Quiet cul-de-sacs, charm­ing old homes and a retro roller-skat­ing rink – the Queens­land sub­urb of Stafford is brim­ming with charm

Real Living (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

“Stafford has a bit of a sleepy, retro feel, which was a big draw­card for me”


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 Imakey­

“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”


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.”


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.”


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.”





(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 Sho­prachel­


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