NEWS RELEASE   December 01, 2022

Legend behind an outback oasis

Crestmead, Queensland (1 December, 2022) – EVEN during challenging drought years, when paddocks were bare and the dust storms were relentless, Julie Armstrong and her family were able to recharge in the calm tranquility of the Corynnia Station lawn, between Griffith and Hay in NSW.

The working outback station, which grows cotton, rice, and grains, as well as supporting a Merino sheep flock, has a homestead greenspace embodying a true oasis. Lush lawns, thriving roses, hardy perennials and an array of established shady trees paint the backdrop of the backyard.

The 6879 ha station and the raw beauty of the outback attracts guests from across the world to Julie’s farm-stay accommodation that has been featured on Better Homes and Gardens and postcards, however, Julie was quick to note it hasn’t always looked this way on Corynnia.

''I moved here with my husband Bruce just after we were married in 1982. It was right in the middle of drought and a mice plague, the house was small and very rundown, the garden was dead, and we had little money,'' Julie said.

''I never thought I would be living on such a remote farm, and I asked myself, ‘what sort of life do I want for me and my family and how can I achieve that?’ so I started to create our oasis, bit by bit.''

With nothing more than a wheelbarrow, shovel, and healthy dose of determination Julie began to ‘beaver away’ creating her ideal greenspace.

''I started by removing the accumulated rubbish, dead hedges and plants, half-dead gum trees and big cedars which were hanging over the house. Then, for the grass, section by section, I developed the whole area with kikuyu lawn,'' she said.

''Just by cutting, placing and watering an area of kikuyu lawn runners I developed hardy, green grass over time that is suitable for our harsh climate.''

Then, using her design skills honed from a long career in the fashion industry, she began the garden, planting trees and laying out hedges to create defined spaces.

Julie said the garden was always loved by her family, especially her children, who had a three-hour return commute to their local primary school but spent all their weekends as ''free-range farm kids''. Bruce also reflects on the homestead and garden as being a respite.

''Bruce would come in from the paddocks, where it all looked so devastating in drought, and say, ‘I am so lucky to come home to this every night – it saves my sanity’,'' she said.  

In the mid-2000s Julie started to wonder if the existing infrastructure on the property could house paying guests.

''All our friends and family loved visiting so I wondered if guests might be keen to venture a little off the beaten track to experience a real outback farming property,'' she said.

''At this stage the internet was just beginning so we had a very slow start after welcoming our first guests in 2007.''

Julie gained support and guidance from a group of like-minded farm-stay accommodation providers, Outback Beds.

''A friend with a B & B in Hay told me that it would take about five years to get traction, and she was right,'' Julie said. 

''As the internet developed so did our number of guests, and today, thanks to our generous and enthusiastic guests we have achieved a five-star rating on TripAdvisor.

''It’s been phenomenal because it has opened the world up to us. We are so lucky to share our very special part of the world with so many interesting people who can enjoy a unique experience and visit the outback in style, at an affordable price.''

Today, Julie described the garden as ever evolving. This year she has installed an automated watering system, which she describes as ''life changing''.

She also couldn’t live without her ZTrak™ Z535M John Deere lawn mower, which she said is a work horse that makes fast and fun work of her thriving kikuyu lawn.

''I am a bit of a fiend on my John Deere lawn mower,'' Julie said.

''I have been given the nickname of ‘The Cyclone’ when I am on it. But I look at it as my meditation and I am on it at every opportunity. The Zero-Turn has made all the difference. Once you try that you will never go back.

''I will always enjoy working in my garden. It’s such a joy to have created an area to share and enjoy with friends, family and guests. I know it is so beneficial to get outside, get my hands dirty and forget about everything other than what I am achieving physically.''

About John Deere:
Deere & Company is a global leader in the delivery of agricultural, golf & turf, construction, and forestry equipment. We help our customers push the boundaries of what's possible in ways that are more productive and sustainable to help life leap forward. Our technology-enabled products including the John Deere Autonomous 8R Tractor and See & Spray™ are just two of the ways we help meet the world's increasing need for food, shelter, and infrastructure. Deere & Company also provides financial services through John Deere Financial. For more information, visit John Deere at its worldwide website at John or in New Zealand at John

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Stacey Wordsworth
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Hannah Hardy
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