Story of a new resident
With a freshly brewed coffee from The Hatch I sat down with Kylie and her daughter Erin to uncover what it was about Maitland that drew their family to the area.
The Rankin family moved to Gillieston Heights in January. The move was something they had been contemplating for some time. They had experienced several day trips to the area, visiting the delights of Morpeth and taking part in the Free Art Sunday activities on offer at The Maitland Regional Art Gallery and just fell in love with the history and relaxed lifestyle in such
'an up and coming and progressive city'.
In April last year they won the Sydney Weekender Steamfest prize. In their eyes, 'the time spent here in Maitland over the course of that weekend really sealed the deal for them'. Part of the prize included a train journey through the beautiful countryside, which is now the same countryside Kylie gets to drive past every day dropping her son off at school and it just takes her breath away. Kylie fondly recounted a story her son excitedly told her about reaching out through the fence from the school playground at lunchtime and patting a horse. Kylie said that was certainly something he'd never experienced at his past schools and it was this type of relaxed country surroundings they were seeking.
'Maitland has all the big city conveniences amidst a welcoming small town feel'.
They have not had to travel further afield to get anything they need since moving in January and say they will never move back to the busyness and chaotic lifestyle of the Central Coast or Sydney. Living on the Central Coast prior, the Rankin family really felt as though Gosford had become an extension suburb of Sydney, becoming faster paced and busy. Her husband Andrew was able to transfer his position from one of the Central Coast stores to a local one based here, their daughter was able to transfer her vocational education campus and they found an ideal school in the area for their son. Everything just fell into place and the Rankin family haven't looked back since.
Kylie spoke about the little things that she has noticed and loves about Maitland;
'hearing the church bells chime while grocery shopping at Pender Place, seeing the hot air balloons from the Hunter Valley out of their living room window and enjoying the quieter, slower pace and lifestyle'.
Kylie and Erin are keen shoppers who love to op shop. They love being able to sustainably utilise clothes and find a unique item to wear that you won't find in mainstream shops. They enjoy hunting out vintage records to play on their record player of old and rummaging through book exchanges to take home a pre-loved tale or two. Kylie and Erin spoke of the eclectic mix of antique, pre-loved and op shop options in both The Levee and Morpeth to satisfy everyone's tastes.
The Rankin family relish in the rich history of Maitland and after seeing their enthusiasm and speaking to them about the little things they love really got me thinking. On my walk back through The Levee I really took in my surroundings through fresh eyes and appreciated the unique and heritage scenery that's around us every day, which we just seem to become acclimatised to. As we parted ways the ladies headed off into one of the op shops to see what treasures they could find...
I found myself sitting on a beautiful scenic property to chat about what prompted the Amidy family to relocate from Merewether to Lambs Valley. And I can see it all around. The laid back country lifestyle. The space to breathe. The family had a sea to tree change, trading in the sand for rolling green hills. Originally, the family moved from Merewether to Broke, but then decided to relocate to Maitland for a variety of reasons: school opportunities for their children, its location to their work with the expressway close by whilst being able to live a rural lifestyle close to convenience and amenities. Renee stated;
'we love the peace and tranquillity of the area whilst having the comfort and convenience of local amenities'.
Their property at Lambs Valley provides their kids with the space to grow and pursue their interests, some of which include riding motorbikes and horses. The privilege of being able to live a peaceful, rural lifestyle without missing out on any of the offerings of big city living, such as going out for dinner, heading to the movies or taking the kids to an after school activity, has not escaped the Amidy family and is something they are extremely grateful for.
Renee chatted about the amazing cafes in Maitland and commented how they love catching up with friends over coffee. Renee shared her favourites around the city, which include Vintage on Melbourne in East Maitland, Common Grounds in Morpeth or Black Label Espresso at The Levee. With three young active kids, the Amidy family take full advantage of the facilities on offer in Maitland, bundling bikes in the car and heading to Walka Water Works on weekends. Renee said,
'It's such a beautiful rustic and industrial family friendly destination to visit, relax and enjoy'.
The kids love to ride around the lake and or walk and explore the grounds, taking in the surrounding nature, excitedly watching turtles and ducks swim in the lake.
The Maitland Regional Art Gallery is another favourite facility which the Amidy family enjoy visiting as well as the regular markets, leisurely strolling the Sunday markets at the Showground or grabbing some local produce at the Earth Markets at The Levee. After talking with the Amidy family I came away with the impression that they had settled into the area and were proud to live in Maitland with its 'authentic community feel'.