Over the last decade or so it has become apparent to me, that our Australian Dream has changed. Rather than the desire to own a suburban house block within the metropolitan area and build a dream home, it seems we all just want to live in, or at the edge of a small rural town. We see more and more magazine articles, websites, TV shows and films about a tree or sea change lately than we do about the quintessential Australian suburban dream of the past decades.
About five years ago I moved from the centre of Sydney to what we call in the country ‘the bush’. So, I am enjoying first hand the best and worst of the new Australian dream. The dream to move from the city to a small regional town. In my own case a little further out with 40 kilometres between two towns and five hours plus to the city.
Are we after a more authentic back to basics, simpler lifestyle where we want to wake up in the fresh air of rural Australia with a wider distance from our neighbours and less of a hurried commute to work? Are we trying to escape a lifetime of a hefty mortgage in the city, the pollution, traffic, noise and safety concerns? Do we crave the space to be more sustainable and grow our own vegetables and fruit? And who doesn’t want to raise chickens these days?
Is it an urban myth that life in the country is as idyllic as it seems?
We do have our share of issues in the bush such as fires, floods, dust storms, drought, at times plagues of pests and water restrictions. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to deter anyone from a tree change, but there are factors one should be aware of.
These include the extremes in temperature, awful health facilities, lack of shopping and restaurants and limited artistic or social opportunities. We have to do it ourselves in the bush.
On the plus side though, the benefits of country living are profound. The sense of freedom is immense. We can enjoy four distinct seasons. There is deep peace and quiet, often absolute silence and in the main, a close network of friendly neighbours that create a real sense of community. The space and sky above are larger than life and so breathtaking, which does have an effect on one’s overall sense of happiness. The relief is enormous not being constantly surrounded by noise and so many people. One can just BE…
There are long distances between activities and one cannot always source the provisions you may have taken for granted in a city. After all, it is ‘rural’ living which means sometimes; gravel roads, mud and dust, old houses, snakes and kangaroos on the roads. It is in no way glamorous and we have hot dry winds, thick frost in winter and more bugs than you can imagine.
It is home though and is profoundly quiet. For us the mail comes three times a week and on some days, occasionally other cars go by past and I wave from the garden and think to myself “Yes it is my Australian dream come true”….but don’t all come out here please. So far, it’s the best kept secret around.
Words and images by Di Baker 2018