As you may or may not know, it has long been the dream (I would call it “the plan”) to live in the country once the kids have grown up and gone their own way. Living in the inner west of Sydney, is lovely, and we have certainly made the most of the restaurants and cafes but the inner city lifestyle can be wearing.
My job has afforded me the luxury of criss-crossing the state visiting Bowling clubs so that has allowed me to see many of the hidden away corners. I fell in love with the East Gresford, Allynbrook, Dungog area about four years ago.
After years of doing what Anna calls “Property porn” (which I call “research”) keeping a close eye on all the property that comes to the market in the area we liked, and doing the occasional “reccy” we have finally found something. I’m no farmer so finding land that you can’t seriously farm can be a challenge, particularly as Anna’s leading stipulation was not being able to see the neighbours. We had plenty of other items on the checklist and though no property was ever going to tick all the boxes, this one comes pretty close.
Bingleburra Rd Sugarloaf (which sounds completely made up) is 6 minutes outside beautiful Dungog. The town has a hospital and a train station which means it is accessible by train from Sydney. It is 3 hours door to door, which of course real estate agents say is 2.5 hours from Sydney (meaning Hornsby). The town is well-known for the Dungog film festival (which is no more) and iconic test cricketer Doug Walters.
Barjol Sth (as it is to be named) is 159 acres, pretty hilly, about 50% cleared, with 4 small dams and two deep gullies. The road forms one of its boundaries and the property is shaped a little like a cashew. We wont be building on it for a while (maybe a few years) but we have a really interesting local architect (here in Alexandria) keen to be a part of the project.
The views both north-east and south-west are amazing, with the Barrington tops just a few Kilometres away, the property is often tucked up in the clouds and it snows most years. (albeit for a day or two) It is pretty much as far north as it regularly snows in Australia. This is kind of ironic as the reason I concentrated my property search north of Sydney and not south was all about temperature.
We are pretty excited about the future, we realise the purchase means that we will be poor for a while, but that’s ok. As I said, I am no farmer. I’m a city boy, I am going to struggle with killing anything. I guess I will learn, as I am completely aware that sometimes killing is the humane outcome. The aim is to live completely off the grid. Or at the very least to reduce the footprint my past 30 years in Alexandria has caused.
Bring it on!