What it’s like to live the contemporary country dream south-west of Sydney - Laver

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What it’s like to live the contemporary country dream south-west of Sydney

Tue Apr 2

Positioned on what’s now known as the Old Hume Highway in Sydney’s south-west, Picton was once a key stop on the well-trodden path between Sydney and Melbourne.

While the town was bypassed by a new stretch of highway in the 1980s, its historic features, natural beauty and friendly community continue to attract both road-trippers and those seeking out a slower pace of life.

On Argyle Street, Picton’s commercial hub, 19th-century buildings are dotted between modern shops and trendy cafes, like Moses Barnes and Picton Social. A short walk south, heritage-listed bridges – including a sandstone railway viaduct built in the 1860s – extend across Stonequarry Creek, which winds its way through the town.

It was this picturesque setting and the desire for a peaceful country lifestyle that drew Wendy Shone and her partner Rob to Picton almost a decade ago.

“I always loved Picton,” Shone says. “It has the rolling hills and quietness and quaintness … it just ticked all the boxes.”

In 2015, the two moved from an apartment in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire to a character-filled 1915 house a short walk from the centre of town.

Having previously worked in the finance industry, Shone now runs her own floristry business, Blush & Blooms, from a studio at their home. She sources flowers from local farms, including Jonima Flowers in Yanderra and Thornton Bros in Thirlmere.

“We head to the flower market once or twice a week, prepare the flowers and create a wedding every week,” Shone says.

When not working, Shone takes her two dachshunds on walks to the Picton Botanic Gardens, visits the boutiques on Argyle Street and frequents local eateries like La Crema Cafe and the George IV Inn, one of Australia’s oldest hotels.

When she needs to venture further afield, an hour’s drive – give or take – can get her to inner Sydney or to the Southern Highlands town of Moss Vale, where she regularly delivers flower arrangements for weddings at Mali Brae Farm.

“Picton’s an hour from anywhere,” Shone says. “We’ve got friends and family in Wollongong, and in 35 to 40 minutes, you’re down towards the beach, which we love.”

Part of the Wollondilly Shire (or “the Dilly”, as it’s known by locals) in the Macarthur region, Picton was home to a small population of around 5200 people at the last census.

That number is soon set to grow, with a new residential community being developed between Stonequarry Creek and Menangle Street. Stonequarry Residences will bring 48 new townhouses and three free-standing cottages to the town.

Buyers will have a choice of five townhouse designs, with a range of layouts on offer to suit different needs, and won’t need to pay anything beyond a deposit until their home is complete.

“We’ve simplified the whole process; everything is a full turnkey solution,” says Sam Elbanna, a director at sales and marketing firm Laver Residential Projects.

With around half of the 18 townhouses in the first release already sold, Elbanna says the initial response to the development has been positive.

“It’s been very well received by locals because they see it as a really good alternative to buying a house,” he says. “We’re giving them a style of home that sits between a brand new house-and-land package and an apartment.”

Elbanna says Picton’s green open spaces, relaxed rural lifestyle, affordability and proximity to Sydney and the coast are proving to be key drawcards.

“It’s got a lot of that old-school charm,” he says. “It’s a real genuine country town – it has every modern convenience you could want, but it just feels very safe and nice and quaint.”

Full articles here by Domain.com.au

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