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Escape from the city to a magnificent, idyllic retreat: Live the ‘tree-change’ dream

The dream of escaping the hustle and bustle of city life and living off the land in a truly eco-sensitive and organic lifestyle is one shared by many but experienced by only a few. For many would-be tree changers, the challenge of growing organic vegetables from scratch or designing the perfect passive- energy home is an overwhelming project.

Just imagine if the hard work has already been done by a pioneering organic farmer and eco-property builder? That’s exactly what is offered in a property situated on the creek flat of the Grange Burn-in easy access of the city of Hamilton, Victoria. Rarely is a modern ‘eco’ home packaged with a thriving organic farm in such a well-situated location, only 800m to the Hamilton CBD.  It is just ripe for the next owner to fulfil the dream of a sustainable lifestyle or organic business from day one. 

This eco-property offers a newly built architectural home and highly-productive, amazingly fertile 4-acre farm, so the buyer can enjoy a simple, sustainable ‘off the grid’ lifestyle while enjoying the benefits of a dynamic regional community just minutes away.

It is currently home to a young family, passionate about organic, zero-waste, sustainable living who are looking to move to expand their horizons and continue their organic farming education by travelling and learning from others.

Hamilton-local Jason Thomas and his family built the home and developed the land into a 4-acre organic farm that is completely self-sufficient and sustaining, providing most of their needs. Power is entirely renewable and stored in batteries, so energy is off the grid, supporting all the technology needs of a modern family home and working farm.

The home is nestled in an idyllic location, mere walking distance to the local community of Hamilton– a thriving regional centre in the heart of the Victorian wool belt. It is close to the historic heritage botanical gardens and nearby Lake Hamilton which boasts year-round recreation activities.

For the naturalist, native Australian wildlife is abundant, including some shy, rarely seen species. From the home’s balcony, you can spy a koala blissfully asleep in the branch of a nearby tree. Wandering down to the creek that runs through the property (feeding nearby Lake Hamilton), it’s common to see a family of platypus swimming and foraging for a tasty yabbie near the footbridge.

For those seeking stress-free, rural life, it provides a rare and much sought after dream of a self-sufficient organic lifestyle and potential livelihood. In the growing season, crops of vegetables, herbs and fruit are abundant, perfect for a productive market garden. The climate is very favourable for organic agriculturalists too with ample rainfall providing year-round irrigation.

Jason and his wife Kelly, both professionally-trained, have now fully embraced the rural lifestyle, and their home has allowed them to grow all their food in an organic, healthy way, care for their children full-time and live a simpler, relaxed lifestyle.

The property is a dream in its flexibility and scalability; for the semi-retired looking for a simpler life, the garden and land can be scaled back to serve the needs of a few. Alternatively, for the permaculture enthusiast and farmer, the property can be scaled up for large scale food production or grazing animals.

Those looking to live accessibly to family or travel to the surrounding Victorian and South Australian attractions will find Hamilton is centrally located; cities, coastal beaches, the Grampian mountain range, Barossa vineyards and bushland are all within an easy driving distance from Hamilton.

The home is architecturally designed to be passive solar for energy-efficiency, regulated heating/cooling and maximising light. This means year-round comfort using the power of the sun, breeze, wood fire and shade. The home still meets all the modern home and business technology needs with a new NBN connection. Being a recent build means there’s nothing to do and maintenance is low.

“As the owner/builder I was able to be hands-on and involved throughout the design and building process, which is crucial with a passive solar home. When you’re trying to achieve energy-efficiency in temperature control, energy-efficiency and lighting, decisions around orientation, materials, heat retention seals, airflow and insulation are important details,” Jason explained.

There is considerable scope to develop the property further. For example, plumbing and electrical provisions were added, allowing for a ground floor extension in the future. “The plan was to add a self-contained apartment to the ground floor of the home, which could be used for B& B accommodation, for example. There are so many ways to expand the home and productivity of this property,” Jason explained.

The property is well regarded and admired in the region, so new owners will find a welcoming and supportive community. Jason has hosted around 200 farm tours, often for school excursions and interest groups learning about sustainability and organic eco-systems.

“We hope the next owners love this place and this lifestyle as much as we do. It’s given us the freedom to live simply, work less, need less, spend more time with our small children and be more conscious about our health and wellbeing. It’s such a tranquil and stunning place, and you can’t help form a deep connection with the land and everything it nurtures.”

16 Pierrepoint Street, Hamilton Vic