Unique accommodation that brings a pioneer vision to life
Longreach’s newest accommodation – The Staging Post – is inspired by the town’s old way of life. It recalls a time when the stagecoach brought pioneers and stockmen, shearers and hawkers, publicans and prospectors, and of course the much-anticipated mail.
The Kinnon family, founders and owners of Outback Pioneers, have long had a vision to create an experience for tourists that really immerses them in the outback pioneering world.
Now, in the heritage heart of Longreach, where visitors can still experience the thrill of a Cobb & Co stagecoach journey, another aspect of the vision has become reality.
The new Stables rooms at The Staging Post invite visitors to stay in boutique accommodation that merges outback pioneering heritage with contemporary comfort.
The inspired design and detailing for these unique rooms is the work of Marisse Kinnon, who previously designed the Kinnons’ award-winning accommodation opposite the Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach (now under a new name and management).
Putting the heart into the heritage heart of town
For the Kinnons, the location of the accommodation in Eagle Street, is part of their broader vision for the heritage precinct.
“The accommodation is all part of the broader story,” Marisse said.
“Everything hinges on that vision of a time when the stagecoach was the main lifeline to the outside world and a whole cluster of dwellings and facilities grew up around its staging posts.”
Stepping into the Stables rooms, visitors will not only find comfortable accommodation for their stay but a chance to experience many aspects of living in the pioneer era.
Marisse’s wants this to be a ‘wow’ experience – a chance to be inspired by the pioneering spirit.
“We’re pushing guests a little outside of their usual expectations with some things that are unfamiliar to them but at the same time they’re actually staying in 4-star comfort,” Marisse said.
“Compared with the accommodation we created before, which was based on the vision of a homestead, this takes the pioneer experience deeper.”
While the Kinnons’ previous accommodation had rooms built from new, the Stables rooms at The Staging Post took the more authentic pioneer approach of reinvention using found and repurposed materials.
Creativity, ingenuity and teamwork
The challenge for Marisse and her team in creating the Stables was not just the creative vision but the very tight timeline between finalising the purchase of the former motel property and the start of the winter season – about eight weeks!
Marisse and Auntie Fran, her right-hand woman on design and fittings, set to work in the midst of the COVID era with all its supply challenges for both building materials and furnishings. They did what pioneering women have always done best – using what is available with ingenuity to create what is needed.
They called in the extended family and worked with a local building team to transform the ordinary brick motel into an incredible place from another era.
“The restrictions really draw out your creativity,” Marisse said. “And our local builders and trades-people got into the spirit of it and helped us re-use materials found around the homestead, people’s homes and demolition yards!”
“The amazing shower cages of copper piping were thanks to the plumber embracing the vision and finding a way to create something that is a quirky work of art as well as very functional. Everyone stopped work to see when he arrived with them!”
Transformed and inviting
Every element of the transformed rooms has a story. There are old telegraph poles from Nogo Station complete with their ceramics, there are bedside tables custom-made from recycled timber, there are door handles and hangers made from horse-shoes, and old gates as bedheads.
The barbed-wire-and-rose artworks for the walls have roses crafted from recycled cans by Richard’s sister-in-law, Jane.
Every member of the Kinnon family, plus friends, had a hand in finishing the details as the deadline for the first guests loomed.
The stone basins are inspired by hollowed stones found in the area and the galvanised bins and buckets give pioneer items new roles as towel containers and light-shades.
The ‘ticking’ fabric that was traditionally used and reused for bed covers, curtains and tablecloths creates very elegant bedding.
Where is the air-conditioning and TV? Cleverly hidden behind hessian curtains and in cupboards made from pallets so guests are comfortable without spoiling the illusion of the era.
The Saddle Room is a common room where guests can relax in comfy chairs with board games and books, or turn on the big screen if they want to retreat to the present day.
And more to come
The next stage of The Staging Post accommodation will be a refurbishment of The Coach Inn (self-catering units behind The Welcome Home) to make them more a place stagecoach travellers would recognise. Then there will be The Outriders Huts, which will take inspiration from the accommodation of the riders who helped protect the stagecoach from hazards and bushrangers.
Finally, the accommodation will include some special suites inspired by the places the well-to-do travellers would have stayed – fit for today’s VIPs, honeymooners and anyone who wants extra luxury for a special occasion.
The Staging Post is open year round and, between April and October, is very much in demand for visitors and groups doing the Outback Pioneers holidays and experiences.
The Welcome Home building, which is also part of the heritage precinct, is the reception for The Staging Post. It also welcomes guests for big country breakfasts, lunches and outback dining options for guests staying in the winter season. At other times of year, the local bakery and cafes are happy to feed hungry travellers.