DYSART’S latest tourist accommodation - the converted birthplace of explorer John McDouall Stuart - opened last week with the help of one of his descendents.
Fife Historic Buildings Trust has converted the former John McDouall Stuart museum, on the town’s Rectory Lane, into a holiday let come living memorial to the man who led the first expedition to cross Australia from south to north in 1862.
And, as an added bonus, the trust managed to track down his great, great, great, grand niece to stay on the opening night.
Kaye Bachelard (56),originally from Australia, travelled up from Kent with her husband Tom McGhie and cut the cake at the opening ceremony on Thursday, which was attended by trustees, those involved in the project and MSP David Torrance.
Ms Bachelard told the Press she was very proud to represent McDouall Stuart and was impressed with the building’s transformation.
She added: “I think it’s absolutely beautiful, my husband and I feel very privileged to be the first people to stay here in a long time.
“I came here a couple of times when it was a museum and I never realised how beautiful the view was.
“It seems much lighter now. It has changed a lot.
“I think the older I get the more I read it into it and the story of the man is amazing.
“This place makes its possible for perhaps even more people to find out about the man and what he did.
“I think it’s a really good thing we can save his house like this.”
Around £50,000 has been spent making changes to the building which occupies the upper two floors of a three-storey B-listed building.
Accessed by an external staircase, it leads to a cosily decorated living/dining area, and modern fitted kitchen. Upstairs is a twin bedroom and bathroom.
Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance echoed those sentiments and praised Fife Historic Buildings Trust and all its partners for bringing the building back into use.
He said: “It is gravely important to keep all our history together so people can celebrate what great people have achieved in the Kirkcaldy area.
“It’s looking absolutely fantastic and it’s wonderful to have had John McDouall Stuart’s great, great, great grand niece to open it.”
Christine May, chairman of Fife Historic Buildings Trust said: “The apartment is an ideal stopping-off point for those walking the Fife Coastal Path.
“We’re hoping to attract visitors from Australia who would like to share in John McDouall Stuart’s heritage and gaze out on the same seas that inspired his desire to travel and explore.”