5 April, 2023
Next stop: home
Spending your twilight years turning a termite-infested railway station into a home may seem a little crazy, but for Mount Tyson couple Gloria Smith and her late husband Boyd, it was one of the best decisions they ever made.
Although they dealt with bankruptcy and a terminal cancer diagnosis, Gloria and Boyd well and truly made the most of what they had and were able to create a beautiful home.
One could spend quite some time walking around the Mount Tyson property, admiring the pristine gardens and historical artefacts that hark back to the railway and to farming.
Many will be doing just that as part of an upcoming bus tour taking place as part of Showcasing Pittsworth and Surrounds.
The Smiths are perhaps most well known for operating the Adora Downs farmstay, which saw thousands of tourists visit over the years.
Mere months after starting his long-awaited retirement, Boyd was diagnosed with cancer.
After battling the terrible disease for ten years, he received startling news from his doctor - he only had two months left to live.
“I want to die on the hill,” Gloria said Boyd told her.
That’s where the old railway station comes in.
The Mount Tyson Station Master’s office has had many uses since the Smiths purchased it.
The Cecil Plains branch railway line was closed in 1973, making the Mount Tyson railway station obsolete.
Gloria and Boyd bought the station itself on a whim in 1976.
In fact, Gloria said she did not even buy the station for the building - just for the signs.
The Smiths relocated the railway station to their property on the southern side of Mount Tyson Hill, where it was used as farm storage until the early 1990s.
Then, the building was re-imagined as a honeymoon suite for newlyweds who had just tied the knot at Adora Downs.
After only a few years of disuse, Gloria said the building had been infested by white ants - termites.
“It was discovered with shock to see the termites had a massive full-scale party,” she said.
“Every board of timber was eaten to paper, only the hardwood floor/studs and roof were left.
“There it remained for many years, this skeleton of unknown quantity in its sad state.”
This brings us to 2010, when Boyd, after receiving the news he had two months left to live, became determined to die on the hill, which consisted of the railway station and a shed that stored two caravans - hardly an ideal set-up.
Nonetheless, through a valiant effort, in a matter of months the railway station was now a home.
Defying the odds, Boyd went on to live a further five years in paradise with Gloria by his side.
“That was his domain,” Gloria said about Boyd’s final years on the hill.
“He was happy as.”
Gloria and Boyd had planned to build a “mansion” on the hill at one stage, however this became impossible after an unfortunate investment saw them lose all their savings.
They fell back on their railway station cottage, where they were more than happy.
“It was the biggest blessing losing all our money,” Gloria said.
“A mansion wouldn’t suit me at all.”
As Boyd was too sick to help, he was content to be able to lie down in bed and watch Gloria make garden beds and cart rocks, as well as seeing crops grow in the surrounding paddocks.
Adora Downs still operates as a wedding and function venue, now run by Gloria and Boyd’s son Michael.
The Mount Tyson property is one of the stops along the way of the north bus tour taking place as part of Showcasing Pittsworth and Surrounds, departing at 9am and 2pm on Saturday and Sunday, 15 and 16 April.
Buses depart from the Pittsworth Function Centre.
Tickets are $25 and must be pre-booked.
Contact Belinda on 0427 932 033 to book a seat.