2003, Wall to Wall Television, in England, began a search for a location
for a living history programme called “Squatter House”. After a name
change, the programme was presented on Australian Television in
June/July 2005 as “Outback House”.
History of the Property
first Europeans known to have seen this land were the explorers, John
Oxley and Allan Cunningham who on the 15th of August 1817 camped at
Mary’s Valley, now known as Paddys Creek. This campsite is approximately
2.5 km north west of "Oxley Downs".
John Oxley wrote in his journal - "The tops of the hills were generally stony (granite of
different degrees and qualities), but the broom-grass grew strongly and
abundantly in the interstices. We never descended a valley without
finding it well watered, and although the soil and character of the
country rendered it fit for all agricultural purposes……”.
1837 Arthur and Isabella Baird came to Australia with their young son
Thomas and after a short time in Bathurst, moved further west to near Dubbo. While in Bathurst their daughter, Kennedy, was born and after
reaching the Dubbo area, their youngest son David was born. In 1846 they
secured 200 acres of land as freehold and started to build their holdings around this. Eventually they secured over 26,000 acres
of land and by 1857 the main homestead, which survives today, was
"The Springs" Homestead
was first considered to use the "The Springs" homestead for filming but
was realized that it would be cheaper to rebuild the set than to alter
existing buildings and then have to restore them after filming.
“Oxley Downs” was built in 14 weeks from July 2004 to 11th
October when filming started on the television series Outback House. The
participants were 21st century people selected to live in the
style of 1861 for a period of 3 months. These participants had to run an
1861 station during the period of lambing, sheep washing and shearing.
In 1861 the Robinson Land Act came into effect where the squatters were
to pay £1 per acre to secure a maximum of 320 acres. This also allowed
selectors the opportunity to claim land, especially around waterholes
and productive land.
Descendants of Arthur and Isabella Baird, the Tourle family, continue to
farm much of this original 26,000 acres and “Oxley Downs” has now become
part of its history. Kennedy, Tom and Sam Tourle are the sixth
generation and with their parents Scott and Liz, continue to farm this
The Tourle family is proud to have been involved in this production,
with the use of the land, the supply of the Pemcaw blood sheep and the
involvement with the builders, the production team and the participants.
The participants have built a strong bond with “Oxley Downs” and each
other. We hope that you also have the same appreciation for “Oxley
Downs” and 1861.
Scott and Liz Tourle
Phone - 02
Mobile - 0428 348
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org