Welcome to the house of rock

Welcome to the house of rock

Whether or not you’ve got rock ‘n’ roll pumping through your veins, chances are you’ve seen the infamous shot of an abandoned farmhouse on what is arguably one of the greatest Aussie rock albums of all time.

Rock royalty, Midnight Oil launched their Diesel and Dust album in 1987, with the striking image snapped by Ken Duncan of the ruins perched proudly in a field just north of Burra on the Barrier Highway.

Burra brothers, Alex and Peter Stockman along with their wives Leanne and Jodie of Springvale North Pol Marinos have dealt with Ramsey Bros for years and bought the renowned property in 1994. The Stockman crew learnt just how significant the ruins are, with cars and busloads of tourists stopping regularly to grab a snap of the landmark.

“At the time, we didn’t think too much about the buzz around this place — we knew the history but it didn’t sway us. As it turns out, our little old farmhouse has been rated as the second most popular thing to photograph in Australia just behind the Great Barrier Reef which is pretty amazing”, says Alex.

Back in 2000, the house was even used as a backdrop for the Qantas I Still Call Australia Home campaign, and the Stockmans spent two days working with the crew to get footage for the iconic Aussie ad that featured the Spirit Of Australia choir.  

“It was pretty surreal flying around on the Harvesters while the choir sang their hearts out. It didn’t all make the cut, but they got great footage of these huge machines coming down the hill and unloading right in front of the house.

“I think a few of the crew were a little nervous we might accidentally reap the kids, but we kept it all under control”, Alex laughs.

Although you can’t get quite as close as you could to the farmhouse as back in the day, that doesn’t seem to stop people having a crack. And it’s not just tourists and marketers dropping in to get their piece of the pie — professional photographers, novices, couples wanting wedding pics, and of course, die-hard Oils fans all make the pilgrimage to get the snap.

While it’s unique to be part of this slice of rock history, the Stockmans take it all in their stride.

“Most people are pretty good about respecting it being private property — it’s normal to see cars lined up along the highway waiting to grab their pic, especially when the canola’s flowering.”

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