When Kathy and Karl Davies purchased an old island home along Martin’s Road in the early 1990’s, they saw beyond the rotting timbers, the roof that was caving in, and the two acres of garden that had turned into a jungle. Instead they felt they were looking at a much loved old family home that was pleading for a second chance.
This had been the home of Cornelius Stephen (‘Lerm’) Christian and his Australian born wife Rita, who married in 1914. Rita was just 15 at the time. Lerm was the grandson of Jacob Christian and Maria (nee Quintal), who were among the 193 descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian wives who had relocated from Pitcairn Island to Norfolk Island in 1856. Each family had been given a grant of land of around 50 acres. It was on a portion of land that had been handed down from his mother’s family that Lerm and Rita built their house. As was the custom in those days, family and friends would have lent a hand, and timber would have been milled from Norfolk pine trees growing on the site to provide the structural timbers and lining boards inside and out.
In this typical old Norfolk house, sturdy and practical and with wide verandahs, the hardworking couple raised their three sons. Eventually the boys married and established their own homes elsewhere on the Island, but the Buck’s Point house remained the focus of many happy family gatherings. However, after the old couple died, it became vacant and fell into a poor state of repair. Years later – ignoring the advice of those who urged them to bulldoze what was there – the Davies’ set about repairing, re-building and re-using whatever they felt they could rescue and followed the vision of Lerm and Rita. Two or three years of loving and dedicated hard work led to the creation of ‘Christian’s of Buck’s Point’, Norfolk Island’s first luxury heritage island-home tourist accommodation.
‘Christian’s’ is hidden a little from the road behind the hedge, as if it is waiting to be discovered. As soon as you walk up the path and step across the threshold of this lovely old home, you know you have arrived at a very special place, where old-world simplicity is tastefully combined with every little luxury or convenience you could wish for on your holiday. The whole landscape whispers, ‘Relax, rest, renew’ as you watch the terns whirling through the tall trees, or listen to the waves lapping onto the rocky bay below. The friendly little black hens that pick at the grasses on the roadside seem to be a part of the homely welcome.
In the early 2000s, the Davies sold ‘Christian’s’ to Mat Christian-Bailey, who is proud to be associated with a place that carries his family name. Mat has successfully continued the high standards of facilities and aesthetic appeal that the Davies established and is proud to still own the home today. The name ‘Christian’s of Bucks Point’ has remained a synonymous with tasteful quality, relaxation and serenity.
Christian’s is the sort of place you choose to stay when you are tired of the predictable sameness of normal holiday accommodation. It is a refreshing experience in itself. You feel so much at home, and the comfy lounges and verandahs are so inviting, that you may not want to leave. If you decide to eat in, the farm style kitchen is well-equipped for you to prepare a meal here in your island home. The old fireplace is still there, where Rita Christian stood at her fuel stove preparing tasty meals for her family of boys. However, the dinner and glassware and utensils at your disposal are probably far more than she ever dreamed of, and satellite TV with surround sound and wi-fi was almost a hundred years away.
In the evenings, guests may enjoy sipping a wine or a coffee on the spacious verandahs on three sides of the house, or trying out a locally produced steak or perhaps the ‘day’s catch’ on the barbecue. Your backdrop is the view across Ball Bay towards Phillip Island to the south, and it is stunning.
In the old days, in his retirement, locals recall that old Lerm Christian loved to sit on his side verandah outside the kitchen door, and wave to those who passed by. He cherished his little part of the Island, and felt at peace there. Guests at ‘Christian’s’ still say they enjoy the same feeling of contentment in these tranquil surroundings.
Image Credit: Robin Nisbet
Article content disclaimer: Article first published in Discover Norfolk, Volume 03 Issue 02, 2019. Please note that details of specific travel, accommodation and touring options may be outdated. References to people, places and businesses, including operating days and times may be have changed. References to Government structure and Government businesses/entities may no longer be applicable. Please check directly with businesses and/or Government websites directly rather than relying on any information contained in this article before you make travel arrangements.