History of Bonus Downs

feature for history pageThe Bonus Downs homestead was built in 1911 by one of this country’s most famous landholders who contributed hugely to Australia’s rural progress at a time when a young and developing country needed such foresight. People describe him as ‘Australia’s greatest pastoralist because he was so innovative, so keen to improve on what nature had provided.’

His name was Sir Samuel McCaughey. He purchased Bonus Downs in 1908 when it comprised 330,000 acres and was devoted solely to cattle. Believing the land was more appropriately suited to sheep, McCaughey converted Bonus Downs. Five years later Bonus Downs was shearing 130,000 Merinos, had a 42 stand shearing shed and employed 100 men. After Sir Samuel’s death the property was passed through several hands until Lyle and Madonna Connolly purchased Bonus Downs in 1990 and set about the painstaking restoration of the Bonus Downs homestead. Today Bonus Downs Farmstay is ranked among the oldest established properties of the Maranoa.

BROCHURE“Bonus Downs is a truly unbelievable piece of living history. The Bonus Downs homestead has been lovingly restored by its owners Madonna and Lyle Connolly, who are incredibly passionate about this beautiful property. Their stories about how they restored the main home and Jackaroo quarters are truly inspirational. It is a real history lesson, learning about Bonus Downs first settlers and also about the trials and tribulations that Madonna and Lyle, as the new settlers had to endure.”

history headder pic“We were lucky enough to find this beautiful Farmstay many years ago and we instantly fell in love with it and also with Madonna and Lyle and we have returned many, many times. We love the fact that this is a working farm and we were lucky enough recently to witness them mustering their cattle and then weighing their wearers in readiness for sale.”

“We travel with our van and Bonus Downs caters perfectly for caravaners. They have the most amazing Smoke House with cooking facilities, they have hot showers and toilets. If you want to visit this farm and you don’t have a van, Madonna has accommodation in the cottage. Every time we visit Bonus Downs we learn something new about this property and also about life in the bush.”

1908: Purchase Of Bonus Downs

Sir Samuel McCaughey purchased Bonus Downs in 1908 when it comprised 330,000 acres and was devoted solely to cattle.

1911: Bonus Downs Constructed

Bonus Downs homestead was built in 1911 by one of this country’s most famous landholders who contributed hugely to Australia’s rural progress at a time when a young and developing country needed such foresight.

1990: Purchased By Madonna & Lyle

Madonna & Lyle Connolly purchased Bonus Downs in 1990 and set about the painstaking restoration of the Bonus Downs homestead. Today Bonus Downs Farmstay is ranked among the oldest established properties of the Maranoa.