Rocky River Recovery | Hosking Willis Architecture Pty Ltd

Rocky River Recovery | Hosking Willis Architecture Pty Ltd | Photographer: Quentin Chester Photography

2023 National Architecture Awards Program

Rocky River Recovery | Hosking Willis Architecture Pty Ltd

Traditional Land Owners
The Ngarrindjeri, Narungga and Kaurna nations

South Australia

Larcombe General Builders
Quentin Chester Photography
Sam Hosking
Project summary

The State heritage listed Rocky River Homestead, incorporating May’s and Postman’s Cottages, was destroyed during the catastrophic Kangaroo Island bushfires or 2019/2020, with only the walls remaining.
The Department for Environment and Water made the decision to rebuild the Cottages to aid in the recovery of the Island and to uplift the visitor accommodation offerings in Flinders Chase National Park. The Cottages now provide one-bedroom accessible and a two-bedroom family accommodation options.
The reconstruction and recovery of the Rocky River Homestead following the devastating fires has lifted the spirits of the local community and will now allow the history and natural beauty of Flinders Chase to be enjoyed once again by the Islanders, visitors and tourists well into the future.

South Australia Architecture Awards Accolades
Award for Heritage
South Australia Jury Citation

Rocky River was settled as farming land at the western end of Kangaroo Island in the late 1800s. May’s Cottage, the larger of the two buildings, was constructed around 1880. The Postman’s shack was constructed in 1898 as a room for the postman to stay in on the long delivery journeys around the island.

Following the devastating 2019 Kangaroo Island bushfires this State Heritage listed former farming complex has been reconstructed from just the remaining burnt out shells. The two humble buildings have been faithfully reconstructed with well-considered modern additions, upgrades and fitout to ensure they can be used as comfortable holiday accommodation in the middle of Flinders Chase National Park.

May’s Cottage is now a two-bedroom house with a contemporary but timeless fitout, including the new wet wing and large kitchen area. The Postman’s Cottage, originally a one room structure, has been enlarged with a new wing and is now a fully accessible holiday property. The upgraded properties now represent some best accommodation in a South Australian National Park.

The design team and the client have managed to make the best of the bushfire disaster. By taking the opportunity to upgrade these historically significant structures, their heritage values have been reinforced and their ongoing use guaranteed.

South Australia Jury Presentation

The design has endeavoured to set a new standard of contemporary heritage accommodation in the State’s parks with accessibility for more people, regardless of their physical limitations and with disabilities front of mind.
The two separate dwellings now appeal to a broader range of visitors. The lift in the standard of the offering has increased occupancy, guest satisfaction and has generated more revenue that goes back into managing the Park and conservation efforts.
The design also supports the Kangaroo Island brand, ‘Authentic Kangaroo Island’ and is a showcase for what can be done in re-imaging heritage for tourism purposes.

Project Practice Team

Sam Hosking, Project Architect
Trang Tran, Design Architect

Project Consultant and Construction Team

Hosking Willis Architecture, Interior Designer
John Bowley Consulting Engineer, Structural Engineer
Trento Fuller, Building Surveyor

Connect with Hosking Willis Architecture Pty Ltd
Rocky River Recovery | Hosking Willis Architecture Pty Ltd | Photographer: Sam Hosking

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