Outback legend Rex Ellis sells slices of SA paradise
He’s a legend in rural South Australia, and now you have the chance to own what outback safari guide and author Rex Ellis considers to be some of the state’s most incredible properties.
Mr Ellis, 77, has taken tourists into South Australia’s wilderness by boat, four-wheel-drive and camel for the past 63 years, and now he is selling two pristine 300-acre Flinders Ranges blocks near Blinman, and the clifftop property at Weston Flat, Taylorville on the River Murray he has called home for the past 27 years.
“I lost my wife Patti about 16 months ago, and I was born and bred in the McLaren Vale, so my plan is to move back down to the hills just behind McLaren Flat,” Mr Ellis said.
“While they have been used mainly for private use, I do take tourists through them from time to time.”
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Mr Ellis, who is currently running boat tours following the flood waters to Lake Eyre, said the Flinders Ranges blocks, which haven’t been grazed in 35 years, perfectly encapsulated the region.
“The landscape is incredible and it has all the botany you get everywhere in the Flinders – the wildlife’s really good and the birdlife is just great – it’s just fascinating country,” he said.
But it’s the native timber and rammed earth Taylorville home – about 20km from Morgan and 25km from Waikerie – where Mr Ellis has spent most of his time, writing many of his 10 books from the home’s second-floor office.
“I helped build it, so I’ve literally put my blood sweat and tears into this place,” he said.
“The whole area has only about half a dozen families here, and the whole district is on stand-alone solar power.
“We often slept out there on a bed on the edge of the cliff – you do feel really lucky to wake up and look out to that, and we would have lived there for the rest of our lives, but things change.”
A wooden staircase leads from the clifftop down to a pontoon where Mr Ellis has moored his paddlewheeler, The Dromedary.
“The cliffs are about 60-foot high, and when the Murray River Princess goes past it feels like you can almost step off the top onto its top deck,” Mr Ellis says.
“It’s got one of the best sandbars on the whole Murray, at what we call Wilson’s Bend, and that’s our local beach we swim on.
“I’ve held most of my book launches there, where we have a big celebration and we launch the book physically – so we sent it off with a rocket, or send it out of a gyrocopter or fire it out of a cannon or something to give the book the best chance in the world.”
Mr Ellis said while he will be saying goodbye to these blocks, he will still retain tight connections to both regions.
“I never intended to sell, but whether they live here permanently or keep them for a weekend hideaway, somebody will have a really good place,” Mr Ellis said.
“I’ll still have some land left up in the Flinders and I’ve got stuff in the Riverland as well, so I’ll still have a connection to those places and can still go there whenever I like.”