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In 2003, Wall to Wall Television, in England, began a search for a location for a living history programme called “Squatter House”. After a name change, the programme was presented on Australian Television in June/July 2005 as “Outback House”. 


The History of the Property

The first Europeans known to have seen this land were the explorers,  John Oxley and Allan Cunningham who on the 15th of August 1817  camped at Mary’s Valley, now known as Paddys Creek. This campsite is approximately 2.5 km north west of "Oxley Downs".

John Oxley wrote in his journal - "The tops of the hills were generally stony (granite of different degrees and qualities), but the broom-grass grew strongly and abundantly in the interstices. We never descended a valley without finding it well watered, and although the soil and character of the country rendered it fit for all agricultural purposes……”.

In 1837 Arthur and Isabella Baird came to Australia with their young son Thomas and after a short time in Bathurst, moved further west to near Dubbo. While in Bathurst their daughter, Kennedy, was born and after reaching the Dubbo area, their youngest son David was born. In 1846 they secured 200 acres of land as freehold and started to build their holdings around this. Eventually they secured over 26,000 acres of land and by 1857 the main homestead, which survives today, was built.

                                                       "The Springs" Homestead

It was first considered to use the "The Springs" homestead for filming but  was realized that it would be cheaper to rebuild the set than to alter existing buildings and then have to restore them after filming.

“Oxley Downs” was built in 14 weeks from July 2004 to 11th October when filming started on the television series Outback House. The participants were 21st century people selected to live in the style of 1861 for a period of 3 months. These participants had to run an 1861 station during the period of lambing, sheep washing and shearing.  In 1861 the Robinson Land Act came into effect where the squatters were to pay £1 per acre to secure a maximum of 320 acres. This also allowed selectors the opportunity to claim land, especially around waterholes and productive land.

Descendants of Arthur and Isabella Baird, the Tourle family, continue to farm much of this original 26,000 acres and “Oxley Downs” has now become part of its history. Kennedy, Tom and Sam Tourle are the sixth generation and with their parents Scott and Liz, continue to farm this original holding.

The Tourle family is proud to have been involved in this production, with the use of the land, the supply of the Pemcaw blood sheep and the involvement with the builders, the production team and the participants.

The participants have built a strong bond with “Oxley Downs” and each other. We hope that you also have the same appreciation for “Oxley Downs” and 1861.


Contact - Scott and Liz Tourle


Obley Road MS3

Dubbo NSW 2830

                                                    Phone - 02 68877264

                                                    Mobile - 0428 348 542

                                                    Email - tourle@oxleydowns.com.au