If you’re like us, you devoured the TV series adaptation of the internationally bestselling book The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart with mouth agape. Not only at the twists and turns of the heart-wrenching story but at the settings where they filmed the show.
Several months after the release of the series in August 2023, Australian star Alycia Debnam-Carey is finally able to speak about the role. “I’m beyond proud of this project and all the people who brought it to life,” she said in an Instagram post on November 11, following the end of the writers’ strike that prevented actors talking about their work. “Being able to return to my home country, reconnect with our environment, speak in my accent and play with some of Australia’s best breathed so much life into me. This show is beautiful, heartbreaking and powerful.”
Where was The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart filmed?
Shot in stunning parts of Australia, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart on Prime Video captured the raw beauty of our country’s small towns and surrounding landscapes.
The abuse-filled Hart family’s house was constructed in the middle of cane fields in the Northern NSW town of Grafton. This was the setting for many of the fiery, traumatic scenes with a young Alice Hart.
A lot of the later episodes where Alice is older (played by Alycia Debnam-Carey) and working as a park ranger were shot around Alice Springs and Western Arrernte.
Although these scenes are tension-laden until a violent climax, the settings themselves present a peaceful juxtaposition. Nail-biting moments were filmed at the iconic Ormiston Gorge, Standley Chasm and Simpsons Gap in the Northern Territory.
But the setting where they filmed The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart that stole our hearts the most has to be the picturesque Thornfield property. It’s the grand estate and flower farm owned by Alice Hart’s grandmother June, played by Sigourney Weaver, where women come to take refuge.
The house is almost a character in the show itself, with the charming wallpapered bedrooms, stately staircase, impressive dining room where the women (aka ‘flowers’) gather, and wide verandah overlooking sweeping hills.
We found the real-life Thornfield house where they filmed The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart and it’s as enchanting as you might expect. Turns out it was shot at an incredible estate called Bickham House that the team scouted in the Hunter Valley, NSW, town of Scone.
We go behind the scenes at the magical property and chat to executive producer Jodi Matterson about what went into bringing the house to life for The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart series.
Bickham House: The real-life Thornfield from The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart
What was it about this house that made it the perfect setting?
When we were in pre-production we thought we would have to design and build Thornfield from scratch, but our production designer Melinda Doring and locations manager Chris Reynolds found an incredible house in Scone in New South Wales that looks like something out of a fairytale.
When we saw it, we could not believe that it existed. It was on a sweeping hill and even had a turret room, as described in the book. It was exactly what I had imagined when I was reading the book.
What took place to bring the home to life for the show?
Melinda Doring was our talented production designer and she has an amazing eye for detail which turned the real-life Bickham House into Thornfield.
From the thousands of fresh flowers that were used for the set each day, to the wood carvings used on the stairs and floral wallpaper, Melinda and her team spent months prepping the space before we started shooting.
To create the whole Thornfield property, we shot in several locations. We also filmed at a farm south of Sydney in Yanderra called Jonima Flowers. The river was in a very special place in Bargo. These three places were stitched together with visual effects to create this incredible magical place.
Who created all the wood carvings?
The wood carvings that were made by the character Clem (played by Australian Charlie Vickers) in the series were created by the phenomenal company Odd. Odd won an Oscar for their work on Mad Max: Fury Road and have been long-time collaborators of ours.
What features were kept from the original home?
The bones of the original home were kept and Melinda and her team did an amazing job painting, decorating and adding the detail of the wood carvings throughout the house (including the stairs) and wallpapers.
On the property, they planted extensive gardens and flower beds, and built the old greenhouse that holds so many tragic secrets that they burn at the end of the show.
Who styled the house’s decor for the series?
Our designer, Melinda, has an incredible team of buyers and set dressers who literally spend months sourcing furniture and props that populate our locations.
What went into capturing the flower language in the book?
Benjamin Fountain was our talented florist who was with us throughout the entire project. Ben and his team worked tirelessly to source the native flowers as described in Holly Ringland’s novel (there is a useful glossary at the end of the story).
How was the flower farm created at the house?
There really weren’t any flowers at the property before we took it over. Our team had the challenging task of planting the flower beds, including the wisteria that we had covering the house, and sourcing flowers in huge quantities, many of which were out of season.
You can tell by watching the show that we needed an unprecedented amount of florals, most of which were real. Some we had to fake, including the spectacular Sturt’s Desert Peas.
How long was the team there shooting and can you share any behind the scenes moments from set?
Filming for this show took place over 19 weeks. We were at the Thornfield house in Scone for six weeks. One very special moment while we were at the Thornfield property was when Sigourney Weaver, who was obsessed with Australian wildlife, was constantly trying to spot kangaroos while we were filming.
Leah Purcell (who plays Twig) being the kind and generous person she is, arranged with a local wildlife shelter for some baby joeys to come to set to pay Sigourney a visit.
Sigourney was over the moon when she saw them and got to play with them for the afternoon. It was such a special experience for her and the crew to watch.
How did the local area respond to the filming of the series there?
All of the locations we used as bases in both regional NSW and the Northern Territory were very welcoming and happy to have us in their areas.
When we shoot in remote locations, as we have done on many productions, it is really important to us that the local communities feel a part of the production.
We try to hire as many local people as possible for roles in the behind-the-scenes teams as wells as people to be extras on camera.
We also try to source locally as much as possible and contribute as much as we can to the local businesses.
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