Narrapumelap – a pastoral history is the story of a 16 thousand hectare sheep run established on the Hopkins River in 1841 by John Dickson Wyselaskie. The book documents relations with the native people and Wyselaskie’s transition from squatter to freeholder, as well as his successful tactics in defending the run against the encroachments of selectors.
While continuing to live in a basic timber cottage, Wyselaskie employed a local architect to design a Picturesque Gothic Revival bluestone mansion with a massive tower. A vast walled courtyard, a Gothic Revival gatekeeper’s cottage and an imposing bluestone entrance with cast iron gates were also erected. A 20 acre park and garden were also created, possibly designed by William Guilfoyle, featuring a mile long avenue of European trees.
On Wyselaskie’s death in 1883, Narrapumelap was bought by big game hunter and pastoralist, Gerald Neville Buckley, son of Mars Buckley, founder of Buckley & Nunn (now David Jones). The new pastoral practices Buckley introduced and his eccentric social life at Narrapumelap are documented.
In 1952, the McIntyre family acquired Narrapumelap. The mansion, uneconomical as a home, became the target of looters and vandals, but it also gripped the imagination of the young Kevin McIntyre. By 1987, Narrapumelap was structurally sound but decayed and derelict and considered almost beyond resurrection.
The Hamilton branch of the National Trust organised two Open Days, the success of which inspired Kevin McIntyre to start the Herculean task, almost single-handed, of recreating and restoring Narrapumelap and its garden. Twenty-five years later, Kevin’s glorious obsession was crowned with the lowering, in November 2017, of a new top to the tower, in the style of the destroyed original design.