Dec 18, 2021
"Everyone in town knows this house, a landmark location, passionately renovated with multiple usage options." - Listing Mar 2013
"One of Clare's finest homes, this Federation stone building presents in excellent order on a large 1737sqm block. Locally known as the Stationmasters House, this imposing main home features outstanding room proportions."
This house at 4 New Road Clare, high up at the end of Lennon Street, Clare, was built around 1913 for a Spalding farmer, Louis Robinson.
During the building of the railway, Louis frequently complained to the SAR Commissioner of Railways about the blasting being done to create the railway cutting above the house.
As a result, the South Australian Railways purchased the house and adjacent land in January 1916.
It was subsequently used to house the Clare Station Master until the railway line was closed in 1983, when it was then purchased by the last Station Master in Clare, Steve McInerney.
Now known as the Station Master's House at 4 New Rd Clare, this Federation-style house is situated adjacent to the Clare head of the (now) Riesling Trail.
"This renovated spacious home boasts three large bedrooms and elegant furnishings throughout, and is set among peaceful gardens with great views over the town."
As a B&B this house won many awards:
Winner: Jim Barry Regional Tourism Award 2007 and Gold Award 2008.
2007 South Australian Tourism Awards Silver Medal Winner – Deluxe Accommodation.
Winner: 2008 South Australian Tourism Awards – Deluxe Accommodation.
Steve's daughter is million-copy selling author Monica McInerney (pictured above), who wrote a story about the house in 2014 (for the Independent, Australia; Evening Herald, Ireland and The People’s Friend, UK).
ABC Radio - the many Monica McInerney interviews, which have made this house so famous.
Best-selling author Monica McInerney remembers growing up as part of a large happy family in a station master’s house in Clare, Australia:-
"We seven McInerneys were always railway children, our father the railway stationmaster in the Clare Valley of South Australia for thirty-five years.
Our house was two hundred metres from the station. We looked out the side window at the shining railway line cutting through the chalky soil and gum-tree covered hills.
From the garden you could look across to the platform and the station building. Dad used to drive to work. It took him about twelve seconds."
"The house was made of sandstone, set on a hill, with a verandah running all around it, covered in ivy on one side and shielded by some other orange-flowered bush on the other."
"There was a red corrugated iron roof and two rain tanks.
It wasn’t so much a house as an adventure playground."
"All seven of us spent much of our childhood on the roof.
To get up there, we climbed on a bucket, then on to a verandah railing, then gripped the gutter, swung three times to gain enough momentum to land with a thump on top of the raintank.
It was just a step onto the roof from there."
"We played chasey up there, tearing round and round the four sides of the verandah roof, thrilling to the groans and creaks of the sheets of iron under our flying feet."
"We sat in a row high on the top of the roof, perched like birds, waiting for motorbikes or pushbikes.
When one came we would leap up and start waving our arms hysterically. The cyclist usually stopped."
‘Your wheels are turning round,’ we’d shout down, nearly splitting our sides laughing.
In the early 2000's it was converted into a B&B and named The Stationmasters House and this name has stuck.
It was during this time that the layout of the garden was dramatically changed by the then owners, Chris and Christine Jones.
Then were planted the majority of the standard roses (Bonica and Burgundy Icebergs), the climbing roses (Pierre De-Ronsard), the Weeping Cherry and Mulberry trees, the Crepe Myrtles and Moptops.
The bottom of the garden was planted out with pink ground cover roses.
In April 2013 Di and Geoff Hood purchased the property as their future retirement home.
One of the first things they did was to build a new path down into the front garden.
The central path was pretty steep and the last three steps made great obstacles when trying to get a wheelbarrow up it. Consequently, the new gently sloping, barrow friendly path was created.
"We removed 120 pink ground roses and stones were used to create pathways. Drystone walls were extended and formed to highlight the terrace layout and act as borders for new garden beds."
"Agapanthus have been thinned out, along the road fence, to allow for planting of bulbs, screening trees removed from the front of the house and replaced with camelias and hydrangeas.
A Hellebore garden has also been created under the old Cherry Plumb Tree. These are just some of the areas of new plantings that we have done."
"Rainwater tanks have been installed in as many places as possible to supplement watering.
The back garden has been completely transformed into a small orchard and vegetable patch plus a few more roses.
(Di reckons you can never have enough roses)
Pergolas have been built on both sides of the extension and planted with Glory Vine and Wisteria to provide much needed shade during the summer."
"Gardens are always a work in progress. Ours is no different."
"It will continue to change and evolve over the years to come. The aim of ours is to have pockets of colour created by flowers or foliage throughout the year for our enjoyment.
We are learning that our garden provides enjoyment for locals and visitors alike which is a bonus."
- Di & Geoff Hood
- Open Gardens South Australia at the The Station Master's House Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th November, 2021.
The Real-Life Railway Children - Monica McInerany
Tour SA - The Stationmaster’s Residence
ABC Radio - Monica McInerney interviews.