Seven years ago, I moved to a small country town in the Central West of NSW. Initially, I had preconceived ideas and prejudices which have mostly turned out to be, well, preconceived ideas and prejudices. I had no idea what it would be like. I freely acknowledge that each town is different and, honestly, some I really wouldn’t want to live in at all. However, if you choose the place carefully, it is a delight to live out west.
Millthorpe, where I chose to live, is a gem of a town. It is located between Orange and Bathurst which makes it a much sought-after address. It has quaint cottages which give it that old-world charm and the functioning railway station makes it one of the more accessible villages to reach. Our hatted restaurant, Tonic, attracts people as far away as Sydney and weekends can feel a tad busy down the main street. On weekdays, however, the place reverts to a sleepy little village where people walk dogs, chat to one another, and enjoy the slow pace. People look out for one another here and no one is considered an outsider. It is genuinely one of the most welcoming places I know.
While most shops and amenities are further away, it doesn’t take long to get to them. Traffic is mostly non-existent. I drive 20 minutes to get to work which for most people in the city is considered a short commute. My drive is scenic and I am blessed to be surrounded by nature. Whether it is cows on a hill, frost on the grass or swans in a dam, the bucolic charm never fades.
Another thing I appreciate is the quietude. I am one of those people who needs oceans of silence each day. I can listen to bird song, the rustling of leaves or the occasional bark but I don’t cope well with traffic noise or loud people. Here, my nights are dark, silent, and restful. Now and then, there is a storm with heavy thunder and lightning, but I find that a welcome release.
When there are no clouds in the sky, the stars are so much brighter than in the city. Even the moon seems bigger. It comes over the horizon as a large, illuminated ball breaking through the purple, orange and pink sky that heralds our sunsets. Dawn and dusk are magic in the Central West and makes even the most unsentimental among us gasp in awe.
While I know that I will probably not stay for ever, the Central West will always have a place in my heart. I love the quirky, earthy humour of the locals, the defined seasons, my gorgeous worker’s cottage. This is a place where I have felt more accepted than anywhere else I have lived and I have made life-long friends in a short time. It is the place where I have been given the freedom to write, where I have found love and where my soul has been given time to heal. Looking back, it is hard to understand why it took me so long to make the move.