Friday 21st January 2022

My Moving House Stories. Pt.1. 2018.34.

My Moving House Stories. Pt.1. 2018.34.

Maybe I have some ‘moving house stories’ to share because I am 68!

Let’s go. Oh. At the beginning, of course!

All of my houses have been in New South Wales, Australia.

I was born in Wollongong, south of Sydney and lived there until the end of 1959.

This pic taken by me a few years back. Mum and Dad built this house aided by family and friends. I was brought home from hospital to this house in 1949 and my brother nearly 3 years later. I remember every room of that house!

House Move #1: Wollongong to Balgowlah Heights in Sydney (near Manly on the Sydney map). I wrote about that last week here.

Built as a one-off by the owner builders who sold it to Mum and Dad, this house is split level. Living areas as you go in, and you downstairs to bedrooms and more living space and out to…the pool Dad put in for him and the grandkids!!

As a 10 year old what I remember most about the move was the excitement of a house with stairs, starting a new school at the end of the year and how close we lived to the Harbour. It was a great place to live aged 10 to 20 and I will always be grateful for that.

House Move #2: Adult life and graduating as a teacher at 20 meant a move from home. From Sydney to Barraba. Barraba is north of Tamworth on the map. The best part was starting my career as a teacher and having my first class, being in a very social group of staff in a share house AND meeting my husband-t0-be at the end of that year. I also was totally not great at house-sharing. I was wanting to be ‘out and about’.

Share house: with 3 other teachers from Barraba Central. My bedroom at the front (awnings) was a shared one. The school is over the road so it was not far to walk!

House Move #3: Married Life begins as a 21 year old! In a house on a property outside Narrabri and within driving distance of my school and my husband’s. Also pregnant and in my 2nd year of teaching, I was glad to be married to a man who had already set up a home so at least one of us knew what we were doing! It was a lonely time once I had our daughter. My home-making skills became cooking…and eating…and then, after two more years  my husband got a new school, I did too. Our daughter was still a toddler. So another move was happening! I was 23.

Last year my husband took a trip back to where we both taught and lived. Here’s a rundown of Maules Creek:

Maules Creek

Maules Creek is a hamlet burrowed in the picturesque foothills of Mt Kaputar National Park. It is accessed from Narrabri by taking Old Gunnedah Road, crossing the Harparary Bridge and then turning onto the Maules Creek Road to head for “the hills”. The rugged and enchanting landscape hides a deep rich black soil, perfectly suited to farming. As a result, the region harbours some of the country’s leading cattle studs.
Water flows from the mountains, trickling through Melaleuca-lined creeks to arrive crystal clear. Many beautiful locations along the river provide captivating hideaways for picnics or quiet time in the presence of nature. The size and grandeur of the Nandewar Ranges viewed from the Maules Creek area is spectacular.
To the South of Maules Creek is Leard Forest, which predominantly features pine, iron bark and gum trees. Parts of the forest are being mined for high quality coal deposits.
Whitehaven Coal started building its open cut coal mine in the Leard Forest in January 2014. Whitehaven also runs the nearby Tarrawonga coal mine, and Idemitsu operates Boggabri Coal, also an open cut coal mine.

The playground of Fairfax PS where my hub taught from 1968-1969 ( a one teacher school) and then in 1972 & 1973 I taught there as it was a 2 teacher school. Our baby daughter was cared for in the house in the distance by my principal’s wife (her godmother).

Driving from Narrabri to Maules Creek, last year, my husband came to the sign leading to the property we once called ‘home’ Violet Downs. All given to crops now.


House Move #4: The Department of Education paid for our move and it was in the Christmas holidays. We were hanging out in the cool of my parents’ house for most of the school hols but eventually had to drive to the new school residence and school at Merriwagga (Black Stump territory) the heat of Western NSW. Mum came along to help with our young daughter. Mum was a great help but we were soooo hot. Dad tried to send a cooler unit by train from Sydney but there were  none. We ‘did’ survive and Mum was glad to get back to the coast. This home was a very comfy one and we entertained a lot. We even put an above-ground pool in. I taught at Hillston and travelled each day with our daughter in the back, going to the deputy principal’s house where his wife cared for her like she was hers! We stayed there for 3 years. I was 26 when we moved on. Read about Merriwagga and its history here.

The school buildings are now a caravan park. We lived in the residence (not shown) alongside.

House Move #5: My husband’s teaching career was blooming, and my ability to have a second child was not. That was when we got the chance to go to one of most isolated schools in NSW as a teaching couple. He would be acting Principal and I would be his teaching staff, along with some teacher aides from the local Aboriginal community. It was again a move that the Department paid for but we still had to pack and be ready for the BIG truck making the trek of 2 days from the Riverina of NSW to almost the Queensland border, Weilmoringle. The house was elevated like a Queenslander and had some air-conditioners to fight the sometimes 50deg heat outside. I learned about how to cater lunch for visiting Specialists like the late Dr Fred Hollows, as well as how to teach co-operatively with my husband!! Living there was pioneer stuff and as we arrived in late January 1976, with a laden station wagon with us and supplies…so did the flood and we were ‘stuck’ for 10 weeks.

The school building has not changed much. Upstairs: classrooms and office. Downstairs: library, craft spaces. Building in background is a cottage used for visitors to the school and where I taught some cooking lessons. The school residence, not shown, is no longer occupied as our now adult daughter found when she did a trip down memory lane some years ago. Good to see the school is still operating!

This was a most challenging but awesome place to teach but not to live comfortably. Unfortunately this was when my husband’s physical ills became more evident. Clearly we needed to be closer to medical facilities, our daughter needed to go to school where her parents were not her teachers AND it was time for us to BUY a house in Sydney. That all happened by the time I was 28.


Next time I will write about the house moves within Sydney…and of course, the house moves OUT of Sydney!

Just re-reading this I see I moved house 4 times from age 20 to age 28.

Have you moved house much?

What were those moves about?

Tell me more!


Gratefully linking here each week:

Tuesdays with Kylie Purtell for I Blog On Tuesdays here.

Wednesdays with Sue and Leanne for MidLife Share The Love here.

Thursdays with Leanne for Lovin’ Life Linky here.



  1. Wow you have been to some places I havent heard of. Since buying my first home with Hubby, we seem to move about every 5 yrs. I must get an itch or something. I am pretty happy with where we are at the moment but … you never know. #teamIBOT

    • Oh yes indeed. That is the life of teachers who are prepared to be adventurous. Very few will now move out of their home town or city, more is the pity!

      Glad you are happy where you are…for now.

      Denyse x

  2. We moved back and forth between Adelaide, Brisbane and London as a kid. I would have to think a bit to map the years out haha.

  3. Gee you’ve moved around a fair bit. Ironically our biggest move from London to Sydney was the easiest, having someone pack up all our stuff and deliver it door to door was the best! We’ve only moved once since we came down under, and I’m hoping not to have to repeat the experience for quite some time 🙂

    • Yes indeed! We moved around the state in those early years based on B’s career as an up and coming teacher/principal. It was when we came to live in Sydney permanently that his health worsened and he had to medically retire age 30. More to come with Part Two! Each move in the past 3 years for me has been somewhat challenging as I have ‘so many memories’ to either keep or cull. Still have ‘too much’ in some ways but not really ready to minimalize yet. I hope you get to stay where you are content. Denyse x

  4. Oh man, Kel and I moved pretty much every 6 – 12 months (in the same town) when we first moved back here. We’d renovate or build and move onto the next project. It was madness, but it really put us in a position to have a comfortable mortgage when we purchased our own home. Moving, gah, I’d be glad to never do it again. Haha.

    • Oh Melissa, I feel that pain. Sigh. But I am glad you have one of your own…albeit paying it off. I want one of our own again…hope to have one eventually bought outright. Denyse x

  5. What fun memories! Thank you for sharing them with us – along with the wonderful pictures you have of the houses.

  6. You have certainly moved around through your career Denyse. No time to feel stuck in a rut that is for sure. I was born in Sydney and lived there for 30 years then moved to Kiama then up to Queensland. My Primary School Principal came from Narrabri! Thanks for sharing with us at #MLSTL it is lovely to have you join us.

    • You have done your share of moves. I think as young teachers back then moving was part of what you did. We were also bonded teachers (we were paid scholarships at Teachers’ College) and had to go to wherever the Dept of Education sent us for the first 3 years. Things have changed a lot since then and unfortunately not many teachers are as willing to travel and re-locate like we were. Denyse

  7. You’ve moved around a fair bit, Denyse. Does it make it any easier for the subsequent move? Thanks for sharing your stories and photos.

    • Natalie, I think it is somewhat harder as we are aging and the physical strain of a move – packing and unpacking is a challenge. Professional movers did the majority of the big stuff, but we humans tend to have lots of ‘little stuff.’ Part Two of the story will tell of the move away from the city to the coast. THAT was hard emotionally! Denyse x

  8. This is a fabulous post Denyse. I really enjoyed reading about your moves. I hope you don’t mind if I use your post as inspiration for my #A-Z post for letter Q. Will link back to you of course. Have also shared to Facebook #MLSTL

  9. Well, you’ve certainly gotten around Denyse. I guess teaching is one of those jobs where you have to move to progress up the ladder until you find a school (and position) where you can settle happily. I’m looking forward to the next post.

    Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM xx

    • Thanks so much Leanne, we did ‘get around’. Once we settled in Sydney permanently my husband whose career path was the one we followed, became so unwell with chronic spinal issues, he was medically retired aged 30. Then, over time, it became me who moved schools for promotions but we stayed in same area of Sydney to live. More next time!

      Denyse x

  10. I really enjoyed your house moves Denyse! As teachers we know all about the moving in the holidays and changing locations. Nicely done. #mlstl

  11. Hi Denyse,
    In my response to your comment on my blog, I said that I thought we probably have a lot in common. That’s true in terms of career, but not at all for moving. I found my home twenty years ago, drove in the driveway, and knew I was going to buy it. I’m super big on context, trying always to create the ideal surroundings for the creative work I do now. That said, I see myself moving in probably 8-10 years because I have 33 acres in a rural location and worry that I’ll turn into one of those women who talks to her hundred cats. Since I don’t have any cats, that really wouldn’t work for me!
    Thanks for your post, Denyse.

    • What a great story to share. Thank you Karen. I am hopeful we will have our own place in the next few years but we have to now consider health of us both (especially me with cancer checks needed regularly) so it will be within 2 hours drive from Sydney. Somewhere! Some day! I hope your eventual move will work well for you too. So much to consider in ageing for us. Unfortunately! Denyse x

  12. We moved a number of times when I was a child I promised I would never do that to my children and I didn’t. First husband and I bought a house when our first child was 1 and my now ex still lives there.

  13. Your post brings back memories of house moves I had as a child and the excitement of them. I was born and raised in a house in the western suburbs of Brisbane but Dad worked for the Commonwealth Bank as a Manager and was transferred a couple of times. We spent 1 year in Warwick and lived in a bank house there. Then he was transferred to Mitchell (rural Qld) and we lived there for 2 years in a big sprawling and quite gorgeous bank house across the road from the Maranoa River. We returned to our home in Brisbane (which had been rented out) when I was in Year 6. I think I mentioned on your post about your move to Balgowlah that that was where my sister lived when she was living in Sydney. It’s a gorgeous area! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • That’s so good to know more of your story too.
      When we moved all around NSW only our daughter was with us and she still enjoys remembering what she can of those days. Our son was not born till we were in Sydney so all those country names mean nothing to him.
      I think some country life is good for us. Next time my post on this topic will be where we lived in Sydney and of course, where we now live!
      Thanks for sharing. I love reading others’ history. When we were in country towns AND there were still at least 3 banks operating with a residence we got to know the ‘other blow-ins’ who were the bankers!
      Denyse x

  14. I have moved so many times I have truly lost count….and I will be doing it all over again shortly.

  15. I lived in the same house for the first 22 years of my life, but since then I have lived in 9 different ones!! I don’t mind the change of scenery as such , it’s the actual move that I don’t like!

    • Interesting to do the count isn’t it? I am sure a family member of mine could say she has moved many, too many, times! Denyse x

  16. Hi Denise.
    My son sent this on from Sydney. What years were you living in Merriwagga. I lived in Goolgowi 13ks away and worked at Goolgowi School in the Office for nearly 10 years!!!
    The name rings a bell but my mind/memory is not cooperating.
    Would LOVE to hear from you. Lin

    • Hi Lin, We lived in Merriwagga from 1973-1974 while my husband taught at the one teacher school. I taught at Hillston central for those years. Would love to know how your son saw this post. I think it’s great that he did! Email me your name and I will ask my husband to have a look to see who we remember!! Wow. Denyse