Wamboin, the small rural residential town with a population of 2,000 in the heart of the capital country is just a 20-minute drive from Canberra CBD and a short 10 minutes from Queanbeyan. Offering locals a relaxed lifestyle nestled amongst the trees, the area is oozing with natural beauty.
And I think it might just be the Canberra Region’s friendliest and most socially active place to live; starting with welcoming newcomers with a comprehensive ‘New Resident’s Pack’ uploaded on the Wamboin Community Association website. As new resident and local business owner Tony Mansfield from Contentious Character discovered upon opening the Vineyard doors for the first time, the warm welcome isn’t limited to the online sphere. “Our relationship with the community started when 60 people turned up to support us on our opening day and stayed well after closing to express their support. From that day on I was sold on our community.”
With a passionate inclusive mindset and a jam-packed calendar of events, the Wamboin Community Association President Peter Evans says, “It’s a great and diverse community. There’s lots of community spirit and some really great characters. One of the best things is the regular dinners and BBQs amongst our neighbours and, of course, the serenity.”
“We have a great social calendar and a very active community. The annual fireworks and bonfire night is held in September with around 1,500 people attending; our home produce markets are held every third Saturday of the month from September to June; the Wheels of Wamboin is held in May with over 175 vehicles of all shapes and sizes attending last year; Christmas Carols; and the Kowen Forest Run (half marathon) with over 400 runners three times a year in January, June and September. We have a monthly golf day on our own course across a number of local properties. We also host event nights at each of the local, state and federal elections and the odd movie and curry night. We have a social drop-in group every Thursday for residents. We have a local pony club and a greenway network great for bushwalking, mountain biking and horse riding. The events are for everyone, with many city folks taking a drive in the country to attend.”
Meriel Schultz and her family are one of Wamboin’s ‘early settlers’, purchasing their property in 1979. She said “We have always enjoyed the community and the generosity of spirit that prevails. I’m English by birth, Lance is from the Barossa, and three of our four children were adopted from Sri Lanka and Vietnam, so we are a multicultural Wamboin family. Multiculturalism is alive and well in Wamboin and the kids had a wonderful upbringing.”
Meriel now runs the popular Wamboin Market saying, “we have between 20 – 25 stalls a month with a number of regular stallholders. Some of the stallholders are local and some come from further afield in the shire. We try not to have commercial products, just homegrown or cooked and craft that is handmade. We have people with fresh garden vegetables and fruit, honey, eggs, cakes, biscuits, scones – you name it. Recently a number of young people have joined us with their home cooking or their music, raising money for their school trips or just making a bit of pocket money. Craft ranges from beautiful jewellery, for example, we have a young man who makes his own glass beads and then sells them as bracelets and necklaces; and we have a local lady who used to mine for gems with her husband and has some stunning precious and semi-precious jewellery to sell. We have knitted goods, crocheted goods, and handcrafted teddy bears. We have a beautiful lady who is a pharmacist by profession, who makes her own natural remedies. Then, of course, there are all those lovely jams, pickles and preserves that people make from local produce, and that’s what I’ve started to make.”
To highlight the natural beauty of the area, and at the same time raise funds for the Wamboin Rural Fire Brigade, a group of local runners, the Wamboin Trail Runners, host the Kowen Trail Run. This series of three events is spearheaded by organisers Pam Muston and Peter Komidar. The last event in June attracted 450 entrants and to date has raised over $21,000.