scientists in red desert bush

The Station receives frequent communications from individuals offering their services for casual employment or volunteering their services in lieu of provision of board and lodgings. If casual or full-time employment is available on the Station then it will be clearly advertised on this web site and through appropriate media.

The Station is dependent on external income through research grants to support projects that might include opportunities for suitably qualified volunteers to provide services where their food and lodging would be provided for. Such funding is rare and preference will usually be given to engaging participants from organisations such as Earthwatch or Conservation Volunteers Australia. If any opportunities arise where volunteers will be housed and catered for by the Station then advance notice will be given under this heading on this web site.

The Station does encourage suitably qualified volunteers who are willing to pay for their food, accommodation and incidental expenses to provide services to the Station's infrastructure projects such as in eco-tourism, a botanic garden and farm forestry-native bush foods, to the Station's long-term monitoring programs of vegetation communities and fauna or to ongoing research projects with wildlife. Typically such volunteers will have some training in the natural sciences and are seeking practical experience in field-based research and/or to make a personal contribution towards biodiversity conservation and sustainable land management. Visits will be of at least one week's duration for volunteers arriving by their own transport or at least two week's duration for volunteers requiring assistance with transport from Broken Hill (there is no public transport along the Silver City Highway north of Broken Hill). Students seeking longer training in field-based research can find out more on the study page. Visits in Summer (December through February) are discouraged unless the volunteer can demonstrate realistic expectations about coping with daytime temperatures regularly in excess of 37 degrees C.

Volunteers interested in placements at Fowlers Gap should send an expression of interest including your CV to the director.  

The Ochre House Artist's Retreat

The Ochre House is situated in a remote gorge on the Station. The building is a single large space with bathroom and toilet facilities partitioned off and a generous balcony with gas barbecue. The House is powered by a 12V hybrid wind/photovoltaic system and has a recycling system for waste management.

The Ochre House provides an unique private and secluded experience in an especially scenic part of the Station with a riot of Outback colours and varied landforms guaranteed to inspire artists. The Station supports an Artist in Residence Program managed by Arc@UNSW. Artists must contact Arc, not Fowlers Gap, to access this program.

Other studios

A further self-contained and larger studio (The Green House) has been constructed in view of the homestead complex to support the research of COFA Postgraduate students. This studio may be available to other parties when not in use by COFA. A further studio (Project X) is planned on a quartzite ridge overlooking Freislich Dam, the Station’s main water supply, with sweeping views along the Barrier Range. We expect the third studio to become operational in mid-2009.

Please note: The retreats/studios do not have any active cooling because of small renewable energy supplies. The buildings are insulated but not recommended for use in the austral summer (December-February) due to extreme high temperatures.


The Research Station is located 110 km north of Broken Hill on the Silver City Highway to Tibooburra. Seventy-five kilometres of the Highway are sealed to Fowlers Gap while the remaining 35 km is regularly maintained gravel road. However, the road can become impassable after heavy rain which is an irregular occurrence.

You can check for road closures with the Broken Hill District Office of the Road and Traffic Authority on (08) 8082 6660.

  • On a rise on the approach to the Station homestead complex, visitors are recommended to view the sculpture 'Creek Line' by Alison Clouston. A rest area off the highway provides parking. This large work is one of two installations forming the Silver City Highway Sculpture Project. The other work is in Tibooburra.

    Commissioned by the Broken Hill City Gallery with NSW Ministry for the Arts City of the Arts funding, and support from the University of New South Wales, at Fowlers Gap Arid Zone Research Centre, on the Silver City Highway in outback NSW.

    The work is about this extraordinary place, Fowlers Gap. It is made from local materials – mulga posts from old fence-lines, telephone poles made redundant by solar radio phones, a redgum trunk salvaged from a power-line cutting through the creek, steel cut and drilled at a local engineering works, ochres exposed by nearby roadwork.

    Ancient lines of snaking creeks and footpaths, lines of lode, designs etched in rock, fences, roads, lines of communication and power; layer upon layer these lines are trodden, carved by hand or weather, surveyed, imagined, built. Technologies come, are superseded, and leave behind their tracks.

    In CreekLine, the big phone poles are tilted over the meandering fence of closely planted mulga posts, as if reaching skywards for rain or bringing something up from the ground. They make a conduit between earth and sky. Forty-odd metres of these elevated poles are sliced by a crevice, a gorge, eroded by chainsaw as ground is worn by water. Oiled and rubbed with ochre, it is an aqueduct bearing up mineral colour from the veins of the earth.

    The poles cross country to meet the redgum trunk. There in its descending limbs the vein of blood-red ochre branches like a flood-out of Fowlers Creek, or an inversion of the channels that bring down from the hills the land’s lifeblood, water.

    Construction by Alison Clouston and Nick Powell With generous support from staff at Fowlers Gap Arid Zone Research Centre.

  • Fowlers Gap has established five Eco-Trails ranging from 1 - 8 h that traverse representative landsystems on the station. Each walk has a trail guide describing the route and geomophology and a supplementary guide to key flora and fauna. Fowlers Gap has two bird hides - one on a large dam and the other at a small water hole with night illumination. A further hide is planned on the homestead tank and a small wetland will be developed near the homestead precinct.

    Tourism operators and educational groups can contact the station regarding access to facilities that include bird and other fauna viewing hides at water. Individuals and small parties visiting the station for eco-tourism may use the booking form.

  • The following excerpt from J.A. Mabbutt, 'Historical Background of Fowlers Gap', addresses the naming of Fowlers Gap.

    "In 1869-70 a gold strike occurred at Mt. Browne and subsequently one at Tibooburra. Traffic northwards increased as a result, and the bullock track from Umberumberka through Euriowie and Fowlers Gap to Bancannia and Packsaddle developed into a mail route. The mining episode was short-lived and was virtually over by 1885, but the route remained for coach traffic and for travelling stock. A stock route was gazetted in 1884, with a branch along the eastern foot, of the ranges where it presumably used the natural soakages and waterholes. The Gap may well have received its name at this time. Hardy (1969) refers to a Fowler, "perhaps an early Murray squatter", who may have pioneered the Gap through the Ranges and an alternative suggestion is that Fowler was a bullock-train driver who located the Gap on his journeys northwards. However local reports identify Fowler as a surveyor with one of the early exploration parties (K. Conners, pers. comm.). Certainly the name already existed in 1892, when Fowlers Gap Hotel was built on the route, on the left bank of Fowlers Creek about 3 km, downstream from the Gap itself."

The Station is an active participant in the research and development of ecotourism in Outback NSW and wildlife tourism with kangaroos Australia-wide. The Station is part of a Corner Country New South Wales network of accommodation facilities. The unique character of the Station is its long history of research, teaching and environmental monitoring, and its commitment to public education through publication and support of documentary film-makers. Interpretation is based on the latest knowledge, you can stand where David Attenborough filmed the ‘kangaroo sequence’ in Life on Earth, and on occasions walk and talk with leading researchers.

The Station has constructed eco-trails and wildlife-viewing platforms to interpret this landscape and the flora and fauna. We encourage the intimate experience of traversing the varied landscape on foot or quite contemplation on the verandah or at a waterhole. We do not normally allow driving on Station tracks or camping because of interference with research and livestock management. These experiences are well-catered for in nearby national parks and some properties in the Corner Country network. 

We offer comfortable, clean, well-equipped and fully self-contained accommodation in the hub of the Station complex or in remote eco-friendly retreats/studios. Thus visitors to the Station are accommodated in self-contained cottages, high-quality shearer’s quarters or a large communal dormitory. For a unique secluded and private wilderness experience, we recommend the Ochre House Artist’s Retreat where you can immerse yourself in a varied and multi-coloured landscape that has inspired leading and upcoming national and international artists.

The Director, Keith Leggett, is conducting research on wildlife tourism with the Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Tourism and has published papers and reports with a focus on outback tourism with kangaroos. The Station applies these findings, and bush-walking on Eco-trails and animal-viewing at bird hides are available to further visitors' understanding of life in the arid lands of Outback NSW.

Our market is special interests in bird or other fauna watching; bush-walking with interpretation of geomorphology, flora and fauna; or learning about the biology and environmental management of the Outback including a fully-functioning pastoral enterprise. Individuals or small groups can choose a spacious 4-bedroom self-contained cottage on the periphery of the homestead complex or a remote secluded retreat/studio. Larger groups can take-over our twin-share rooms in our spacious well-appointed Quarters with a large meeting/dining room. Assistance with catering for large groups may be arranged with sufficient notice. We support local tourism operators and you may request a visit to the Station as part of a custom itinerary.

Bookings are essential because of our commitments to research and teaching and we provide a booking form on this site for your convenience.

The Station collaborates with regional tourism organisations in Broken Hill and Milparinka to promote visitation and features in local information such as the 'Great Outback Touring Route' map available from regional visitors centres.