Because the Carters regularly give parties for friends, they make intensive use of their 60 foot long (18-meter) living room, which includes a fireplace and a covered pond.
The surrounding Gippsland Lakes region includes parks, bushland and some of the country's largest waterways. Bairnsdale, a city with about 15,000 inhabitants, is minutes from the property and the local community is close.
At present there is a museum in the hangar, where Mr. Carter exhibits a huge collection of remnants from wartime, including uniforms, replicas of mines and ration packs. The museum will join us when they leave. "We have not set this up to relive the war," said Mr. Carter. "It's a learning area."
Some of the veterans who hosted the Carters are homeless or struggle with mental health problems. One Afghan veteran named Mr. Carter, despondent, after 19 colleagues had committed suicide. "He had reached a low point," Mr. Carter said, wiping away the tears.
On most nights the Carters keep a campfire burning on a corner of their property. Sometimes the veterans who meet there are silent. But other times, lulled by the fire and the nature around them, they begin to talk about what they remember.
John Cottom, a Vietnam veteran who visited the retreat in February, said he has discovered that psychiatrists can be intimidating to talk about war experiences. Aside from the Carters, retiring the best part of the Cockatoo Rise, he said, is meeting other veterans.
"You can sit down and talk and you do not have to explain things," said Mr. Cottom, who is 71. "You relax and let go of things."