Macnamara’s future residents looking forward to “big sky sunsets”

With the first settlements of Macnamara occurring, Ginninderry is bringing future residents together to meet their new neighbours and hear from local leaders what the community is all about. Events such as the recent Welcome To Macnamara Barbecue aim to forge human connections as the suburb takes shape.

“We’re really out to build something special out here, and this is one of the ways we try and engage with the community so we can make people feel really comfortable and ensure they have everything they need to continue on their journey,” said Community Development & Liaison Officer, Jessica Buckland.

Judy Swann is looking forward to “big sky sunsets” and a space that herself, her husband and adult kids can enjoy together… or separately.

Judy and David Swann are two of those new residents. They’ve chosen Macnamara to build their dream retirement home, to create a place for multi-generational living with their adult children, and a haven to feel connected to Country while enjoying the most modern services.

We asked them about their impending lifestyle change.

Why did you choose Macnamara?

We were drawn to Macnamara because of the environmental living and the green spaces. Being close to the countryside was important to us coming from a five-acre plot and we knew we would like some space around us to walk and enjoy the landscape.

We moved to Wamboin NSW in 2001 because we were told we would never have children, so we thought we would get animals to fuss over. Then kids happened and now they are 21 and 18 and we are coming back home to Canberra. We sold our Wamboin property late last year and are currently renting in Nicholls, which we love. I especially love the garbage collection – I will never take it for granted, having someone else take away your garbage is a luxury. Being close to public transport has been great too, as we drove a lot when we lived in Wamboin.

What do you want for your new home?

Safety and security with environmental responsibility! We also want a home where there is enough room and options to be separate from each other but to also come together when we choose.

We want a house where our kids can live their own lives whilst studying or saving for their own home, where they have their own space and freedom. We want a house with a large kitchen suitable for multiple cooks, a house with an area for extended family gatherings, where we can age in place as long as practical.

We want to be environmentally responsible and plan to have solar panels with batteries and an EV charger to allow for a future electric car.

We love the trend of alfresco areas connecting the inside with the out, and our alfresco area will have stairs down to the back yard where we plan to have an edible garden with some small garden beds as we enjoy growing and preserving food.

How important is family and making space for children into their adulthood?

Before we designed the home, we put together a list of what rooms and activities were important to us – there were some surprises. We all wanted separation, kids from us, us from kids and kids from each other. Each bedroom had to be spaced away from the others. The kids’ bedrooms are large enough for a couple to live in and have good-sized walk-in-robes. They can have a queen bed and a small study table and/or music keyboard set up.

We wanted a single-storey house as David and I want to age in place as much as we can. We ended up with a split-level design with the kids on one level and us on the other, which was a good compromise and will add to the feeling of separation.

The kids also have their own living room and kitchenette which allows them to have their own food preparation area.  The kitchen of the main house is just up the stairs so that they have easy access to the full facilities.  We have a large kitchen with two ovens to allow for them to cook separately if they want. The kid’s area also includes the main bathroom.

How important is it to connect with other residents in Ginninderry?

We would love to feel part of a community, going into retirement. The idea of starting a community from scratch and being all in the same boat appeals to us.  We never thought that we would build a house – it has never been a dream of ours – quite the opposite in fact!  But to connect with others during this process is important to us.

We both grew up in country towns where neighbours watched out for each other and there was a deep sense of community. This feeling may have waned during our lives but perhaps the pandemic and forced separation encouraged people to reach out, to be thankful for neighbourly connections.

We think that organised events like the welcome BBQ or events in Paddys Park and at The Link are a great start to community.  The dog park is a place for meeting people, not just dogs. The opportunity is there to build a friendly and co-operative community and we should all take advantage of it.

What are your feelings on the impending move?

We should never forget how privileged we are to be able to buy a house in a community such as Gininderry.

We are privileged to live in Australia, to build in Gininderry, to be able to afford the luxury to be environmentally conscious, to have a secure and safe house. No one should lose sight of that.

I am going to enjoy living in Macnamara, I am going to enjoy the big skies at sunset, the open spaces, the air-conditioning on a scorcher. I am going to enjoy sitting on the alfresco in the evening breeze toasting retirement with my wonderful husband.

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