Living in Braidwood

jasmine 14 December 2009 36


We are thinking of moving out to Braidwood for a lifestyle change, possibly with one person still working in Canberra for three days per week. Not sure if he would get sick of the drive on each of those days – probably over an hour each way.

Has anyone lived in Braidwood or currently lives in Braidwood that can provide some information about the town, the people, the happenings, the schools, job opportunities and the climate. Housing prices seem to vary considerably from very cheap to about the same as Canberra for an average 4 bedroom house. We quite like the idea of buying an older character home or building a new ‘character’ home.

Any information about living in Braidwood would be greatly appreciated.

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36 Responses to Living in Braidwood
jasmine jasmine 3:26 pm 01 Dec 10

Thanks for your comments I-filed. There is always a risk with any move that the ideal or the romance of the idea may not marry with the reality. I am an amateur artist and writer (nothing sold or published though) and only recently a ‘downshifter’ to a lower level public service role (an eye opener in itself). Maybe with all that I will fit in and ignore the snobbocracy aspects as best one can in a small place. 🙂

We are also looking at places like Narooma, Eden, Moruya and to wider areas like Trentham area (VIC) and even Warrnanbool or Mt Gambier but alas the latter two may be too far from our kids.

I would be interested to hear from business people how business fares in Braidwood generally. I expect the food industry would fare better than perhaps the arts or other retail. Do people make a reasonable living (or even just a sufficient living) in business in that area. How much of the business would be local compared to commuter?

I-filed I-filed 7:34 pm 28 Nov 10

As an ex Braidwood resident, I can tell you it’s pretty typical of country towns – scratch the surface and the bohemian layer is pretty thin. There’s still massive squattocracy snobbery, which is amusing, because Canberra senior public servants who move to Braidwood expect to be at the top of the tree and they are looked down on more than a little. If you’re on a real farm (maybe 5000 acres) it’s an amazing place to live. If you live in a little house in town it can be pretty boring.

Any Canberran knows the shopping strip pretty well already, as well as the locals. There are no fabulous surprises, say, for diners.

If you’re after cultural substance, better be engaged in the activity as a practitioner. That’s Braidwood’s strength: lots of great writers and artists. But they’re pretty cliquey and of course the established “immigrants” are annoyed by the parvenues!

jasmine jasmine 4:37 pm 28 Nov 10

I have only just read these newer comments after being offline for a while. Thank you Spinney Woods and Hannahfyre for your ‘on the ground’ feedback. Braidwood locals always come across as friendly and inviting when I get chatting in the shops. It has a great feel and not to far away from the big smoke (Canberra) and the beach. We drove through yesterday and it was still lovely and green all was in full swing with the quilting exhibition.

Thanks again for your comments – we are keeping an eye out on the real estate pages but won’t be moving anytime soon due to our youngest now in Year 12 – hopefully we can do some re-thinking in 2012.

Spinney Woods Spinney Woods 1:42 pm 13 Apr 10

P.S. Up the Duffy said … “it will take 30years to be excepted as a Local and become part of the community” We found quite the opposite actually and were accepted by everyone with open arms. Not what we expected at all having experienced some other small towns. I guess maybe it depends on the people you want to socialise with. We’re musicians so blended into the music crowd straight away and 2 yrs on we feel like we’ve been there forever.

Best move we ever made !!! :o)

Spinney Woods Spinney Woods 1:27 pm 13 Apr 10

Hi Jasmine, I have lived in Braidwood for just on 2 yrs now and commute 5 days a week to Woden. It was difficult at first because I was only driving a terrible old Triton Ute with no aircon and it was costing me a fortune in petrol. But I’ve since bought a little Getz and the drive is now a breeze. It takes me on average 1.15 to 1.30 hrs depending on what time I leave and roadworks etc. However this is getting quicker with the changes to the hwy at the Captains Flat turnoff and will get even easier once they complete the duplication at Jerrabomberra onto the Monaro.

The frost have never been a problem on the road and in 2 yrs I’ve only ever encountered one Kanagaroo. The drive is actually really relaxing and the Kings Hwy is a great’s only the idiot drivers that ruin it but for the most part I’m on the road on my own. My only big concerns are on what I like to call F*ckwit Friday when the mass exodus happens from Canberra to the coast and the race is on to get there 10 minutes before everybody else – regardless of who they put in danger in the process. But if you can leave Canberra around 3pm it’s not so bad.

All in all, the lifestyle in Braidwood is worth every second on the road. And to those doubters who think we’re just a town of rednecks, you keep thinking that and hopefully you’ll stay away. Braidwood is actually the best kept secret in Australia and we like it that way.

Hannahfyre Hannahfyre 9:23 am 10 Mar 10

My partner and I moved to Braidwood 6 years ago. I commuted to Canberra for work 5 days a week for the first three years. It was a hard slog but it was worth it to be able to establish FyreGallery and invest our time and energy in bringing one of the grand old 1850s buildings on Wallace St back from the brink of decay…(still very much a work-in-progress). We run our suite of businesses (Hannahfyre Enterprises) from our building thanks to the on-line connectivity of the web and strive to support local food, music, retail and cultural life here because it all works at a more human scale with only 1,000 residents in town.

jasmine jasmine 11:17 am 09 Feb 10

Thanks for your comments mossrocket.

Good to hear from someone who lives in the town.

The commute is a concern for my husband and for me (on his behalf). I would get work in the town and would do some writing.

We have put it off for a bit. My youngest finishes school next year so we may re-think it when the young ‘uns are off our hands.

mossrocket mossrocket 3:21 pm 02 Feb 10

I’m a Braidwoodian….

I moved there to get away from the price hikes in Canberra (We moved here just after the Canberra fire)

We were able to save a large amount of money by moving, and my wife was able to secure work in Braidwood.

Unfortunately, 6 years on, I’m still driving to Canberra 5 days a week… The savings I made on a house purchase (my house only cost $160K) won’t be spent on fuel, but the time it takes to commute is really getting to me now. My days are 12 hours long, and in winter the drive really, really sucks.

I bought a motorbike to get to work slightly faster – but this loses it’s appeal around March, and doesn’t feel like fun until November….

There are 170 house and land packages available in Braidwood… They’ve been available for a couple of years now, and will be available in another ten… The developer cashed in, but before a block was sold, so he’s laughing – but Braidwood cannot cope with any influx of people – definitely not 170 families…. We don’t have the water supply (the now not running Shoalhaven) the sewer system is FAIL, the council is broken, and we are ignored in preference of the richer Palerangians from Bungendore…

There isn’t much to offer the young professional – you’ll need to commute.

The IT infrastructure is poor – ADSL2 is only available through Telstra (if you use an alternative ISP they need to get your access from Telstra and will charge you a $50 charge extra per month).

Yes we have sports – I’m a coach of one of the teams… – but once a child gets ANY good, they will need to move to Canberra to train.

We have culture coming out of our ears no doubt, theatre groups, artists, bands, Urban Landcare, tango lessons, etc – but it’s all very much the same people in every group – and I still don’t really feel like a member of the community – but as I commute to Canberra every day it’s my fault I guess…

Braidwood Bakery – bought by Goulburn Bakery a few years ago – is no longer worth visiting…

Braidwood Deli – far better than the bakery – but this too has gone downhill since it’s sale (btw – everything is for sale in Braidwood every couple of years – so bide your time and you could buy any of the shops you want…

Dojo – Matthew is an AWESOME Baker – his bread is very, very good – but how many of the commuters know he’s down the alley next to the Vets?

The Health Care isn’t First Rate – Several times we have required medical assistance and have been told to go to Canberra – by the Braidwood hospital.

There’s a lot of Woo in Braidwood – I guess that makes up for the lack of doctors… If you’re into that sort of thing you’ll love it – We have our share of Iridologists, Reiki Practitioners, Homeopathetics, quack a doodle doo….

hmm – the sky is filled with stars… we get the sea breeze at 5pm, and we’re 45 minutes from the beach… awesome if you don’t need to work…

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 8:48 pm 31 Dec 09

I always thought the name ‘Braidwood’ originated from a bunch of drunk farming lads trying to plait their erect penises.

jasmine jasmine 12:50 pm 31 Dec 09

I agree Aurelius…rent first is the best option. Try before you buy as I imagine if you bought and hated it then it would take a while to sell. The prices in Braidwood seem a bit high for a country town although there are a few do-upper bargains cropping up now and then.

Aurelius Aurelius 9:48 am 23 Dec 09

The best advice here so far is the person who said to rent there first.
Properties do not move quickly in small towns. It would be a tragedy to buy a place, decide after 6 or 12 months that the plan was a poor one, and then spend 2-3 years trying to sell – and that timeframe is not unrealistic.
My partner was in love with Bungendore. Until we lived there for a year.

Up The Duffy Up The Duffy 1:18 am 16 Dec 09

I thought Canberra was a village, and you want to move to eer that. well at lest you can get good fresh bread but it will take 30years to be excepted as a Local and become part of the community. You could try marring into to place but I don’t think that applies to you.

I,ve been out off Sydney 5 years but all my friends there still keep in touch and it only took a few years to get to know them in the first place.

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 5:06 pm 15 Dec 09

pegsbooks said :

I see no-one commenting lives in Braidwood. I do, and have done the commute. Winter is hard for commuting, and I recommend staying overnight and doing just two days a week in Canberra. Many people do commute, and car-share. There are no cheap houses in Braidwood, but it is a lovely place to live – 2 primary schools and the public one goes to Year 12. A childcare centre and preschool, about 65 active organisations, sporting and cultural, a fabulous golf course, bowls, tennis (competitions), massive soccer commitment for kids (240 families involved), other codes of football for adults, squash courts (and comps), an extraordinary cultural life available with no less than 3 theatre groups/companies which put on regular and high grade performances, regular classical music recitals (4-6 a year) at ‘Mona’ and the Anglican Church, a half dozen galleries and active Braidwood Regional Arts Group (BRAG), an arts business which has 150 students of local musicians (drums, guitar, piano etc), very little crime except the yahoo element after the pub now and then, and first rate health care and facilities. Major or serious health needs are met with an ambulance service (3 fulltime staff), but although some services are fortnightly or monthly (women’s health nurse, podiatry, Relationships Aust, dietician, etc) we have two male doctors close to fulltime and another woman doctor once a week, and a simply wonderful hospital (minor matters and after-surgery care, special care unit for palliative care), hostel and nursing home, Bendigo Community Bank branch and outlets for Commonwealth and Westpac – and a really friendly and welcoming community all round. I moved from Canberra to Braidwood 13 years ago, work from home now, and couldn’t be more contented. If you must have opera or city theatre, there are always people who travel to Sydney or Canberra, carpooling, to do so. We have an active Transition Towns movement here, with many people moving into climate change mode one way or another, and teh Urban Landcare group has just acquired land for a community garden on the Commons beside one of the creeks. The skies are filled with stars, the winters are a few degrees colder than Canberra, and the sea breeze does in fact come in late afternoon (occasionally dropping temps by 10 degrees, but more commonly by 5-6) much of the time, and though we have heatwaves, these usually don’t last more than 3-4 days. You can always go to the local pool, or as locals tend to do, out to our own special places on the Shoalhaven.
You’d be wiser to build a home that suits this climate with all the improvements of modernity – like insulation in the walls, proper orientation, etc.
But it is worth renting (difficult – there is heavy demand) for a while to see if you like the place and can handle the commuting needed. Otherwise, it is a great place to bring up kids, or to live out an older age, or anything in between! Good luck.

That’s a great post (I’m serious).

Although, I hope you don’t miss out when the next shipment of paragraph returns arrives in Braidwood (I’m not so serious).

sloppery sloppery 4:47 pm 15 Dec 09

jasmine said :

I didn’t hear any duelling banjos out there last week. 🙂


Jokes aside, it’s a really nice town. If you can manage the commute, it could be a really interesting lifestyle change. It’s also only about 45mins to the beach!

jasmine jasmine 4:41 pm 15 Dec 09

I didn’t hear any duelling banjos out there last week. 🙂

jasmine jasmine 4:41 pm 15 Dec 09

Thank you very much everyone for your input. Thanks pegsbooks for a first hand rundown.

It is a major decision and we are still mulling over the idea. It was either Braidwood or Yass and Braidwood is tops purely because we have always liked the town, it is close to the coast and is not as dry as Yass (possibly). We often go out there for lunch and drive around the streets looking at the houses for sale.

Renting first sounds like a sensible option and one we have thought about. My hubby is lucky that he works from home but has to see clients from time to time.

Some food for thought anyway.

sloppery sloppery 2:27 pm 15 Dec 09

I’ve got one word for this: Deliverance.

Funky1 Funky1 1:34 pm 15 Dec 09

My brother just bought in Braidwood and commutes to Canberra 5 days a week. Moved the family from Sydney and rented for awhile until something suitable came on the market. Salary packaged a small fuel-efficient car for the commute and his wife keeps the larger family car for ferrying the kids around.
Must be something in it if after the try before you buy (renting) period they wanted to stay and made the commitment.
Horse for course I suppose.

jackal jackal 1:21 pm 15 Dec 09

I did it some years ago, my partner wanted a tree change but the commute was brutal for us as we finished work late (6-7pm), so in winter it was dark and cold. Weekends were great except when there were things on in Canberra which we would have liked to have gone to but could not be bothered driving for two hours (it’s a solid one hour each way). There is no piped gas so it’s gas cylinders which is annoying. We would like to have a house there as a weekender, it’s a beautiful town with some lovely people. Not much in terms of dining which is a shame. The road is quite wretched but a lot of people do commute and don’t mind so it’s up to you. Three times a week could be manageable.

spinact spinact 11:03 am 15 Dec 09

The road between Canberra and Braidwood isn’t all that terrible! What makes it bad is the thousands of idiot Canberra drivers heading to and from the coast.

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been stuck behind some moron who rides his brakes around EVERY corner, can’t stick to one speed and then who speeds up when there’s an overtaking lane, I’d have $63.

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