Resident artist and silversmith was recently approached to write about her experience of living in Tyalgum, to be published in the upcoming edition of ‘Northern Exposure’. Here’s what she has to say about our village:
“I moved to Tyalgum some fifteen years ago, having spent the previous decade working and traveling between Sydney, Chicago, London and Dublin. What a welcome change to all that! Years earlier, when I was still a uni student in Brisbane, I used to do the trek to Byron Bay quite regularly, as my ‘getaway’. Each time I made the drive alongside the majestic, sparkling Tweed River, I’d look out to my right at this stunning blue mountain outline and lush green cane fields in the valley below, and I’d say to myself: “One day I’m going to live there.” And funnily enough, the mysterious turns of life brought me here, to the Heart of the Caldera.
Over the last eight years or so, my village has blossomed into a vibrant little destination for daytrippers from up and down the coast. What was once a sleepy little village now boasts its own café with fabulous organic, barista coffee, a coffee micro-roaster, fashion designer, local illustrator, a number of art galleries featuring works from talented local artists and photographers, an eco store, fashion and gift stores, ultra-elegant High Tea Room, Friday night pizza and live music and now also monthly artisan markets.
It’s really lovely to be able to have old-fashioned markets with stalls in and amongst the existing shops and business grounds; the day adds colour and vibrancy to an already colourful village, and brings with it a sense of community, as elders teach children how to weave, young local musicians sing amidst an array of gourmet treats and handmade treasures, all by local artisans and craftspeople.
And everything is just so gorgeous! The main street is lined with a collection of quaint federation buildings, from the pub on the corner [which happens to be one of the last existing country pubs and has been operating since 1926] right through to the now famous Tyalgum Literary Institute Hall, a beautiful building circa 1908, from local cedar felled from the area. The Hall boasts stunning acoustics and has been host to the famous Tyalgum Classical Music Festival for over 20 years, as well as seasonal music and dance spectaculars presented by Hearts Aflame Productions. I’ll never forget one recent show where the guest performer, the unbelievably talented and gorgeous Tim Draxl, opened the show with the words “Last night: Sydney Opera House, tonight: Tyalgum Village Hall”. And he had the time of his life, as did we!
Each building in the main street has many a story to tell, and often we get to hear delightful anecdotes from visitors and locals, that their grandma was a seamstress in what is now Paddington of Tyalgum, or that House of Canelli was the poolroom, amongst other things. Flutterbies Cottage Café was originally the town’s bakery, with the butcher next door in the Little Shop Next Door. In the early 80s, the bakery was converted to a pottery studio, the potter using the old baker’s ovens as his kiln. Which, by the way, if you visit the café you’ll find that the amenities are now in what was once the kiln / oven, making for a very unique bathroom decor! I’ve heard many a visitor turn to their friends and say, “you HAVE to check out the bathroom!”
The General Store, another fabulous heritage building, is also our local Post Office, so popping down to check the mail or send off parcels is a daily delight, enjoyed either as a leisurely stroll or, if I’m in a hurry, a swift cruise down the hill on my bike. The best days are when the local coffee ‘dealer’ is roasting his beans, the intoxicating scent wafts through the air and tantalizes one’s desire to pop down for a fresh brew. He stocks some of the world’s most exclusive beans, including the elusive Jamaica Blue. Speaking of blissful aromas, if you visit Tyalgum in the spring you will think you have died and gone to Heaven! The air is thick with the heavy scent of Jasmine and Orange Blossom for many, many months, and you find yourself breathing ever so deeply to draw in the rich scent.
Flutterbies [or ‘Flutters’ as it is known to the regulars] is the best little café you could hope for in a village. Locals pop down on horseback for a cuppa, and the northerners have been known to drop in by the occasional helicopter! Often, we get the wonderful vintage car groups out for a Sunday drive; they line up their much-loved beauties down the main street for us locals to enjoy, whilst they tuck into a hearty country lunch.
For a small country town, there is so much to enjoy here. Walking to the local weir is a treat, you can sit and listen to the crescendo of the waterfall amongst the ducks, cows, turtles and even the odd platypus! You can catch a round or two of tennis, go have a luxurious facial or massage at the Wellbeing Centre, get a tarot reading, or simply sit back in the sun on the front porch of the café and enjoy the uninterrupted rural views. There’s Tai Chi in the park for the early birds, and at various times of the year you can visit local organic farm Summit Organics and enjoy guided tours of the Garden of Light.
What I love most about Tyalgum is watching the visitors roll in, all buzzed up and loud from their city lives, and as they settle for a cup of tea and some wonderful home-baked scones, you can see the hustle and bustle fall away, as they melt into the deep peace and tranquility of the landscape. There’s something magic about Tyalgum, and people can feel it.”
Kirra Springs –Osiris Jewellery, Tyalgum
Osiris Jewellery studio workshop will be opening soon next to Paddington of Tyalgum, and will be joined by local musician and book aficionado Hoel Durand, who is establishing a culture shop – concentrating on books, music and film, providing quality literature, a great children’s section, and books for developing creativity. Hoel’s passion is creative writing and poetry, and he is excited to bring to Tyalgum a literary experience, including workshops and classes with writers and professionals, book clubs, play readings and the like. A touch of Charing Cross Rd right here in Tyalgum!