Experience authentic outback life from the homestead of this working sheep farm.
The countryside around Ramsay Retro Farmstay has a simple colour palette that perfectly matches the homestead’s theme. It is a 1970s-style triptych consisting of the burnt ochre of the soil, the muted gold of dry grass and the silvery green of small shrubs. The sky here is interrupted by only a few stunted trees on the far horizon and some light wispy clouds – if you look at them long enough you will notice that they bear the same frizzled crenellations as the wool shorn from a merino’s back.
Ramsey is a 10,000ha property located at Booroorban, 50km south of Hay on the Long Paddock touring route. It is home to thousands of sheep, a huge variety of native birds, frogs, and the four members of the Porter family. Joel Porter’s great-great-grandfather Hubert purchased the land in 1910, and it has been passed down the family ever since. Joel and his wife Fiona have two daughters, Mia and Laura, who are the only sixth generation residents living in Booroorban.
The guest accommodation at Ramsey is up in the ‘new’ homestead that was built in the 1970s after the old one burnt down. It is fully fenced so your kids will be able to play on the green lawn that surrounds the house in safety. Outside there is a barbecue and a patio from which to enjoy the view of the surrounding countryside.
Inside the house there are four bedrooms, each with room to sleep two people. The clean interior has been decorated in a retro style faithful to the house’s age, with the retro items in the self-contained kitchen being especially fun.
Guests at Ramsey are welcome to explore the tracks that criss-cross the property on foot or by bike, and the Porter’s can arrange a paddock picnic, which they advise is best done in winter. Guests who stay two or more nights get a free guided farm history and yabby catching tour. Wildlife, frog and bird tours are also available.
“We once had some German guests,” said Fiona Porter, who has been running the farmstay since 2010, “and they were amazed when I took them out over the paddock to the billabong and they didn’t see a single sheep – in Europe the animals are all crowded together, but they need a lot of room to graze here so they are normally very spread out.”
Travel In was lucky to stumble through the Porter’s gates at shearing time, when the sheep were rounded up in the yards outside the shearing shed. A scene such as this on a working Outback farm is quintessentially Australian, and whatever time of year you visit, the shearing shed will bear echoes of the action that takes place at this hectic time of year. The sweat rolling down the shearer’s strong arms as they gently cradle a wooly beast, calming it with their touch, will combine with the lanolin from the wool to produce a rich and heady perfume that never leaves the shed’s rough timber beams. Strands of forgotten wool will always be blowing about inside.