The inspiring Dirramu
Remembered by long term residents of the Central Coast as the old Bouddi Nursery, Dirramu continues to enchant these days in the form of a premium garden acreage
“Dirramu”, meaning trees to the Darug Clan of the Eora Nation, is a garden-centric private residence in the Killcare Heights triangle. It nestles into the native corridor between the Bouddi National Park and Hardys Bay.
Set on six pristine acres, owners Susan Brooks and Janis McAloon have rebuilt an architecturally stunning four-bedroom contemporary home to enhance, embrace and sit within the surrounding magnificent gardens and landscaping. Also featuring an art studio, pool, and a tenanted secondary dwelling, the property presents an exceptional tree change lifestyle minutes from the communities of Hardy’s Bay and Killcare and their local beaches and national parks.
Dirramu is about the garden. It was established as a nursery by Sheila and Chris Wilmott because of the exceptional horticultural properties of the deep red laterite soils and year round temperate climate. It was later taken over by renowned landscape gardener Susan Munro-Ross who integrated the exotic trees and established plantings into the first stage of what it has become today. The current owners have continued the transformation.
It is a seduction that starts from the minute you enter the gates. Native flora forms much of the perimeter and, as you approach the inner gardens, you notice the beautiful array of exotic trees and shrubs. Looking out from the main outdoor terrace, a South American tippuana tree and a striking canary date palm take centre stage, standing proud against the backdrop of picturesque gardens. Near the pool a Californian redwood dominates while magnolias, camellias, rhododendrons and other shrubs form the basis of various formal and informal rooms of the garden. “Spring is the best season to be here”, says Janis. “It’s the time for the annual carpet of vibrant pink tassel-like flowers to burst forth on my favourite tree, a large Lorapetalum near the front door. It’s also the time for the echiums carrying hundreds of buds, to produce their stunning blue flowers.”
The property has a number of distinctly different areas including lawned gardens, an enchanting sub-tropical section, a citrus grove and an area of native eucalypts, callistemons and turpentines. Embankments at the front and rear and rows of native grasses and grevilleas have been designed to attract a variety of birdlife. Kookaburras, lorikeets, king parrots, brown cuckoo doves, bowerbirds, wrens and eastern spinebills visit Dirramu.
While the grounds are something to behold, the main house holds its own. It features striking forms and minimalist interior spaces delivering a residence of zen-like simplicity and serenity. The unique and thoroughly modern design is one of clean architectural lines paired with a rich palette of natural materials and organic finishes. Galleries of glass create an immediate connection to the environment, with living spaces extending to decks overlooking the wonderful surroundings. Features include timber floors, wine cellar, kitchen with butler’s pantry and an incredible main bedroom with dressing room and all-encompassing views of the gardens. Outside on the terrace is a perfect place to dine alfresco, a glass of wine in hand and a fresh pizza cooking in the woodfire oven.
“Our focus is never really on what’s inside the house, it is always on what’s happening outside. Birds, new foliage and flowers, small changes in light or wind, all captivate your attention,“ Susan said. “Self-isolating is very easy here”.