When people I meet ask where I live, and I tell them, Wattle Glen, they invariably reply, “where’s that?” Few Melburnians seem to have heard of Wattle Glen. Rarely does it make the news, Wattle Glen is such a quiet and peaceful place.
For 45 years, we have enjoyed living on the side of one of Wattle Glen’s many hills, surrounded by trees. We are visited daily by a variety of native birds and sometimes by kangaroos and even the occasional echidna. In the morning, we are wakened by the kookaburra, who also announces bedtime in the evenings. Silence rules the night hours, and summer nights are cool, even when Melbourne swelters.
Wattle Glen is not the place for ‘keeping up with the Jones’, here we like to do our own thing. Houses tend to be individual, not conforming to suburban fashions. They are tucked into their environment rather than showing off to passers-by.
Over the years, we have rambled around the district, however these rambles have become regular walks during Covid-19 lockdown. The back roads of Wattle Glen are ideal for isolation. We pass few people along the way and, if more than three vehicles pass us, we say, “the traffic is heavy today”.
Our favourite walk is ‘around the block’, around 6 kilometres, where the streets have evocative names such as Silvan Road, Valley Road, Moonlight Road, and the houses occupy large bush blocks.
We see, perched on a hill, a white house with a verandah facing the sun. With lovely views in all directions, most houses around here have verandahs. Opposite is an aged care home, with its rooms at the back overlooking a ferny glade.
Next we pass an old cottage in its original state – probably a former orchardist’s house – surrounded by its wood pile, vegetable garden, ducks and goats – its inhabitants living ‘the good life’ in the bush. Further along is a ‘ranch’ nestling into the hillside, with a grassy meadow and pond in front.
Along the road a bit, you can buy ‘pony poo’ for $2 a bag – too heavy for us to carry up the big hill ahead. There are crimson rosellas along this stretch, and magpies warbling to cheer us on as we pant up the hill, while horses watch us from their paddocks and frogs croak in the gully. At the top of the hill is a kind of seat for us, where we sit to recover our breath. We are now half way. Continuing on, we pass meandering driveways leading who knows where.
It is an easier walk downhill to the more ‘suburban’ part of Wattle Glen, were houses are closer together, some clinging to the hillside. Here we can stop at Pepper’s Paddock Store for a takeaway coffee to enjoy in the park. The last leg includes walking along the main road, then up the hill to our own little haven.
I’ve told you about Wattle Glen, but please keep it a secret. We want to keep the place to ourselves.