I will start by confessing (again) that I am not a Winter person. I don’t like to be cold and I don’t like bare trees. So why on earth, I hear you say, have I chosen to live in Daylesford? I must admit that I wonder this exact thing each and every Winter…and then, when the first buds burst on our grape vine, and the tulips open, and the birds are in full choir as the sun streams down on my family while we work in the garden, I am once again reminded of exactly why I choose to live in this beautiful town.
I have lived in Daylesford for a number of years now. I fell in love with it when I first visited around ten years ago and I always felt a very strong connection to the area. I used to drive down from Sydney regularly to stay with a friend and every time I drove through the Wombat forest I felt very emotional. I always put it down to being tired and living in Sydney, having a high stress job, drinking too much on weekends (and during the week if I’m honest), and so on. Regardless of the various reasons I conjured up, the feeling was there, it was consistent, and it was strong, strong enough to make sure that I bought a home here.
When I started looking for a property in the Daylesford area, the very first place that I went to see was in Shepherds Flat, approximately 10 minutes from town. It was 20 acres, no house and on a steep hill. I didn’t know why I was drawn to that area as I had no prior connection to it, it would have meant that I needed to build a house and also work the largest portion of the land. As my husband and friends said at the time, what the hell are you thinking?
Thankfully I was talked out of that purchase and ended up buying a very run down little Victorian house on Wombat Hill, the place we now happily call home. Every time I drive past that long road up to that block of land on the way to Lavandula, I remember the feeling I had about it.
Just two weeks ago my mother called me from Queensland to ask me to look up a little place called Shepherds Flat for her on the internet. After explaining that it was just down the road and the place I went to look at that block of land originally, I asked her why she wanted to know about it and it turns out that Shepherds Flat was the place where my great great grandmother (Clara May Long) was born in 1883. This revelation gave me goosebumps and after all of the years I had moved around, I suddenly felt like I’d found my home. There was a reason for the way I felt about this area, there was a connection, a past.
Since then we’ve also discovered that my great great grandfather was born in Ballarat, where I gave birth to my son, and another great great grandfather immigrated across from Ireland and settled in Maldon, just 25 minutes from here. What’s more, despite our family being in Queensland these days, both my sister and myself have both settled in this area, with Shepherds Flat being the halfway point of our two homes.
This information has consolidated and validated how I had felt about this region from the very start, and I now feel even more blessed to be living in such a beautiful area, so rich with history, life and family.