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Stay In A Converted 1920s Train Carriage In The Otway Ranges

Stays

A night inside this converted steam train carriage filled with old-world charm is like stepping back in time.

The once-derelict carriage has been completely restored into a three-bedroom accommodation, using salvaged materials to create Steam Carriage’s completely original interior alongside authentic vintage pieces from the 1920s. And it’s all hidden away on in Victoria’s lush Otway Ranges!

6th September, 2022

Steam Carriage is located about two hours away from Melbourne, in a small township of the Otway Ranges. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Styling – Belle Hemming

The carriage dates back to the 1920s, but owners Fleur and Mike Leslie have re-created the interiors! Photo – Marnie Hawson. Styling – Belle Hemming

The decor and interiors are filled with retro details. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Styling – Belle Hemming

Some of the first guests at Steam Carriage had asked about the history of the old carriage but Fleur and Mike had little info about it’s origins, until local residents and many of their guests helped them uncover it’s past as a first-class carriage that travelled around regional Victoria in the 20s and 30s! Photo – Marnie Hawson. Styling – Belle Hemming

There are three bedrooms, including a double compartment carriage with a queen bed serves as the master bedroom. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Styling – Belle Hemming

The unique accomodation can sleep up to six guests, with larger groups having the option to stay in the owners’ nearby Otways Loft as well! Photo – Marnie Hawson. Styling – Belle Hemming

Photo – Marnie Hawson. Styling – Belle Hemming

Belle Hemming Bright helped them re-style the property in 2020 with more references to the carriage’s origins in the 1920s. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Styling – Belle Hemming

Ornate chandeliers, pressed metal and wood panelling and deep red velvet curtains feature throughout. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Styling – Belle Hemming

And there’s an luxe outdoor bath! Photo – Marnie Hawson. Styling – Belle Hemming

Guests can enjoy the peace and quiet of the property’s lush green surrounds. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Styling – Belle Hemming

‘There is a verandah around the back of the train that feels a bit like a platform,’ Fleur adds. Photo – Marnie Hawson. Styling – Belle Hemming

Outside there are patio chairs, a bistro table setting and two swing chairs, plus another dining table on the lawn and popular hammock to relax in! Photo – Marnie Hawson. Styling – Belle Hemming

Beyond the uniquely styled retreat, guests can make the most of a visit to the beautiful Otways with mountain biking, trips to the nearby walking tracks, waterfalls and rainforest, and the world-famous Brae restaurant by Dan Hunter, which is just 20 mins from the accommodation! Photo – Marnie Hawson. Styling – Belle Hemming

Christina Karras
Tuesday 6th September 2022

When Fleur and Mike Leslie fell in love with a three-storey wooden loft in Forrest, Victoria, they didn’t expect to find a derelict old train carriage from the 1920s in the property’s backyard.

‘It was painted pink, graffitied, infested with vermin and it had a patchy rotten shingle roof,’ Fleur says. ‘We thought it would be better to remove it but our friend George came from Gippsland to help us renovate the loft, and he was instantly charmed by the old carriage and convinced us that we could make something it.’

Research from train enthusiasts (including help from some of the property’s history loving guests!) have traced the carriage’s history back to 1926. It was built at the Newport Railway Workshop in Melbourne as first-class carriage that transported travellers throughout regional Victoria, and later between Melbourne and Sydney, before being sold in 1983.

When they first acquired the carriage in 2014, Fleur and Mike didn’t have the budget to authentically restore the carriage to its original glory from the Roaring Twenties. Instead, they opted to convert it into a three-bedroom accommodation with a more playful, steampunk theme with five months of renovations. But more recently, they enlisted the help of Belle Hemming Bright to bring in ‘a more elegant 1920’s feel’ to Steam Carriage.

Inside, there’s ornate chandeliers, pressed metal and wood panelling, deep red velvet curtains and a leather lounge. They also sourced authentic vintage furniture from the era, repurposed 1920s gates to make the balustrades and added an outdoor cast-iron bath where guests can relax surrounded by lush greenery and climbing vines!

It’s now a wonderful and romantic homage to the simpler and slower ‘Great Age of Steam’. Fleur says the verandah around the back of the train even ‘feels like a bit of a platform’.

‘Our guest’s feedback suggests that so many people have an incredible nostalgia for train travel,’ Fleur says. ‘If only for a couple of days and nights guests can imagine train travel in the 1920’s, a different world, a different life, then we feel like we have created  something unique and some awesome memories for them.’

Book your stay at Steam Carriage here. 

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net