A Strathbogie retreat is a city visitor's dreamCATHY WALKER January 14, 2014 4:20am
Halcyon Hideaway is popular as an artists’ retreat; the artists have no shortage of scenery to paint.
When the native birds briefly stop chattering, the visitor to Halcyon Hideaway is immediately struck by the noise. There isn’t a sound.
It’s that solitude that has attracted guests to this eco-friendly retreat, where solar replaces grid electricity, water is from a spring-fed dam, the windows are placed to catch the breeze and the view of the Strathbogies goes on forever.
The property is the brainchild of 24-year-old Amy Dainton, who first thought of a country retreat when her city friends came to visit the family cattle property Seven’s Creek Wagyu and enjoyed chores such as feeding chooks and livestock, picking fresh vegies and stocking the firebox.
‘‘They were things I took for granted but people loved it,’’ said Ms Dainton, who, with her vision on its way to completed now describes herself as ‘‘a glorified house cleaner’’.
Halcyon is set in a valley on a 25
Her father Boyd helped Ms Dainton design and build the timber guesthouse that is a prototype of sustainable living and includes timber milled on the property.
It boasts wide decks upstairs and down to capture the view, and Ms Dainton has a few hand-reared sheep and weaner cattle for visitors to pet, plus a henhouse and a vegetable garden that’s a work in progress.
‘‘My goal is to have enough vegetables that people can pick their own dinners,’’ she said.
She’s been amazed by how fearless the city kids can be, picking up chooks and carrying them around, even taking them inside.
‘‘It’s like they have an instant rapport.’’
With her background as a journalist, Ms Dainton has put her skills to work marketing the property, including online and by contacting schools and other groups in Melbourne such as Writers Victoria where she had to give a speech. ‘‘I was trembling in my boots,’’ she said.
As it’s evolved, there are often groups of ‘retreat’ people at Halcyon during the week, and families on the weekend, in the four-bedroom house that sleeps up to nine.
But Ms Dainton said her love of animals may dictate further expansion. Foundations have been laid for a wildlife sanctuary, while a new horse makes two.
‘‘The real motivation was I always wanted to have a zoo,’’ Ms Dainton said with a smile.
Not sure if she was joking.
Water has been returned to Kinnairds and Black wetlands to help with their revitalisation after bushfire damaged them in February.
More than 2200 people have signed up to show their support for a campaign to have the green route chosen for the new Yarrawonga Mulwala bridge.
Members of Murchison Book Club are hosting a literary lunch with Vivien Achia, author of Marrying Italian — When Love is Not Enough.
Matches were split up over Good Friday and Easter Saturday throughout the region.
Painter Ben Winspear and Scott Wileman will create new works as the public look on during the at Rochester Art Exhibition.
Kyabram Bombers have the chance to beat Rochester under light for the first time this Friday evening.
Lions star recruit had a tough introduction to the GVFL.
Tocumwal's Don Elgin is aiming to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland
Eighty residents at a forum determined the Heathcote Community Plan was on track but need some fine tuning.
Cobram skate park hosts skateboarding and music for youth week.
Senior state minister Adrian Piccoli reaquainted himself with Deniliquin yesterday, leaving Deniliquin Counil hopeful it has an ally in him.
With his blue eyes and snow-coloured coat, Nanneella horse Sinatra has looks worthy of a fairytale.
Fourteen-year-old Benalla girl Jaimee Linke will launch her debut novel next month.
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