HEART OF STONE: Chris Mackie, a stonemason with 30 years’ experience, and his partner Sharon are building their dream sandstone home, complete with a tower and rampart, at Tatham, south-east of Casino.
HEART OF STONE: Chris Mackie, a stonemason with 30 years’ experience, and his partner Sharon are building their dream sandstone home, complete with a tower and rampart, at Tatham, south-east of Casino. Marc Stapelberg

Rivers stonemason is building his own castle

FOR Chris and Sharon Mackie, their home is their castle - literally.

The Tatham couple expect to finish construction of their sandstone home, which has a remarkable resemblance to a fortified tower, in the next six months.

A stonemason by trade, Mr Mackie has employed the services of architects Poole J and Associates and used 80 tonnes of sandstone, as well as Western Australia limestone, for the crenelations.

He has also used wood from an old sawmill for the trusses and posts.

Mr Mackie is building the home himself using the skills he has honed during 30 years in the trade.

He said the idea of a stone home had been floating around for 20 years, but finally came to fruition in the last five years when they purchased land near Tatham.

"You end up seeing bricklayers living in timber houses, plumbers with taps that leak and if I am a stonemason I thought I would buck the trend and get my act together," he said.

The project arose out of a love of stone and has been approved by Richmond Valley Council on all levels.

"Game of Thrones is as far as my love of the medieval goes, but I may get some dragon flags for the rampart," Mr Mackie said.

"I originally had planned for it to be round with an elliptical top but after consulting with Poole we schemed up this idea. It will look quite modern when it is finished."

Mr Mackie said the gargoyles had been carved by a classically-trained stonemason from Bavaria.

"My neighbours, who are 86 and 90, just love it and have told me to hurry up because they want to see it finished," he said.

Most of the stone has come from Newman Quarry in Bungawalbin and Tully Morgan. The tower stands at 6m with wooden arched doors on two sides.



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