Your Town With Cass – Grenfell NSW

In this month’s Your Town column Move To More blogger and Eugowra local, Cassie Gates, chats with photographer Denise McClelland from Five Hours West about her life in the Central West town of Grenfell. All the beautiful images in this blogpost are hers.

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What’s your Grenfell story, Denise? 

My family moved to Grenfell when I was 5 years old. After high school, it was time for me to discover where home was, and I moved to Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane and even Ireland for a bit. It wasn’t until I had my daughter Lila, my husband and I decided to move back to Grenfell for her to have the lifestyle and freedom we had growing up. The freedom to walk to school, walk down the street without us as parents being there.

We could work remotely as much as we liked, and life was affordable. I had family living here as well, so it was nice to have that support. I really love being involved in this community. I feel like I’m contributing to something bigger.


What is life REALLY like in Grenfell?

Honestly, I have a better social life here than I ever did in the city! There is always something going on, and even when there isn’t, you can go to the pub and end up having the best time without anything being planned! The locals are so friendly, and they embrace you even if you are not a local. There is lots of live music here. A local couple opened an old cordial factory and made it into a live music venue, called… you guessed it, The Cordial Factory! It’s incredible the acts they get in!

Like most country towns, things get done with committees, and we have a bunch of those. I have been on most of them, actually! My philosophy is to make your own way, not just talk about it! I encourage new residents to town to jump on these committees not only to help out but also to meet people.


What sort of jobs are available in Grenfell?

There is a massive demand for health jobs with our hospital and allied health services. The biggest employers are ag manufacturers like Bromar Engineering, Conron Stockcrete, and Makcrete. The council is a massive employer in town. The local IGA is always looking out for workers. We have three pubs in town, and they are always looking for casual staff. So many jobs are available! There are a lot of people who work for themselves, and we have a beautiful co-working space in town called The Collective Grenfell, which I can’t recommend enough! They have conferences and events there all the time, which is so wonderful for our region, a real credit to the town.

We are central here in Grenfell. We are only half an hour away from many towns.

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What do you do on the weekend for fun?

Like I said, there are so many events on, you’ll never be bored! We also have the Weddin Mountains on our doorstep, with about 5-6 different walks with different exploration abilities. We have an incredible Aquatic Centre here, a real drawcard for our community, with people coming to town to swim and use the facilities. But really, it’s as simple as backyard BBQs and getting together with friends that I love. Most backyards are bigger than our city friends so there is room for all the kid’s play equipment and the BBQ area, and you don’t feel squashed in; it’s lovely!

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What is the art & culture scene like?

We have the Henry Lawson Festival every year, and it keeps getting bigger and better each year. That’s on the June long weekend and brings many people to town. This year, they celebrated the 64th Henry Lawson Festival, and it’s been 66 years since the first Festival, making it one of the longest-running Arts Festivals in NSW!

We have an incredible local drama group, Grenfell Dramatic Society. It is a great thing to get involved in and watch the productions they put on. You can be someone other than an actor. There are other jobs like hair and makeup or wardrobe and staging to help with. The Theatre has gone under renovations recently and is looking incredible.

There is a fabulous Arts Society here as well, where you can learn to paint or draw. The Art Gallery is connected to the local Tourist Information Centre, and they hold regular exhibitions. We had the ‘Bald Archies‘ this year, which was great fun! We have a thriving art scene. If you’re creative, you are in the right town!

One event that is growing in popularity is the Picnic Races, especially off the racetrack, with fashions in the field being hotly contested. Both men and women vie to be crowned the best-dressed! It’s a family day out, and the community comes together in April to enjoy it.


Is there a sporting culture in Grenfell?

Is there ever! As you may have heard, one of the mighty Matilda’s hails from Grenfell, Clare Hunt. Her brother also is a cricket superstar, and he plays for South Australia. Soccer is getting pretty big here for all ages. There is rugby league and rugby union as well as Tennis and bowls. And we cannot forget netball and cricket for all ages as well! We do have a lot of cyclists in town and there are many cycle trails to explore. As you can see, we are sport mad!

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Are there some nice restaurants/pubs to eat at in town.

The pubs are really popular, and they have a great selection of meals. The Criterion Hotel which does your normal pub meal with a gourmet twist and lots of GF options, and a great beer garden too! We have the quirky Spannerman Espresso, which is our local mechanic who is coffee-mad and decided to open a café as his side hustle. We also have a new addition, Bulla Creek Brewing, just out of town. Best Stout I’ve ever had! They tend to have a different caterer every weekend, so you never know what kind of food you will be trying. Next to that, we have the Rustic Maze, which is not always open to the public as it is where many weddings are held in their function centre.

I cannot forget Povey’s, a mobile food truck that sells woodfired pizzas from Proctor Park most Wednesday and Thursday evenings. They are not your average pizzas either; he makes his own sourdough bases, and they do beautiful Italian recipes like Truffle Pizza and Quattro Formaggi. Bring a picnic blanket down and enjoy a pizza in the park.

Even the local servo’s have great menus to choose from.


Is there any public transport in town?

There are buses to take you to Harden, where you can grab an express XPT to either Melbourne or Sydney. That runs twice a day. There are bus services that get to Sydney twice daily. The closest airport would be Parkes, followed by Orange, which is 1.5 hours away and then Canberra is 2.5 hours away.

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What is the housing situation like in the region?

It’s a pretty hot market; there are so many beautiful homes here. We have two real estate agents. There are lots on the market, and the rentals are tight, like many other regions in NSW.


Can you get in to see a doctor? 

We do have a local hospital, which is well-resourced. There are two local doctors and visiting specialists. Only half an hour away is Cowra Hospital, which is more extensive.


Ok. Here’s your time to pitch! If you had to give someone one reason to move to the Grenfell region, what would it be?

It is the most beautiful lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle where if you want to be involved in the community, you can, and you can meet great friends. And you can bring your family up in this beautiful lifestyle, knowing they are safe and secure. It’s friendly, it’s lovely, and we are so centrally located, it’s perfect!

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