Archives

Cycle the Goldfields

Image: Tread Harcourt

If you really want to experience our region there’s no better way than on a bike.

Cyclist of all ages and abilities are spoilt for choice with sensational bush bike trails, touring options and kilometres of exhilarating, scenic road riding. And now, with a world class mountain bike park in Harcourt scheduled for completion towards the end of 2017, we’re about to take it up a notch.

Backed by the Victorian Government, the Harcourt mountain bike park will provide up to 34 kilometres of trails for all abilities with stunning views in a natural forest setting. Built to International Mountain Bicycling Association standards the park is expected to attract 100,000 visitors each year.

It’s an exciting development for our region: great for tourism, great for jobs and yet another fantastic way to fill in your spare time if you’re lucky enough to live here.

But our region has long been a popular destination for cyclists.

Image: Tread Harcourt

The iconic Goldfields Track which stretches from Ballarat to Bendigo winds its way through the district and we’re only a short drive from Bendigo’s trail network. In March this year the upgraded Maldon to Castlemaine Rail Trail was officially opened, a leisurely, scenic 18 km trail running between the two towns alongside the heritage Victorian Goldfields Railway. You can even pit your speed and skills against the train at the annual Race the Train event each November.

We’re renowned for our single track riding, with loads of great, well promoted trails to find yourself, or you can talk to a local and get them to send you in the right direction.

One local who’s always happy to talk about cycling is Peter Grant, owner of The Bike Vault in Castlemaine. Peter grew up in the area and he and his brother and business partner Gary Grant will celebrate 10 years in business this year.

“I think what cyclists love is that we’re close to Melbourne so the cycling is accessible but because we’re out of the city it’s safer,” says Peter.

“The road riding is excellent. The roads are quiet and there’s anything from undulating loops around Castlemaine to longer rides out to Maldon, around Baringhup, to Harcourt via the reservoir at Golden Point. There are so many options.”

“The Maldon Rail Trail is a fairly easy ride so it’s good for all abilities and if you pick a day when the train is running you can ride one way and get a ride back on the train, which is great for families” he says.

“If you’re trying the Goldfields Track, I think the best part is between Mount Franklin and Vaughan Springs, it’s a really great flowing area that’s easily accessible.”

The Bike Vault has bikes available for hire and they’re offering readers of the Waller Realty blog a unique deal. Come to The Bike Vault and mention this article for 50% off the cost of hire. What a great way to experience the region!

If you’re coming to the area we even have our own bike friendly accommodation. Tread Harcourt offers unique cycling-centric accommodation close to everything. They can sort you out with maps of the local trails, take you on a tour, organise a shuttle and help you really make the most of your stay.

You could also check out: Castlemaine Cycling Club Castlemaine Rocky Riders

Advertisements

Nurturing our newest mums

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, a perfect time to celebrate a place that nurtures new mums in our region, Castlemaine Health.

Castlemaine Heath has a long history of providing birthing services to the women and families of our community. Offering a safe, homelike environment with three modern birthing rooms, a team of experienced and dedicated midwives and the support of a network of local GP Obstetricians.

The Family Birthing Suite suits women with a low risk of pregnancy and birth complications.

“We offer a comfortable, safe, friendly space to birth in a natural way,” says Cate Wotley, Maternity Enhancement Coordinator at Castlemaine Health. “We have double beds and en suites so partners can stay and women can bring in any support people or props they want.”

“Our approach is woman-centred. It’s all about enabling them to birth naturally, instinctively and actively in a safe space with good support,” adds Cate.

The team of midwives at Castlemaine Health work closely with a group of GP Obstetricians based in Castlemaine. Women see their GP throughout their pregnancy, coming in to the hospital several times to attend ante natal classes and have routine scans and tests. A woman’s GP is present at every birth.

“Research has shown that having a known carer throughout pregnancy, labour and birth is really important,” says Cate. “For women in our community that’s their GP Obstetrician.”

Once baby is born women tend to stay on in hospital for two to three days. If they want to go home early, midwives will arrange for additional home visits so everyone gets the support they need.

New mothers are linked in with the local Maternal and Child Health service when they come home from hospital and, if they need it, support from services like the Australian Breastfeeding Association, counselling and mother and baby services. They’re also linked in with the many local parenting and play groups.

“We have an excellent network of support services for new mums and young families in the community, says Cate. “And because we’re small we all know each other really well.”

If you’re planning for a baby or already expecting and would like to know more about the Family Birthing Suite at Castlemaine Health call the Maternity Enhancement Coordinator on 5471 1471.

Waller Realty is proud to have supported the Family Birthing Suite at Castlemaine Health for more than 20 years. We’d like to wish all the mums in our community, especially our new mums, a very happy Mother’s Day.

 

 

Sold in just three days

For the owners of this property at 10 Maclise Street in Castlemaine the decision to sell was a quick one. Keen to get the best possible price for their family home of 12 years they contacted Tom Robertson from Waller Realty.

Tom was able to visit and appraise the property immediately and within days had presented them with a price they felt reflected current market value and a marketing strategy that showed how well he understood who to target and how to attract motivated buyers. He also offered advice on some quick cosmetic changes that would add to the appeal of the home.

Interest in the property from several parties was immediate and the home sold after only three days for over the listed the price.

The owners were thrilled with this result – if a bit shocked by how quickly it all happened! They were full of praise for how Tom handled the whole process.

If you would like to speak with Tom about your property contact our Castlemaine office on 03 5470 5811, call Tom on 0408 596 871, or email him at tom@wallerrealty.com.au

Pristine Californian Bungalow

Cowling is a classic Californian bungalow in Castlemaine Victoria, which was originally built in the early part of the twentieth century and historically owned by the Cowling family. In 2005 it was lovingly renovated with an emphasis on updating the space for modern family life without losing the original character and period features of this charming home.

The house presents a huge flexibility in how the owner uses the space. The front portion of the home consists of a hardwood floor veranda, grand entrance hallway, large master bedroom, two extra bedrooms, bathroom, a formal sitting room and formal dining room which are connected by original wood folding doors and feature original fireplaces. The current owners have used the formal sitting/dining rooms as workspace, but they could very easily be used as bedrooms, reception rooms or a combination of both. Through the second hallway the modern north-facing addition adds a large open plan space with a lovely sun filled kitchen, dining room and living area with French doors out onto the patio and garden. A family bathroom and laundry with ample storage and pantry space lead out through the side door to the carport. New air-conditioning and heating units have been installed throughout the home, 11ft high ceilings, carefully chosen wall colours and beautiful timber floors add to the feeling of space and warmth.

Little Houses built by a big-hearted community

Little Houses, Berkeley Street Kindergarten, Castlemaine. Photo: Christine Sayer.

A unique interactive installation exploring how homes and people make a community brings the early learning sector to the Castlemaine State Festival for the first time.

The Little House Project is the initiative of accomplished central Victorian artist and specialist in early learning arts teaching, Ann Ferguson.

In early 2017 Ann and Kaori Fujimoto ran workshops with 180 pre-school children in the Mount Alexander Shire. Using the Victorian Early Years Learning Framework themes of Being, Belonging and Becoming, the children explored their connection with family and home by creating their own little clay houses.

Cutting, stamping and painting their tiny clay creations, the children also played with pre-made ceramic houses and soft clay, creating their own streetscapes and towns and sharing stories about home, environment and community.

Now glazed and fired, the little houses will become an interactive installation at the Castlemaine Art Museum for the duration of the Festival; a place where children and adults can play and build their own tiny towns.

This is the latest evolution of the Little House Project, something Ann has been working on in one form or another since her time as a specialist teacher at the University of Melbourne in 2004.

Artist Ann Ferguson and pre-schooler work on the Little Houses, Berkeley Street Kindergarten, Castlemaine. Photo: Christine Sayer.

“I’m delighted by how well everything has come together,” says Ann. “I’ve been extremely well supported by the community, from the pre-schools, kindergartens and childcare centres to LaTrobe University, the Festival team, my assistant Kaori and local craftsman Mark Anstey who built the table for the exhibition, everyone has been just fantastic.”

At the completion of the exhibition and the Festival, the little houses will return to the centres as resources for ongoing play and exploration of the theme.

“This ongoing work is just as important as the exhibition,” says Ann. “While the exhibition will be beautiful, by taking the houses back to play with in their own spaces the children will be able to continue to explore the ideas of being, belonging and becoming and what they really mean to them.”

The Little House Project

Castlemaine Art Museum

14 Lyttleton Street Castlemaine

18 – 26 March 10am – 5pm (closed Tuesdays)

Free

Waller Realty is pleased to be able to provide financial support to The Little House Project.

The Little House Project is part of the Festival’s ASCEND* education program. *ASCEND – Arts, Society, Community, Education, Nurture, Development.

Landmark Property in Burnett Road

At the door of the house who will come knocking?
An open door, we enter
A closed door, a den
The world pulse beats beyond my door
Pierre Albert Birot

Pine Hill Castlemaine

Probably named because of two Bunya Pines (Araucaria Bidwillii) and Hoop Pine (Araucaria Cunnighami), these with three Funeral Cypress and several Cabbage Tree Pine Hill is a gracious historic Castlemaine home. Built by Samuel Kelsall in 1862 Pine Hill lies on prize acreage at 9 Burnett Road, Castlemaine, just a hop, skip and a jump from Castlemaine’s Botanical Gardens.

Once you pass through the ornate gates, decorated with peacocks, walk slowly up the winding drive that leads to the period homestead.

Stop to feel the energy of this space and reflect upon the stylistic elements of this home. It features typical gables, an asymmetrical plan and a verandah with open-work supports.

The current owners have a file filled with information about the property, the period when it was included in a Australian Garden History itinerary, and the Yandell family who lived here in the late 1800’s.

A.C. Yandell was a native of the town, the son of a pioneer resident and leading public man. He was a consulting herbalist in Mostyn Street, a consistent advocate of Castlemaine and giver to all progressive movements of Castlemaine.

This is a simply designed, stylish home. Each room has retained original features and with them comes a sense of a bygone time. Make sure to check out the recent owners library, find out which were their summer and winter bedrooms and stop to enjoy the delightful ‘garden room’, the perfect place to have tea and read the paper.

Above all take the time to stroll and discover the not so hidden treasures amongst the magnificent, historic outbuildings.

Sustainable living in the heart of Castlemaine

cros7967_bull-st_2

By harnessing the energy of the sun, wind and rain the Bull Street Terraces will have minimal impact on the environment, they’ll also be beautiful, functional spaces to live in and enjoy.

Designed by Crosby Architects, well known for their work in sustainable, residential design, the Bull Street Terraces development is just minutes walk from the centre of town and the train station, making it ideal for people living and working in Castlemaine or commuting to Melbourne or Bendigo.

The development is the first medium density residential project in Australia to be registered with the Living Building Challenge (LBC). The four terrace houses average an over 8 Energy Star rating and are designed to use zero net energy (energy used will equal energy produced on site).

The energy of the sun will keep the terraces comfortable in winter with only minimal heating required even on the coldest central Victorian winter night. During the warmer months they’ll be protected from overheating through good design, orientation, insulation and shading.

Building materials have been selected both for aesthetics and their ability to reduce the homes’ carbon footprint and energy needs. The majority will be sourced from within 200kms of the town. They include timber milled in Ballarat and natural wool insulation manufactured in Melbourne.

Comfortable living over three levels

Built over three levels the terraces comprise a ground floor where living, dining and kitchen areas open out to a front garden to the north and a courtyard to the rear. There’s also lane access and space to park a car.

A large front bedroom and smaller rear bedroom, both with built in robes, take up the spacious first floor alongside a bathroom with laundry facilities. The top floor opens out to a large, north facing roof deck overlooking the street with a roof planter and plenty of storage.

Design that’s part of the community

Geoff Crosby moved his architectural practice, Crosby architects, from central Footscray to Castlemaine nine years ago to bring up his family and develop a more sustainable way of designing and building.

Concerned with the increasing population and urban growth in the town, he sees developments like the Bull Street Terraces as the way forward, integrating medium density new homes into the existing town limits and encouraging more connection with the township, its facilities and surrounds.

This development includes the renovation of an existing cottage and a new stand-alone house.

Please contact Nick Haslam on 0418 322 789 nick@wallerrealty.com.au to discuss the steps involved in buying off the plan and securing your terrace.

A Very Castlemaine and Maldon Christmas

castlemaine christmas

Whether you’re looking for handmade gifts, someone to cook your Christmas lunch or a spot to share some carols with friends and family, our region has it all.

Shop local and handmade

The Castlemaine Artists Market showcases over 40 established and emerging local artists, designers and craftspeople. At this year’s annual Twilight Market on Friday 16 December they’ll be joined by the Castlemaine Farmers’ Market so you can shop for presents and produce from over 100 stalls. While you’re there enjoy some great food, cool tunes, a craft workshop or even a cocktail!

Light up the night

Each night, as the sun sets, we put on a show. Local homes and businesses are transformed by everything that twinkles, glitters and glows. Bundle the kids in the car and take a tour. You’ll find maps in the Castlemaine Mail and Tarrangower Times.

Carol under the stars

Gathering with friends and family and a picnic dinner for carols under about a billion stars is the stuff Christmas memories are made of round here.

You’ll find the Maldon Carols by Candlelight in the Shire Gardens on Saturday 17 December where you’ll hear the Maldon Brass Band and other local artists thanks to the Maldon Lions Club. Castlemaine Carols by Candlelight is the work of Rotary Castlemaine with musical theatre company Three’s A Crowd, the Thompson’s Foundry Band and plenty of other local talent in Victory Park on Wednesday 21 December.

Celebrate with food and music

Whether you’re after something kid friendly or a night out with friends we’ve got you covered.

Take someone special for a meal at the Public Inn, housed in Castlemaine’s Old Fire Station, before the Christmas rush. Sample a local craft beer or cider at The Taproom at The Mill, Castlemaine’s recently transformed historic woollen mill. Or grab some friends and celebrate the return of the Criterion Hotel Castlemaine’s famous Christmas Eve Party.

Want a year off cooking the Christmas lunch? Locals, The Bridge Hotel (who recently won Best Regional Venue at The Age Music Victoria Awards – congrats!) and The Five Flags Hotel Campbells Creek are both open with delicious set menus sure to make your day a happy one.

Be part of a country Christmas tradition

Thought Santa only travelled by sleigh? Think again. In Castlemaine and surrounding towns the man in red delivers lollies and icy poles to excited kids from the back of a ute on Christmas morning.

It’s a tradition that started nearly 80 years ago when the Castlemaine Apex Club would deliver food hampers to families in need. It continues today thanks to the dedication of the Castlemaine Past Apexians and it’s a special part of our Christmas morning that’s loved by everyone regardless of age.

Whatever you do this Christmas we hope it’s a safe and happy one for you and your loved ones, from everyone at Waller Realty.

Service Support and Sincerity

Crevilly

‘Crevilly’ offered buyers the chance to own and enjoy one of Castlemaine’s finest historical solid brick homes. Enjoying  a graceful street profile and featuring an original façade Crevilly offered potential buyers an impeccably presented family home, rich in period detail.

Nick Haslam

Nick Haslam

After languishing in the hands of another agent, once the sale of this historic property was placed in the hands of Nick Haslam at Waller Realty the owners fully appreciated and respected Nick’s service, support, communication and sincerity. They were also delighted that Nick was visibly proactive and was able to seal an appropriate price for their much loved property.

Nick’s reputation for being a determined, hard working, effective negotiator has become well known in this region. If you are seeking a professional, honest and fresh approach towards the sale of your property please don’t hesitate to contact Nick and see the difference he can make for you.

Seachangers and treechangers! Do they ever come back?

Jules Bondy and Meghan Anders (and dog Lottie) are putting their Northcote home on the market and making the move to the country.

I want to live in a place that’s beautiful!” you cry. “There’s too much traffic, gentrification and too many people. I deserve more than grey concrete and my dog deserves more than a postage-stamp piece of grass masquerading as a park!”

So you pop your city home on the market, and move to where the grass is, apparently, greener. If you’re lucky, there’s a bit of ocean blue, too.

Your friends and neighbours promise to visit, and you visualise your new dining room filled with your (no longer) nearest but still dearest, all drinking wine made from grapes that ripened just five kilometres away, and eating free-range ham, goats cheese and olives all sourced from your new neighbours.

But is it time to wake up and smell the (city) coffee? Just how successful is a sea change, or tree change?

“Once you move out of town you never go back!” says public relations manager Tara Bishop. She says this despite it taking four years to “defrost” her local Bottle O shopkeeper on the Mornington Peninsula and actually get a smile back.

She moved from the CBD to near Rye and loves it. But does she know anyone who’s given up and gone back? “No. They all love it. They’re happier, their kids are happier,” she says.

A place in the country, such as this Castlemaine home, has always had its appeal for many people.

Sam Rigopoulos, director of Jellis Craig in Northcote and Rob Waller, director of Waller Reality in Castlemaine, may both lay claim to coining the term “North Northcote” for regional Castlemaine, but they agree on one thing; those who move from the city to the country don’t come back. They are, according to both agents, happy.

“The only ones that really stick in my mind that didn’t work out were when relationships broke up,” says Waller. “And maybe the odd few where they had to move to climb the ladder at work.”

In fact, Waller sees treechangers acting like magnets. “If you look at couples we sold to, you’ll see that two years later you sold to their brother and sister, and then mum and dad will make an appearance, too.”

We tracked down Helen Bodycomb, who, in 2009, told The Age she and her husband were joining the exodus from Northcote to Castlemaine. Update: they held onto their Northcote property until two years ago, realising they would never go back. “We initially thought we’d be here for a year,” she says now. “I was more keen coming here, but after two weeks, my husband said he didn’t want to leave.”

Still, if things do go awry, buying back into the city isn’t so straightforward, and Waller has seen treechangers get stung. “Years ago they’d sell the house in the city and buy something here, travel the world and buy a new car. Then maybe something would happen health-wise, or they’d want to come back to be near the grandkids, and they’d find they couldn’t come back to where they’d come from,” he says.

Waller says people are being smarter with their money. “Now, if they sell a four-bedroom house in Camberwell, they will buy a country property in Castlemaine and simultaneously buy a townhouse in Fairfield, Kew or Richmond,” he says.

Long-time Northcote residents Jules Bondy and Meghan Anders and their two children attempted to move to Castlemaine over a decade ago, but failed.

“I set it up so our Northcote house would be auctioned one hour before the house in Castlemaine,” Bondy remembers. But no one bought the Jessie Street property. There were no offers, so I couldn’t bid and it was sold at auction. That was bad,” he recalls. Ten years later, a now renovated Jessie Street is hitting the market.

“The draw to the north may have ebbed slightly but it never really left. We saw this gorgeous property, like a dream house, not in Castlemaine, but in Mount Macedon – it’s the new Castlemaine!” he jokes.

Bondy, a public servant, will continue working in Melbourne, and is expecting a 48-minute commute on the train to the CBD, while Anders, a primary school teacher, will look for work closer to her new home.

Anders is Melbourne born and bred, but has long dreamed of moving to the country. “Making the leap now has given us such a deep sense of being alive!” she says, though admits the hardest thing will be losing the proximity to friends and family, and the cinema.

Source: Domain article by Jayne D’Arcy

Consistently Personable and Professional

When it comes to selling one’s most valuable asset it is very important to have the right professional working with you. Waller Realty is, without question, the biggest real estate firm in Castlemaine and some people wonder if, because of the size of the operation, they may not get the personal attention they would like.

However, speak to the owners of these two properties and any such fears will be allayed. Both vendors felt that Liz Bell took the time to understand their properties and their personal needs and that her personable approach made all the difference. They all felt confident that she was working for them and that she had their interests at heart.

It is very evident that no matter the property value the feedback about Liz Bell’s work is the same. These vendors will tell you that she is totally professional and that her manner not only instills confidence but removes any stress. Aside from being impressively personable a distinguishing feature of Liz’s work is that goes out of her way to understand properties and to respond to individual needs.

At the end of the day, it is not about the size of a company it is about the personal touch, the depth and range of experience of the agents who work at Wallers.  It is a “terrific, professional operator” like Liz who will remove the stress and make the whole process as smooth as possible.

Liz is well known for her professionalism.  If you are after a professional, personable approach towards the sale of your property please don’t hesitate to contact her and see the difference she can make for you.

Ticks All The Boxes

Good quality real estate agents can be hard to find. As a house seller or buyer it can be stressful dealing with an agent who is not a great communicator. The real estate market is time sensitive, so you need an agent who will let you know quickly where you stand with your current buying or selling situation. It is not surprising, therefore, that when you find an agent who ticks the box on the qualities an effective agent has you will turn to them time and again.

Speak to the vendors who sold this property in Adam Street Castlemaine and they will tell you that their agent, Liz Bell, is ‘worth her weight in house bricks of gold.’

Liz BellLiz has helped them buy and sell a number of properties and, according to them Liz reads her clients needs and has proved to be ‘more than a little bit fabulous’. Not only is she a good communicator but she is proactive, reads her clients and meets specific needs.

Unlike other agents they have used Liz did not waste their time showing them properties that did not meet their requirements, she listened to what they wanted, had their interest at heart, worked within their time frame and closed deals swiftly.

Summer Sales

SummerThere are an number of things to think about before selling your home. This is a time of big change so you’ll want to make the best of the situation to ensure you get the best result possible. If you’re looking to sell over the warmer months there are a couple of things you can do to make your property appeal to a summer buyer.

Maximising outdoor space

It’s easy to let the summer sun get in the way of going some routine gardening but making sure that your outdoor area looks its best is a sure way to capture a buyer’s attention. Your buyers will be looking for a space where they can enjoy the sun so sprucing up the exterior of your home and keeping a high level of kerb appeal will massively improve your chances of securing a sale. Water the grass and garden so it looks lush come inspection time and clean up any outdoor entertaining areas. A lick of paint on fences or a new coat of oil on your deck will freshen up the outside’s appearance.

Keep it cool

Scheduling inspections at the beginning of the day can have two benefits. First, buyers are more likely to venture out house hunting earlier in the morning when they have plenty of time rather than late in the afternoon when the day’s coming to an end. Second, an early inspection will avoid the heat of the afternoon sun. There is nothing worse than a stuffy home so keeping doors and windows open for ventilation or switching the air con on low will make the inside a pleasant place to be on a warm day. Little details like a vase of flowers or a scented candle can also make the indoors a nice place to be.

Summer clean

Forget spring – summer is the perfect time to thoroughly clean your home. If your kids are off school for the holidays get them involved in the clean up. Not only does decluttering add a bit of polish, it can help put you in the right frame of mind for a move.

Our office is open on January 4th
Make an appointment for an appraisal.