Bob McKay


Bob McKay

I live on a 360 acre block at Urila, about 50km from Canberra. It's very beautiful, but fairly rough, country. Wildlife highlights include echidnas, lyrebirds, black cockatoos (we occasionally get glossy cockatoos as well, but the local ornithologists don't seem to believe us), king parrots and satin bowerbirds, with grey kangaroos and black wallabies, wombats, brushtail possums, sugar gliders and wedge-tailed eagles all commonplace. It's also home to Blackjack and Crystal, a pair of lovely donkeys, as well as a gaggle of geese and a few chooks.

My spare time is taken up with building my dream home, which I'm doing mostly myself. I have used autoclaved aerated concrete blocks as the main building material. As of March, 1999, I'm living in the place. The top floor is complete! It's working pretty well as a house (there are a couple of things I wish I'd done slightly differently, notably leaving a bit more moving space at the laundry/kitchen doorway so I could move furniture easily. But that will be less of a problem when I get around to building the verandah.....). So that's stage 1 finished. My next few years will be taken up with stage 2: finishing the ground floor areas (which are currently just a shell), and adding the verandahs.

With all the above, I don't have much free time, but what there is I spend on my other two main interests: folk music and dancing, and playing the English concertina .

The Burra/Urila area is a great place, with many interesting people. One of my friends, Garry Richardson, has been training llamas for riding - you can read of his experiences here.

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