On the rise: Liv­ing in a his­toric coun­try flour mill



FOR A COU­PLE OF ac­com­plished ren­o­va­tors, the old flour mill in Car­coar in NSW’S Cen­tral West wouldn’t seem an ob­vi­ous choice for a new home. The paint on a ma­jor over­haul had barely dried when Belinda and Stephen Sat­terth­waite de­cided to “have a stick­y­beak” one af­ter­noon. “As soon as the real-es­tate agent started show­ing us around, Stephen and I were look­ing at each other,” Belinda says. “At the end of the in­spec­tion Stephen said we wanted to make an of­fer and we hadn’t even spo­ken to each other yet!” The Sat­terth­waites were clearly smitten. For re­tired mine worker Stephen, 56, it was the me­chanic’s garage for the cherished BSA Golden Flash mo­tor­cy­cle and FX Holden re­stored by his late fa­ther — plus an ad­di­tional shed for craft­ing his metal sculp­tures — that caught his eye. Mean­while, Belinda, 55, was en­tranced by the prove­nance of the prop­erty that in­cor­po­rates two build­ings. The first is the flour mill, which was built in 1850 and had drawn wa­ter from the river that bab­bles be­hind the gar­den. The sec­ond is Har­gans Cot­tage — a 1920s three-bed­room weath­er­board built on the foot­ings of a de­mol­ished sec­tion of the mill. “We’ve ren­o­vated be­fore, in­clud­ing an old stone house in Bro­ken Hill that won her­itage awards, but I’ve never owned a prop­erty that has re­ally ever ‘been’ some­thing,” Belinda says. “The mill has all the orig­i­nal floors, doors and beams — there are even names carved in the walls — so it has that sense of his­tory we both love.” Nes­tled in a pretty val­ley at the bot­tom of a steep mount, road signs de­clare Car­coar as ‘The town time for­got’. Grand build­ings from its gold-min­ing glory days have been clas­si­fied by the Na­tional Trust and the Belubula River me­an­ders through the cen­tre, pro­vid­ing a scenic pic­nic spot for those who chance to stop half­way be­tween Bathurst and Cowra. But the Sat­terth­waites had their own his­tory to con­sider be­fore mak­ing the move to Car­coar. In nearby Millthorpe — a vil­lage pop­u­lar with week­end tourists and the cou­ple’s home for 20 years — they had a house, guest ac­com­mo­da­tion and Belinda’s suc­cess­ful home­wares store, To­molly. Ini­tially she and Stephen had planned to just sell their house and ac­com­mo­da­tion and open a sec­ond smaller store in Car­coar. How­ever, Belinda de­cided that to sim­plify their lives and main­tain the per­sonal cus­tomer con­tact she loves, she would close the shop at Millthorpe and put her trust in Car­coar’s fledg­ling re­tail re­vival (see page 106 for more on To­molly). “Now on my days off I have spare time to en­joy with Stephen,” she says. “We go for drives sourc­ing old wares for the store or I’m happy at home bak­ing and just do­ing things I haven’t had time for over the past 10 years.” Har­gans Cot­tage is now home to the cou­ple’s chil­dren (Tom, 23, and Molly, 21), while Belinda and Stephen are en­sconced in the mill. “It’s not some­thing that would suit ev­ery­one but be­cause our kids are older it was the per­fect ar­range­ment for us.” Af­ter crunch­ing through the en­closed grav­elled court­yard, inside the mill you’re met by a black steel stair­case that leads to the bath­room and mez­za­nine-style main bed­room. >

“I lay here some­times and have to pinch my­self: ‘Is this re­ally my house?’ Belinda says. “We were so lucky, we walked in and the bones of what I re­ally love — black floors, white walls — were al­ready here. It was my dream home.” Her sec­ond favourite spot is the com­bined kitchen-din­ing area — a light-filled ex­ten­sion built where the mill’s en­gine room had been. Seated at the large tim­ber ta­ble, the cou­ple look to the gar­den where pep­per trees re­mind them of grow­ing up in Bro­ken Hill. “We met when we were just 15,” Belinda says. “We trav­elled around Aus­tralia for many years — Stephen worked in the mines and I was a nurse — but both our kids were born in Bro­ken Hill.” How­ever, sen­ti­men­tal­ity had no place when it came to dec­o­rat­ing: “The mill has a more in­dus­trial feel so a lot of my fur­ni­ture just didn’t suit.” Many pieces came from To­molly and re­flect Belinda’s min­i­mal­is­tic style but rus­tic el­e­ments, such as the bed­side ta­bles hewn from the flour mill’s old iron­bark beams, are Stephen’s hand­i­work. As are the painstak­ingly con­structed basalt rock walls in the gar­den and the cre­ative sculp­tures he welds from old cut­lery and scrap metal. Come sum­mer, the cou­ple look for­ward to dips in the river, long walks with Dusty, their en­er­getic red heeler, and the slower pace their new home af­fords. “At night you can open up the win­dows and there is noth­ing more tran­quil than the sound of wa­ter run­ning on the rocks,” Belinda says. “It feels like you’re a mil­lion miles away from ev­ery­thing.” For more de­tails, fol­low @to­mol­ly_­car­coar on In­sta­gram, tele­phone 0417 426 472 or visit to­molly.com.au

Belinda Sat­terth­waite out­side her hus­band Stephen’s work­shop. He crafts sculp­tures out of old metal that are now sold in Belinda’s shop, To­molly. FAC­ING PAGE MRD Home pen­dants hang above a vase from Bi­son and Otti Made ce­ram­ics on the ta­ble from Stone Pony. Belinda fash­ioned the wreath from twisted grape vines. For stock­ist de­tails, see page 143.

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