The Sticks.

by Lori Dwyer on April 29, 2013 · 8 comments

I find myself occasionally feeling as though I have to defend my decision to live contentedly here in TinyTrainTown– in the sticks. Semi–rural. Bush. ‘All the way out here’.

Each and every courier, tradesman or journo who’s ever come to the TinyTrainHouse comments on how far away it is from anywhere. How very small the town is. How they’ve never even heard of TinyTrainTown before. The tradies who get lost on the way here are always the most disparaging, their good humor eaten up by un-curbed roads that seem to stretch forever and all kind of look the same.

“How did you come to live out here…?” People are generally mystified as to why anyone would want to live where I do. I stare back at them, equally bemused, amazed that they’re unable to see what I see.

I guess it’s true, it might seem slightly isolated. TinyTrainTown is at least an hour and half drive from Sydney. We’re fifteen minutes from the nearest service station or major supermarket, probably forty minutes from any larger stores or services.

The road into town is eight kilometers of scrub and barely used train tracks. The population tops about 700 people (and that seems an over-estimate, really). As I’ve heard said, TinyTrainTown is so small it ‘doesn’t even have a pub!’

The town is not particularly quaint or pretty. It’s so nondescript that you could literally drive through it and not realise you’d been here. The mobile reception is nonexistent, and even the land-line home phone and ADSL internet crackles and drops out terribly if it happens to be raining. Or windy. Or, you know, Wednesday. Whenever.

But that’s the worst of it. The tarnished view of the penny, the dark side of the moon. There’s always more to things than that. And if nothing else, I tend to be an optimist.


It’s quiet here, peaceful. There is no din of constant traffic, no continual thrum of people. I like that. When I was little, growing up in Paradise, it was so quiet at night you could hear the rumbling boom of thunderstorms far out at sea. I remember, as a child, staying at a relative’s house in the middle of the city suburbs and being unable to sleep for the never ending noise coming from the streets outside. The cars. The horns. Music. People. It’s never quiet, not really. You get used to it, I know that. But I’ve grown accustomed to the silence again. The only thing that desecrates it is the occasional passing car.

While the town itself is nothing much to look at, the scrubby eucalyptus bushland of the national parks that surround it are soul-soothingly pleasant. A thousand different shades of green. There are parrots and cockatoos, possums and sugar gliders. Sandstone caves and tiny creeks. Snakes and spiders, too, of course; but I don’t think any kid is really that much worse off for having a basic knowledge of them (‘basic’ rather than ‘intimate’ being the key wording here).

People know people, in TinyTrainTown. While I’m never really been a rah-rah-community-spirit kind of person and I tend to keep to myself, I know my neighbors by first name and the local shopkeepers by sight.

We actually do have shops here, though they’re as easy as anything else in the town to miss. Three of them, in fact- a fish and chip shop; a small supermarket; and post office/newsagent/grocery/DVD hire. All the shops are overpriced and sell short-dated stock at the tills, but you can still get all the basics you need. 

We walk to the shops, most days, when we’re not in a hurry and the weather’s favorable. Some days we walk home from daycare and school. The round trip never takes longer than half an hour by foot, no more than four minutes by car. If it takes longer than two minutes to drive there… it’s probably not in TinyTrainTown.

It’s safe here. It feel secure. It feels like a wholesome place to bring up small children. And most of the time, it’s just a nice place to be.

None of this seems to sway anyone’s opinion. “Yeah but, love… it’s just so far away!”

I find the only answer anyone gets is in the language everyone seems to understand.

“Uhhhh… The house prices are cheap. Three bedroom house, big backyard…”

And that makes logical sense to most incredulous tradesman who’ve made the hour trek to TinyTrainTown. It’s easier to see the appeal in that; in choosing between a tiny flat or a huge mortgage an hour closer to the city, or having a house of my own and dealing with the occasional inconvenience of living ‘all the way out here’.

I made the right choice– I rarely ever doubt that. It’s just other people, I find, that take some convincing.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Fiona May 2, 2013 at 8:56 pm

I don’t think I could do it, but it sounds liike it suits you and your little family so well xxxxx


katrina April 30, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Sounds just perfect to me! We were at Kangaroo Island on the weekend where my husband grew up. I know he’d love to move back there and bring the kids up the same way he grew up. He loved it. I would in a heartbeat if it wasn’t for my own family. I couldn’t be that far away from my mum/sister/brother/niece/nephew…. or them from my kids and I.
Maybe one day we’ll all make the move!
Enjoy your peaceful place in this world. It sounds wonderful!


Griff April 29, 2013 at 7:22 pm

Give me ‘way out there’ anytime Lori. I’m well and truly over hustle and bustle. However, as you know, ‘the big smoke’ now has an attraction for me ;)


Prue April 29, 2013 at 7:12 pm

I got the same response when I moved from Adelaide to Roma in Qld. I moved there for work reasons but I LOVED living in the country. Horses grazed across the road from my house. The shops were closed from midday Saturday until Monday morning. It had a main street. When the floods came through in February 2012, I went and volunteered at the RSL, making sandwiches for flood victims. It’s the shameful truth that I’d never have bothered to do that in the city.

I love and miss living in the country but people just so not understand the appeal. When I told friends in Adelaide I was moving to outback Qld, the resounding response was “WHY??”. Now I live in Perth deep in suburbia and wait for an opportunity to move to the bush again.


Miss Pink April 29, 2013 at 5:19 pm

I love where you live and would trade convienence and being near “stuff” for the space and peace and quiet a million times over.
Actually, I want to buy out that way. Mr Black is on the fence, but he can’t pass up the prices and the space. Really. He can’t. And I am trying to get him to see that being near shops really isn’t that important.


Bronnie April 29, 2013 at 5:08 pm

I am thinking of moving to somewhere smaller and further away for some of the same reasons. I get it, I really do.


Lyndal April 29, 2013 at 1:31 pm

this makes me giggle (becuase it is SO TRUE of much of the area) … along with the ‘oh i know where so and so suburb is, we used to go down there for a holiday, or long weekends!’


Whoa, Molly! April 29, 2013 at 10:04 am

Tiny train town AND Paradise both sound wonderful. here’s something to be said for being surrounded by nature. There’s something to be said for cheaper housing too…

I live in a decidedly larger small town, but it’s a big change from the middle of Sydney where I spent the last decade. I was priced out of Sydney myself, but I love the amazing natural area of the place I live (also an hour and a half out of Sydney, but I think in a totally different direction.) Being able to afford my own place, being able to hike into the bush and on the rocks and to the beach, it’s something I never had in Sydney. My friends were confused at why I wanted to move to Little Beach Town, being the total city-heads they are, but I’m pretty happy here….

For now, anyway.
Whoa, Molly! recently posted…‘Strong Women’: I hold these ladies responsible for who I turned out to beMy Profile


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