Byfield’s gem draws national attention in new TV series
Every visitor takes away something a little different from a visit to Byfield's Nob Creek Pottery, one of Central Queensland's premier tourist destinations.
For the design-minded, it's an appreciation of how ancient techniques combine with the 60-million-year-old Byfield Fern motif.
For the more technically minded, it could be the workings of the Japanese kiln fire, or imagama, which burns local pine over five days, glazing the pots with a fine ash.
This Sunday, what all of Australia will take away from "visiting" with Nob Creek's owners, Steve Bishropic and Sue McBurnie, is the bravery to craft a life of their own making.
The couple, who abandoned corporate life to raise a blended family, with clay under their nails and ash in their hair, feature on a national lifestyle program called My Way.
The second series begins on Sunday, February 21, on Nine and 9Now.
Viewers are invited to meet Sue and Steve, check out their workshops, see the rare fern in its natural habitat and enjoy Nob Creek's tropical gardens.
But something a guest should never ever do, when visiting a pottery, is help themselves to the shard heap.
"It's a sacred site," said Mr Bishropic, of the pile of broken bits.
"Each piece means something to the potter; it brings a time or maybe a person who's no longer with us."
Mr Bishropic was an accountant on holiday from New Zealand when he fell in love with Central Queensland, in general, and Byfield in particular.
"I thought, if this is what it's like in midwinter, then I'm going to stay," he said.
"Byfield is such a green, wet and lush place to live."
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He and Sue, who both inherited a love of pottery from their mothers, opened the Nob Creek premises back in the 80s when it was "dirt road most of the way".
Since then, they say, they've enjoyed close ties with other tourist operators in the region.
"It's more a co-operation than a competition," they said.
"Five Rocks, the General Store, the high quality accommodation… there's so much to see and do around Byfield, and word of mouth keeps the visitors coming from all over the world."
Nob Creek Pottery has enjoyed a resurgence in publicity since Covid forced people to consider holidaying in Australia rather than overseas.
Its owners have also seen a return to people using natural, handmade objects in their daily lives.
"It's almost weird to find things today which haven't been mass-made in a factory," Mr Bishropic said.
"Our pieces have each been handled 20-35 times before you buy them, so they carry an energy in them."
The My Way series celebrates Australians who have taken a risk in choosing a life "off the beaten path".
"You don't have to stick to what you're doing if it doesn't bring you happiness and joy," Mr Bishropic said.
"There are ways of living which are much better for yourself and for the planet."
Nob Creek Pottery is currently only open weekends - ring 49351161 to check as opening hours change.
• Queensland viewers can watch the first of six My Way episodes on channels Nine and 9Now at 5.30pm on Sunday, February 21.
• Other participants include a Western Yalanji man who runs tours on Cape York Peninsula; a father/son duo who opened a Gold Coast distillery; a Brisbane artist who has collaborated with the world's top designers; a honey-harvesting family; and a sapphire miner in North Queensland.