This is not what we normally do. We’re not usually that adventurous or brave or crazy. But then, thinking about, maybe we are…
Fourteen years ago, we moved our lives across the world from the UK to Australia with three small children in tow (soon after to become four). Then I ditched my well-paid career to become a writer (a slow, challenging, sometimes soul-destroying, but truly amazing journey—that’s a whole different story). So I guess, when you look at it, buying a dilapidated village in the middle of nowhere wasn’t that out of character after all.
We only looked at it once. That was all it took to fall in love. I always wanted to move to the country and buy a historic property, but my vision was more colonial mansion or miniature Downton Abbey—a ramshackle pioneer village surrounded by scrubland never figured in the life plan. I don’t know what most enchanted me. Perhaps it was the 130-year-old church with an original picture of its first bride still pinned to the wall. Maybe it was the graveyard filled with a hundred life-stories. Or perhaps it was all the historic treasures buried in the piles of rubble. But the moment we saw the place, I knew I had never wanted to buy a property as much as this.
And so our journey began…the day we bought a village.
We don’t really know that much about the village or its history yet. We believe the original church was built in the 1890s, but it was too small for the community, so they built a second church together with a schoolhouse.
There is an early settler’s cottage, which is half tumbled down and full of treasures. There’s a graveyard. A well (which I think someone may have fallen in and died). There are carts and farm machinery everywhere. Then there are the pioneer buildings brought in when the property was briefly a museum—a post office, a drapery, a garage and a carpenter's shop. And that is just touching the surface.
The village is beautiful. It’s filled with history, treasures and stories and surrounded by nothing but wombat sanctuary. What more could anyone want?
We want to save this special place. We want to preserve the history. We want to discover the stories behind the people who were part of the original community. And we want, one day, to make the village our permanent home.