Quiet cul-de-sacs, charming old homes and a retro roller-skating rink – the Queensland suburb of Stafford is brimming with charm
“Stafford has a bit of a sleepy, retro feel, which was a big drawcard for me”
WHERE WILL I FIND IT?
A predominantly residential suburb, Stafford is roughly 18 minutes’ drive (12 kilometres) north of Brisbane’s city centre. Stafford sales specialist Hayden Owens from Madeleine Hicks Real Estate says it’s that proximity that’s the kicker. “From the bus routes to the train stations in close-by suburbs, it makes getting from point A to point B very easy,” he says. “You also have the Clem Jones Tunnel, which will get you to the airport in 20 minutes, so you don’t really have to drive very far for any major amenities.” Add to that a shopping centre, cinema, several parks and sporting fields, public barbecue facilities and the fact you’re only five kilometres from not one but two major hospitals and you’ve got a suburb that’s every inch a less-hidden-by-the-minute gem.
ARTISTS ARE RENOWNED FOR carving out a space of their own. From Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe in their 1960s New York loft to Coco Chanel’s Parisian atelier, a creative mind needs room to grow. Which is exactly how Rachel Burke, 29, her husband Thomas, 30, and their two pooches Daphne and Daisy ended up in Stafford, in Brisbane’s northern suburbs. “We fell in love with the house, and the studio was another drawcard,” Rachel says. “In our previous rental property I did all my making on a tiny couch… so to have a whole room is an absolute delight.” Having worked with brands like Uniqlo, Bonds and the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art, Rachel draws daily inspiration from her craft room. “It’s where I flesh out and create all of my work, from tinsel jackets to masses of pompoms. Just by looking around, I can be inspired to create something new or reminded of a sweet memory.” Stafford often features in Rachel’s work, which is all on display at Imakeyouwearit.com.
“I love how relaxed it is and how many beautiful old houses still remain in the area – it makes doing impromptu photo shoots very easy!” she says. The couple looked at nearby suburbs Wooloowin, New Farm, Wavell Heights and Nundah, but are happy to have settled here. “It just felt like home,” Rachel says. “One of my favourite things is taking the dogs for a walk along the leafy streets – it’s always so quiet, the perfect way to unwind.”
“With new cafes and gyms moving in, Stafford is on the rise”
WHAT WILL YOU FIND THERE?
Over 70 per cent of the dwellings in Stafford are stand-alone houses, and the community prides itself on its retro past. “The Stafford Skate Centre and squash court are pretty iconic!” Rachel says. “As is the bowls club.” With a heritage-listed state school and a smattering of Queenslander-style homes, the area won’t lose its vintage feel any time soon. But that, of course, is all part of the charm. “Stafford also has a lot of parkland and bike paths that residents really love,” Hayden adds. “It makes for a close, family-friendly community.” While Rachel hopes a local bar is on the way soon, she’s content in the knowledge she’s invested in a strong up-and-comer. “With new trendy cafes and gyms moving in and industrial business moving out, Stafford is on the rise,” Hayden confirms. “It has everything you need on your doorstep.”
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Brimming with post-war homes on quarteracre blocks, the area has a decidedly ’50s feel. A lot of the original residents remain, but there’s been a recent influx of younger people. “I’ve been seeing a lot of young professionals who are looking to start a family moving into Stafford,” Hayden says. “This has a lot to do with the access to great schools, but it’s also due to the strongly built homes they’re getting for a great price and then renovating into something really beautiful.”
WHAT ARE THE PEOPLE LIKE?
Once called Happy Valley, Stafford and its locals still stick to the idiosyncrasy of the original moniker. “It is a really happy, friendly place,” Rachel says. “There’s a lot of scope for new cafes and eateries to open and hopefully as more people move in, this will come.” With 64 per cent of residents singles and the median age sitting at 34, the area’s set to flourish over the coming decades. For potential buyers, Hayden has one piece of advice: “Go for it. Stafford is a fantastic area with endless potential.” Rachel adds, “Don’t be afraid to buy an old house and give it a bit of love! It’s the best thing we ever did.”
THE NUTS AND BOLTS* [ POSTCODE 4053 ] MEDIAN HOUSE PRICE MEDIAN UNIT PRICE MEDIAN HOUSE RENT MEDIAN UNIT RENT $600,000 $356,250 $420 $355 PER WEEK PER WEEK
(4) 1 Rachel likens entering her craft room to “stepping into a page of my visual diary. I love how stimulating it is.”
2 Neighbourhood cafe Nana & Da’s serves all-day breakfast and lunch, and welcomes children of the two- and four-legged varieties. 3 A collection of framed photos and artworks hang on the living room wall. “Every piece has sentimental meaning for Thomas and I,” Rachel says. 4 Rachel’s tinsel jackets and dresses can be purchased from her site Shoprachelburke.com
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