Words by Rosemary Baldry – Health service manager with Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District. Published photographer and writer and active member of Blue Mountains branch of Fellowship of Australian Writers. One of the first residents of Buena Vista with her devoted hubby and soul mate, Rog (celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary this month). Proud mum of Richie (living and working in London) who was born and raised in Buena Vista. Rosie’s first love is family and friends. She is a close member of our Fresh Perspective Landscapes family.
Welcome to Buena Vista Road.
Every block has a bush view, many back onto bush and some look over bush to Sydney. At night the city sparkles like a jewelled bracelet on the horizon. A mopoke calls and we relax to the familiar sounds of the bush; a mother possum carrying babies on her back, wallabies, lizards, snakes, and yabbies in the creek. We wake and the pre-dawn laughter of kookaburras has given way to a chorus of birds; crimson rosellas, king parrots with fluoro green stripes, rainbow lorikeets, red-browed finches, and sulphur crested cockies breakfasting on the seeds of grasses.
Buena Vista Road was first settled in the early 1970s. Young people with hopes and dreams scrimped, saved, and finally started building on their piece of paradise in the beautiful Blue Mountains. First one house, then another, a couple more and before long there were half a dozen houses spread around the street.
In those days Winmalee was sparsely settled. There were no roundabouts or traffic lights on Hawkesbury Road; mobile phones, Winmalee Shopping Village, Winmalee High School, Ellison Public School, the skate park were future developments.
Meantime the young people were getting to know their neighbours. Living in ‘the sticks’, with limited services and few ‘tradies’, they pooled their talents and supported each other, shared cement mixers, laid their own paths, landscaped their gardens with azaleas from Rotary fund raisers and hopeful cuttings from families and friends. Mostly one car families, when an ‘old banger’ failed, they relied on neighbours to get to the train for the long commute to work. More young couples moved into Buena Vista and we were blessed with babies and children. Street playgroups sprang up forging close relationships between parents and children that last to this day. Children started school, joined sports teams, artistic groups, bush walking clubs and with their parents enjoyed the wider Blue Mountains community.
In the bush eucalyptus grew tall, shading ferns. Red grevilleas and golden wattle bloomed while mountain devils, banksia men and gumnut babies thrived.
Disaster struck on a hot dry spring day in October 2013. Buena Vista Road was ravaged by bushfires. Fortunately there was no loss of life. Many homes were completely destroyed, others severely damaged. People lost beloved pets, possessions, treasures, photos, and memorabilia. Every resident felt the pain, anxiety and suffering that engulfed our community. We came together supporting friends and neighbours and received support from communities in the wider Blue Mountains and around Australia.
The long hard road to recovery began. Homes were rebuilt, others repaired, and some blocks were sold. Eventually neighbours started moving in. The bush had already begun rebuilding: new saplings, green and red tips on trees and shrubs and wildflowers bloomed again.
Four years on and not only the bush has rejuvenated. Our friendly Facebook page displays photos of recent events: house warmings, street Christmas parties, Halloween, residents past and present catching up, children laughing, playing, splashing in paddling pools, decorating cup cakes. Offers of spare seedlings, free lemons, requests for help, equipment needed are all reminiscent of the early days of the street.
The Buena Vista community has dug deep and recovered.
© Rosemary Baldry, October 2017.
Rosemary Baldry was a “second Mum” to Kath Buczynski, co-owner of Fresh Perspective Landscapes, growing up in Buena Vista Road. Although Kath moved away for many years, and was not living in the street when the fires came through in 2013, the news still hit hard as her old family home was destroyed. Now that she has returned to Buena Vista Road with Luke and their girls, Rosie and her family remain a huge support to the Fresh Perspective Landscapes family, and we thank her for this beautiful contribution to our business page!
Bush backyards are a speciality of Fresh Perspective Landscapes – we like to keep the integrity and feeling of living in the bush while bringing modern elements in to complement the style and make use of the space. If you’d like to discuss your ideas for your own bush backyard, give Luke a call 0434 355 066 to book your FREE initial consultation and reinvent your outdoor experience today! Click HERE for a list of our services.