Circa 2008, the ‘Orana’ house was constructed overlooking the Goulburn River flood plain in Killingworth on the outskirts of Yea in the Central Highlands of north-east Victoria for Chris + Jo Knorr.
The high country ‘wool shed’ vernacular is expressed with the galvanised steel sheet roof + wall cladding, ‘Longwood’ rock + ‘reclaimed’ timber cladding vertically orientated and with a ‘natural grey’ ageing aesthetic. The south garden is designed in the form of an ‘angel’ with native flowering plant species. The house siting, orientation, floor layout, built-form, and colours were considered as part of a Feng Shui overlay criteria and is intimately located with the embedded ‘Killingworth’ family history.
The Orana, meaning ‘Welcome’ in Wiradjuri
‘Designer woolshed inspired home Orana makes this grazing property at Yea a masterpiece’ | Weekly Times Now
JO AND Chris Knorr built their dream house at Yea in 2007 and couldn’t have been happier with the home and productive farm that they created.
“It’s such a privilege to get the chance to build your dream home and we’ve been so lucky to do it,” Jo said. It’s such an incredible piece of land.”
The house was designed by MacKinnon Design principal Ross MacKinnon to make you feel as though you’re outside when you’re indoors. The house has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a study and living, dining and entertaining areas. The large kitchen has Stone Italia benchtops and European appliances with panoramic views across the paddocks north to the Goulburn River valley and the Switzerland Ranges.
“There is glass along the whole north face of the house which looks on to such amazing views.” Jo said the house was extremely energy efficient, with argon gas thermal glazing and polished concrete floors. “It’s designed to be a contemporary version of a woolshed,” Jo said. “We tried to appoint very luxurious settings with natural balances, such as recycled timber from an old woolshed.
“People always say the feel of the house is incredible and they never want to leave.” The landscaped garden includes an organic vegetable patch and orchard. “The garden is a real feature,” Jo said. “We’ve had lots of parties in the garden. At the top of the garden there is a special spot where you can sit and look out over the whole property.” The property has abundant water with extensive Goulburn River frontage and a 54ML water entitlement.
Significant improvements, including solar pump supplied troughs, machinery shed, hay shed and upgraded stockyards ensure straightforward management of a consistently productive property.
The Brighton couple had no farming experience before they bought Orana as a country retreat. “We set up the farm so one person could move a mob of 150 cattle around by themselves,” Jo said. “The laneways and paddocks are designed for easy movement through the property.” Jo and Chris are running cattle on agistment, but have previously run up to 150 steers.
“We have excellent top soil and high yielding, heavy carrying pasture, which enable us to have very high productivity,” Jo said.
“We have done a lot of biological fertilising and pasture improvements.
“We operate on rotational grazing principles.”
Jo said the property would suit any type of agricultural buyer, from livestock to cropping and horticulture. “Because of the irrigation capacity and soil you could do almost anything,” she said. “It’s a really productive farm that is easy to manage. “Someone could just walk into it. Everything is set up and they wouldn’t need to do anything.
“There’s not too many country properties you could say that about.”
Above all, this is a lifestyle property, Jo said. “It is a wonderful place to be year round and is wonderful for entertaining,” she said. “It’s Grand Designs meets Gourmet Farmer. Yea is the most welcoming, wonderful community and it has so much to offer.”
“It’s in a very special part of Yea that is really remote. “It’s really in a world of its own,” Jo said. Now the couple’s children are in high school they are moving back to Melbourne. “We’re very sad to be going. It’s been a beautiful place to raise a young family,” Jo said. “We just hope someone will love it as much as we have.”