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The bolthole.

Discover the perfect hideaway with Jacky Winter Waters, a luxurious minimal space designed to sleep up to five people and seamlessly disappear into the surrounding scrub.

Feb 22, 2023

Words: Gippslandia
Images: Tatanja Ross

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Everyone needs a bolthole. A refuge. The place you can escape to, hide and possibly ponder.

But, frequently there are tensions in achieving the ideal hideaway.

It has to be close enough to be acces- sible without a schlep, yet far away to create sufficient separation from your ‘normal life’. It has to feel inti- mate, even snug, but able to welcome family and friends for those surpris- ingly boisterous summer hangs. And now, after seeing Jacky Winter Waters, it has to seemingly disappear into the scrub, but also be completely covered in a striking mural.

With an overall footprint of 30m2, Waters is petite, but the design by Imogen Pullar Architecture, aptly described as ‟a luxurious minimal space”, has the ability to expand to sleep five people.

Jacky Winter Waters photography by Tatanja Ross
Jacky Winter Waters photography by Tatanja Ross

The instigators of this unique retreat are Jacky Winter Group founder Jeremy Wortsman and his partner, writer and editor Lorelei Vashti. The Jacky Winter Group is a renowned creative talent agency with studios in New York, London and Melbourne that represents over 100 artists – you may recognise some!

So, why does a business that creates acclaimed artwork for heavyweight brands such as Apple, The New York Times, Coca-Cola or Google have a bush retreat that overlooks South Gippsland’s stunning, yet moody, coastline?

Jeremy imparts that, “When I was growing up in America, I was always near the water, so I really wanted to be closer to the ocean for this project. A friend who’d been going to Walk- erville every year invited us down. Upon arriving, we knew immedi- ately that it was meant to be... These kinds of places have always somehow found their way over to me: projects that are probably a bit too difficult and risky at first glance, and this was no exception!

“As with everything we do, it's all about a blend of the personal and professional. When we started with Jacky Winter Gardens (a secluded bushland cabin within the high hills of Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges), it really was a way for us to supplement our income as my partner and I were starting a family and we needed a bit more flexibility. It quickly became a different thing... an extension of the agency – basically a larger canvas that we could explore in showcasing our artists.”

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Jacky Winter Waters photography by Tatanja Ross
Jacky Winter Waters photography by Tatanja Ross

The floor-to-ceiling mural covering Jacky Winter Waters, titled Deep Drift and created collaboratively by April Phillips, Beci Orpin, Carla McRae and David Booth, gently commands your attention, particularly the two windows that act as eyes on the south wall. These were inspired by the eyes of Buddha that adorn most traditional Buddhist stupas – a direct homage to the contemplative work Jacky Winter Waters has been designed to encourage and support.

You see, similar to the other Jacky Winter properties, Waters will also be home to a contemplative residency that “will provide space and support for anyone working in contemplative arts and/or sciences to embark on a five-day personal retreat.”

Jeremy reveals some of the magic that can emerge from these resi- dency programs. “[They have] sparked some amazing collaborations and friendships. Take Solid Lines (a First Nations-led illustration agency, representing and nurturing First Nations talent), for example; that wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for Nicola St John's residency at Jacky Winter Gardens, so it's a very circular ecosystem!

Jacky Winter Waters photography by Tatanja Ross
Jacky Winter Waters photography by Tatanja Ross

Now, this tension we hadn’t considered in our quest for the perfect bolthole: a sanctuary you use to disappear and unwind, but also leads to the creation of inclusive, thriving businesses. Given that it’s only a brief lope through the bush to Walkerville’s beautiful beachside, we believe this nest can nurture such revelations.

That’s what makes all boltholes beloved: not only do you leave your everyday demands at the door, but they allow you to travel to more valuable destinations in your head while you’re there, and it feels that the team behind Jacky Winter Waters has created an escape that gets you into that sacred place more often than not.

Jacky Winter Waters photography by Tatanja Ross
Jacky Winter Waters photography by Tatanja Ross

To learn more about Jacky Winter Waters (or indeed Gardens, Parks or Lamington Drive), please guide your browser to

Gippslandia - Issue No. 25

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