A Gunnedah bed and breakfast is finally ready to start taking guest bookings.
The owners of 'Rose Lea' house, David and Sandy Cholson, say the opening was pushed back due to a combination of factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic and extensive restoration works to the historic homestead.
"As it turns out, we had to replace the roof as it leaked. Every room just leaked," Mr Cholson said.
"Cracks in walls, doors, and windows that would not open properly, and the roof. We realised the extent of the restoration job that would be needed."
But now finally, all the work has been completed and earned Gunnedah Shire Council's seal of approval.
The couple said it was "quite a relief" to have finished the job and they are "excited" to start welcoming guests into their home.
A rare gem in Gunnedah
'Rose-Lea' house is one of the oldest properties in the Gunnedah region.
The sandstone building, located on George Street, dates back to 1914. The home originally sat on 17 acres of land, that has shrunk over time, with only the original home and a housekeeper's cottage remaining.
The type of structure was quite uncommon within the North West region, Mr Cholson said, as sandstone homes were considered unsuitable to be built on black soil, due the soil's tendencies to shift and move, resulting in cracking.
Mr Cholson said back in 1914, the home was an unusual commission.
"The other reason is that a sandstone house was usually constructed by a stonemason, and all masons and apprentices were called away to fight in WWI," he said.
"And so after they [stonemasons] came home, if they came home, there was a demand for much cheaper material. The government at that time actually encouraged tradesmen to use cheaper materials, and so the art of a stonemason fell to one side.
"So you'll find that the vast majority of sandstone houses or any sandstone structure was almost always built prior to WW1."
If the walls could talk
Since the couple purchased the property eight years ago, they have continuously been discovering small nuggets of the home's history.
"So it was a solicitor and his wife who originally built the home," Mrs Cholson said.
"But the grandchildren of the people who built it, and some of the grandchildren of some of the subsequent owners have visited and told us stories."
One of the original owner's granddaughters regaled the couple with a tale of how the children learned to knit in front of the fireplace and would make socks for the war effort.
"[A family member] had built on the western side a big shade house due to the heat, and they spent their summer afternoon at the shade house under all the grapevines."