Following are excerpts from some articles about North Bundaleer that have been featured in a number of local, national and international publications.
2010, Wizards of Oz (Marion Hume & Ralph Bestic)
North Bundaleer, a homestead built for a rich pastoralist in Jamestown in 1901, was a wreck when Marianne and Malcolm Booth were mad enough to buy and restore it, so that you can enjoy a G&T with them out on the verandah. Ask for the Red Room, with its canopied four-poster and a sweet bathroom in the restored conservatory, where roos peek at you as you’re taking a shower.
November 2009, Australia and New Zealand in Style (Juliet Kinsman, Mr & Mrs Smith)
High Victorian homestead shrouded in wineries and wilderness. From the hill that crowns its 400-acre grounds, North Bundaleer’s sandstone chimneys peek through the blue gum trees. The house, built in 1901, is one of the grandest in the district, and has shades of wild folly about it. Evoking English country-house Victoriana on the fringes of the Outback is no mean feat, and its testament to the owners’ imagination that North Bundaleer has the power to transport you into a Jane Austen-inspired scene – until, that is, a family of kangaroos bounds past and bursts the bubble.
The Australian Financial Review
March 2008, Bundaleer Regains its Former Glory and Culinary Edge (Marguerite Winter)
North Bundaleer was the last hurrah of the golden age of the great pastoral homesteads in South Australia. It took the new owners three years of dedicated work in association with heritage authorities, and the attention to historic detail in the house is evident at every turn, from period wallpapers to the magnificently restored arts & crafts Dado Rail in central ballroom. Made from gold-leaf embossed Lincrusta, a 19th English paper designed to simulate pressed leather (but which can actually look like pressed metal), it features a gorgeous band of horn-blowing cherubs chasing dolphins and a fish-tailed Pegasus around the walls of this finely proportioned space.
A typical dinner consisted of figs wrapped in prosciutto with gorgonzola dolce and truffled honey, grilled duck breasts with a lemon and saffron-scented pilaf with mitzuma and fried shallots, followed by a lemon soufflé with limoncello liqueur.
Not the least of this property’s charms are its grounds. Beyond the formal walled gardens at the front of the house which retains the original circular drive, the property’s 400 acres include historic buildings, among them a fine example of a dressed-stone woolshed, and gentle rises that lead to great vistas of the surrounding countryside.
Travel + Leisure
October 2007, Home on the Ranges (photos George Fetting)
We join the Booths for an excellent dinner prepared by Leo Hollingshead, an Adelaide chef and Marianne’s son. There are six of us around the Irish Georgian-era dining table, one-third of its seating capacity. With flowers abundant above the room’s original English oak fireplace, and Marianne’s traditional table settings, we could well be dining at North Bundaleer in the early 1900s. Leo’s menu draws from that era, but with a modern Australian edge. We start with a duck confit with wild rice and baby spinach, followed by Clare Valley beef fillet with suet pudding, sauce bordelaise and white asparagus, all with Clare Valley wines. Then comes a delicious rhubarb pudding with mille-feuille.
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The Sunday Telegraph (UK)
January 28, 2004
Formal evening meals hosted by the owners are one of the great delights of a stay here.
As a special treat Marianne will prepare a moveable feast to be enjoyed alfresco on a hill overlooking the property – the ultimate Outback culinary experience.
For those who would like a deeper appreciation of the local wine scene, the property offers guided tours to the Clare Valley, or (will) make the necessary arrangements for guests who would prefer to drive themselves – including lunch bookings, a suggested itinerary and introductions to prominent Clare Valley winemakers.
February 6 2004
…superlative accommodation that belies the secluded position on 162ha of olive groves and grasslands.
Though all the suites are grand, the pick is the Red Room. It features a canopy bed, a private sitting room and drop-dead-gorgeous contemporary bathroom.
North Bundaleer is only 40 minutes to the wineries of the Clare Valley. But why bother? With Marianne’s cooking skills and Malcolm’s incredible wine collection, there is no excuse for going out.
Fine china, silverware and glassware show off Marianne’s French and Italian inspired four course dinners… A truly memorable dinner in a memorable spot.
The Weekend Australian
Life at North Bundaleer is very relaxed. There’s an open bar or a cuppa with home-baked cakes and biscuits always at hand; the handsome library is crammed with the latest magazines and journals from London. Outside, there are sheep and cows, kangaroos and vivid rosellas; it’s so quiet the wing-beat of a magpie threatens to disturb the dusk reverie.
Marianne is rustling up dinner – a neighbour has dropped by with some freshly caught blue swimmer crabs, so that’s starters sorted; the best bread-and-butter pudding I’m even likely to taste is in the AGA.
Australian Financial Review
March 2004, The Flinty Flinders (Robert Milliken)
North Bundaleer, a once-gracious 1901 house near Jamestown, was yet another abandoned wreck when Marianne and Malcolm Booth found it a few years ago. Fresh from restoring an old inner-Sydney house, and ready to leave the city’s business world behind, the Booths were searching, as Marianne put it, ‘for something to do with the rest of our lives.” They turned it into what must be counted among Australia’s grandest homestead accommodation.
The dining room and ballroom’s Lincrusta and Anaglypta wallpapers are now back to their original striking designs. The four spacious bedrooms and their ensuites are furnished with English, Irish and Asian antiques. The bathroom attached to the red Room is built into the old conservatory and gives you a180-degree view of the house and gardens while under the shower.
March 2004, Continental Style
Bundaleer’s menu showcases the finest South Australian cuisine, including organic beef, Kangaroo Island free-range chook, local peasant and guinea fowl, saltbush lamb from Burra and pork from the backyard (so don’t get too attached to the farm animals here). Guests are encouraged to eat their meals al fresco when weather permits. Winery tours, fishing and bushwalking are among the local diversions.
The Mail on Sunday
February 2004, I’m a celebrity… Get me back to Oz (Sian Lloyd)
We stopped at the beautiful heritage-listed 400-acre North Bundaleer Homestead, 150 miles north of Adelaide. Owners Marianne and Malcolm Booth were terrific hosts and their home-made samousas and local beef were out of this world, as was breakfast, including fresh mango, local bacon and eggs, homemade curd and wonderful coffee. Australian Financial Review, January 2004, Time for a Quality Weekend (Susan Owens)
Stay at North Bundaleer, a sprawling homestead set in 160 hectares. The food is first-rate.
May 2004, Paul Lloyd
“The Booths … wear their cultured backgrounds lightly and are good listeners… they are well travelled and are ‘sticking to doing for other people what we would want for ourselves’.”
Hooves & Horns
June 2004, Grandeur Preserved (Don Fuchs)
North Bundaleer Homestead in South Australia’s Mid-North is an example of classic style and modern ingenuity coming together to preserve a gem. There are hints of quirkiness around the homestead. Every room is decorated differently and it becomes quite obvious that Marianne and Malcolm didn’t bother so much about style, but what fits together. “The philosophy of the house was that we wanted it to look as if it was the aggregation of two or three generations, which means the furniture has to be from different periods and a slight mix of style.
The African Room is Marianne’s legacy to her years in Nigeria and Ethiopia in the late 1960’s and early 1970s. It has a contemporary feel and is dominated by the modern king-size bed with its chocolate brown faux deerskin bedspread. Marianne points to the two bronze Nigerian heads, created in 1968 by African artist Felix Eboigbe. Ornate Ethiopian silver jewellery is also displayed and seagrass matting with faux zebra skin edging continue the African theme.
The William Morris Room, “inspired by the arts and crafts movement” features an antique brass bed. In the morning, sunshine touches the muslin on either side of the bed, giving it a warm glow.
The Blue Room with its four-poster bed and smoke-blue walls also features a large ensuite bathroom dominated by a bathtub in front of the fireplace.
The Red Room with an adjacent Chinese sitting room is the most popular. The four-poster bed was especially built for Marianne by a furniture maker in Ballarat, Victoria.
The red walls give it an intimate feel. The bathroom is contemporary, flooded with light and built in the original conservatory.
There are English Georgian antiques, Victorian pieces, Edwardian furniture and some Asian antiques scattered throughout the homestead. It is this bold mix of styles, the disregard of rules, the quirkiness and the hidden details, that together ensure North Bundaleer looks stunning but doesn’t fit clichés.
February 2004, You Can’t Beat a Tasty Retreat (Jennifer Lamanttina)
Dinners here are a show produced nightly in the magnificent formal dining room. Fine china, silverware and glassware show off Marianne’s French and Italian-inspired four-course dinners. Goat’s cheese crostini may be followed by duck confit, Puy lentils and caramelised calvados apples, with dessert returning to Italy via zabaglione and strawberries. A truly memorable dinner in a memorable spot.
Beautiful B&Bs and Small Hotels: Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania
…One of the most beautiful new properties we have seen … North Bundaleer’s restoration has been painstaking, but the result is superlative accommodation of a standard that belies the homestead’s secluded position on 400 acres of olive groves and grassland. Bedrooms based on subtle themes … rich fabrics, polished Baltic pine floors and exquisite period furniture combine to create a relaxed, yet luxurious ambience.
The Greenwood Guide to Australia
… an ornate ballroom… the sitting room a stately synthesis of Corinthian columns, intricate rugs and crystal chandeliers… breathtaking bedrooms… it could all be a little overwhelming if it wasn’t for Marianne and Malcolm’s down-to-earth style. They encourage you to use the house as your own.
October 2003, Good Weekend
Although the trappings are impressive, the atmosphere is relaxed (snoozing cats by the kitchen stove). When we visited, guests fortunate enough to arrive in the afternoon were privy to an impromptu recital as a pianist and tenor made use of the ballroom’s grand piano and good acoustics to rehearse for a performance in nearby Jamestown.
Delicious meals cooked by Marianne are generally served in the communal dining room. However, for those who like to dine a deux or are escaping from the need to socialise, alternative arrangements can be made.
September 2003, On a Clare Day…
Although only recently restored, with four fabulously furnished units, the century-old pastoralist’s mansion is already established as one of the finest country houses in Australia.
You can see it either as the finishing point of a Clare tour, or a staging post on the way to the Flinders Ranges. Marianne and Malcolm Booth, former management consultants from Sydney, have put everything into the arduous and costly renovation of the grand but abandoned and derelict building. An added treat is that Marianne keeps possibly the finest table in the region.
2003, A Restoration Piece (Christine McCabe)
Situated in the lee of a blue gum-studded hill, approached by a gravel drive and bordered by ancient Kurrajongs and pines, the homestead appears like a mirage behind grand crumbling stone gates and a forest of sweetly scented David Austin roses. “We thought her a Sleeping Beauty, a beautiful ruin,” says Bundaleer’s chatelaine Marianne Booth, recalling her first glimpse of the house. Neglected for almost a century, and totally abandoned for 25 years, North Bundaleer was crumbling to dust hidden from the world, its long driveway completely overgrown. Almost four years of intensive restoration and rebuilding by Marianne and husband Malcolm has resulted in one of Australia’s most elegant country house hotels.
“This is why we left Sydney,” Marianne says, ‘to revel in the simple things.” Like sipping champagne on the hill behind the house with only mobs of kangaroos for company, or exploring the nearby Bundaleer Forest, or dozing on the verandah.
March 2003, International Dining On a Clare Day (Ned Goodwin)
The Clare also boasts what is surely one of the world’s most tasteful and salubriously appointed bed and breakfasts at North Bundaleer, the grand homestead of a former sheep station spanning 200,000 acres. North Bundaleer is one of those glorious architectural dichotomies spawned by the heady ideals of colonialism. The red roof of this grand home gallivants across a jet-blue sky filled with cockatoos, galahs and other exotic birds; like a duchess happy to have lost her way in such a glorious place. Articulate wainscoting of classical imagery in haut-relief flows around the corridors as kangaroos bounce about outside. The sitting room is that of a grand manor, yet the incandescent heat shimmers against the glass.
Marianne, a transported bon vivant from the UK, New York and Africa and a former habitué of Studio 54, can also cook. The night we arrived, she scored Coffin Bay oysters from the coast and wild duckling from the region, which we washed down with good local wine provided as part of the package. But my best memory was drinking champagne on a rise behind the property with Marianne and Malcolm, watching the sun go down and slinging ourselves into a vast tasting if Rieslings with Thai prawn salad. A cacophony of bird and insect songs filled me with belief that there is so much beauty away from the concrete and Yoshinoya beef bowls.
RM Williams Outback Magazine
February 2003, Anne-Marie Smart
… the Booths hope to give guests a feeling of total relaxation. “Part of the philosophy behind this place is to slow down and enjoy the fresh air, good company and good food and wine, away from the stresses of modern living but with creature comforts and a lot of luxury. It is a place where people can come to be discretely spoiled”.
Metropolis (Tokyo, Japan)
March 7, 2003, Ned Goodwin
…like a duchess happy to have lost her way in such a gorgeous place… yet modern additions here and there straight out of Vogue Living.
Malcolm has amassed a considerable cellar that may be perused, negotiated, purchased or just waxed over.
Marianne, a transplanted bon vivant from the UK, New York and Africa, can also cook. The night we arrived, she had scored Coffin Bay oysters from the coast … washed down with good local wine provided as part of the package.
The Age Magazine
Although the trappings are impressive, the atmosphere is relaxed. For those who like to dine á deux or are escaping from the need to socialise, alternative arrangements can be made. …stretch out on the veranda with a book from the well-stocked library, take an invigorating country walk and listen to the unaccustomed silence.
Conde Nast Traveller
November 2002, Resident Bush (Mark Chipperfield)
Australian sheep barons enjoyed building great country houses that would outshine those in England. Few of these 18th-century houses, built during a time of rural optimism and cheap labour, survived. However, four years ago, Malcolm and Marianne Booth discovered a sprawling architectural gem abandoned in the wilds of South Australia.
Salvaged from the rain and the possums, North Bundaleer – a grand Edwardian estate three hours’ drive from Adelaide – is now being opened as Australia’s most exclusive country-house hotel. The property offers guests the chance to nibbl4e the lifestyle on which the country’s nouveau gentry once gorged.
North Bundaleer, completed in 1901, has been converted into four luxurious suites: Red, Blue, William Morris and African. Guests have the run of the ballroom, drawing room, library and dining room, which has a Georgian dining tale that seats 18. The Butler’s Pantry is stocked with complimentary tea, coffee, handmade biscuits, beer and wine. .We want people to feel that they are invited guests’, says Marianne. Set in 400 acres of grazing land, North Bundaleer is an idyllic introduction to the Australian bush, with none of the usual privations.
Australian Gourmet Traveller
Retreat in Time (Tricia Welsh, photos Adam Bruzzone)
Marianne prepare hearty breakfasts and dinner for guests using fresh local produce, including ocean trout and oysters from Cowell and Port Pirie, honey, olives and olive oil from Bundaleer and Beetaloo, Maleer organic beef, Bundaleer lamb and venison from a deer farm near Bundaleer Forest.
The Weekend Australian
Article titled “Elegance Restored”
“Life at North Bundaleer is very relaxed. There’s an open bar or a cuppa with home-baked cakes & biscuits always at hand; the handsome library is crammed with the latest magazines and journals from London.”
COMMENTS FROM OUR GUESTBOOK
The Booths … wear their cultured backgrounds lightly and are good listeners… they are well travelled and are ‘sticking to doing for other people what we would want for ourselves.
Paul Lloyd – The Advertiser