A lot of love has been poured into “Kelso”, a unique piece of Stroud history.
The beautiful six-bedroom, three-bathroom federation home, built in 1901, has hosted many a houseguest over the past eight years as Stroud Bed and Breakfast.
It all started with an A-frame sign in the front yard.
“[My partner, Trevor Gregory, and I] have five adult children between us, so we wanted a home where the whole family could gather,” owner Barbara Peacock tells Newcastle Weekly.
“When the house was empty, we’d invite people to stay, as Stroud has lots of events such as the Stroud Show, rodeos and the Brick and Rolling Pin Throwing Competition.
“Then there’s reunions, weddings, funerals and christenings – anything that brings people together.
“We must have hosted hundreds of visitors over the years, who all come to experience good old-fashioned country hospitality.”
In those eight years since Trevor and Barbara bought the property following a tree change from Sydney, the house has been further restored to its original glory.
According to Barbara, the previous owner put in the lion’s share of the work, purchasing the property in 2004 in a run-down state when it was doomed for demolition.
However, Trevor and Barbara have not wasted a moment on it either, spending a “couple hundred thousand” dollars on beautifying it, including installing a new kitchen three years ago.
“Where [the previous owner] did the extension, Trevor even went around and changed all of the Phillips head screws to flat head to reflect the period,” she says.
“We’ve put a lot of thought into its authenticity.”
But if you think the home’s history stops there, think again.
A century ago, for at least a couple of decades, the building was a maternity hospital.
Some of its features today hark back to this time, such as the distinguished double doors that used to lead to the operating theatre – now the living room.
“We’ve had people stay here who were born here,” Barbara says.
“Others remember visiting a sibling when they were born.”
The house’s former hospital days might explain the friendly ghost that lives with Trevor and Barbara.
By all reports, he’s a well-dressed gentleman who inhabits the original part of the house and occasionally sits on the front porch.
“I think he might’ve been charged by a bull or something like that, and was brought here as Newcastle was too far; then he died here,” Barbara says.
“He doesn’t bother us.”
Now planning a sea change to the coast, Barbara and Trevor hope another family can find just as much joy in it as they have.
“I do believe myself that this is the house I’ve always dreamed of having,” Barbara says.
“I should’ve had it when I was 30, not in my sixties. Still, eight years is enough.”