Tourists come from miles around to gaze at Robert Prudhoe’s three-storey treehouse. The self-built and highly unusual home just outside Warburton, Victoria, is carved from timber and painted in every colour of the rainbow.
Boinga Bob’s three-storey treehouse has been influenced by his global adventures.Photo: Supplied
Inspired by Tibetan temples and cultures from around the world, Bob has built himself a magical and inspirational home that the whole community enjoys.
Just like the house he built, Robert Prudhoe or “Boinga Bob” as he is known locally, is far from average. An electrical engineer by trade with a master’s degree in systems engineering, Bob used his professional background to design and build his home coupled with his talent for art and his passion for “the magic of our existence”.
“From a very young age I was fascinated with life, living things and why exactly I was here. I asked my parents ‘why am I living in this body?’ and they couldn’t answer me. I think my love of travel and doing things differently has been my own way of trying to find out about the meaning of life and what we are doing here on this planet at this particular time.”
Boinga Bob’s curious nature led him to spend much of his life on the road. He lived and built a home in Alaska, spent time in a Tibetan monastery and climbed to the top of Mount Everest. He has been on archaeological digs in Tanzania and spent months in the Amazon Jungle. In 2015 and at the tender age of 75, he returned from six months exploring Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia.
His treehouse has been widely influenced by every single one of his adventures. Both the exterior and interior of his home are rich with carvings and art inspired by cultures and religions from around the globe.
Bob’s treehouse stands nearly five metres high and was built in honour of his mother.
“I am fascinated by the magic of life and the different sorts of people in the world. I don’t believe in one particular religion but I am spiritual and I like to try and express my feelings through my art and building work. This house was originally built in honour of my mother when she passed away and the way that her spirit still lives within me.”
Bob’s spectacular treehouse is nearly five metres high and all hand carved out of individual pieces of recycled timber and plywood. There are no nails in the property and he has used his engineering knowledge to piece the home together gradually over the years.
Built on top of the old Station Master’s home on a disused railway line that ran from Warburton to Lilydale, Bob’s treehouse temple is fully equipped with a phone line and electricity supply.
The three-storey treehouse contains a kitchen and dining area, three bedrooms and a viewing platform to take in the majestic views of the surrounding natural beauty. There is also plenty of outdoor space that Bob uses for entertaining the locals and carrying on with his sculpture work and other artistic projects.
One of the most striking features of Bob’s home is the number of different shaped windows and the huge carved eyes that look out from the top.
Spectacular shaped windows are a feature of the home.
“Windows are important to me as they are the eyes of a building and I like being able to see all around me to feel closer to nature.”
Bob doesn’t just make art for his home, he works on sculptures for friends and fans and is constantly inspired by the different things he sees and experiences. From Buddhism and travel to insects and birds and following a recent heart attack, his own health.
“I am currently channelling my artistic efforts into learning about my health and wellbeing and sculpting many different pieces based on the intricate workings of the heart. Even my cardiac surgeon wants to buy one of my artworks!”
Bob’s home has come under scrutiny a few times by the local council but hundreds of community members got together and set up a Facebook page to help save Bob’s home from demolition and so far the house still stands.
“I realise my treehouse is very different but it attracts people from far and wide to come and see it and it even features on the Warburton Tourism Information website.
“I love having people over for events, parties and sing-a-longs around the fire. It is a truly unique and spiritual house that is constantly evolving and bringing joy to many.”
A peek inside the treehouse.
Date: 18th August
Author: Laura Jackel