From birthday parties to wakes, our homes see the best and worst times in our lives.
They’re our sanctuary when we’re stressed, sick or upset and a source of joy when we’re happy or sharing time with friends and family.
Often a home is a person’s most expensive asset but more than just a mere possession a home is an all-encompassing centre of one’s universe.
For Jan and Greg Wooldridge their 1903 cottage in the historic gold rush town of Chiltern, in north east Victoria, is a great source of enjoyment and both happy and wistful memories.
They moved into the house 27 years ago, the day Mrs Wooldridge, 52, came home from hospital with their second child.
“It was so hectic,” she recalls.
“We literally popped Sam in her capsule in the bedroom and went about unpacking.”
With a knowing smile and meeting of their eyes, the couple recount the fun times they’ve had in the house.
“We have had some of the greatest parties in this house and Christmases where we could not have jammed another person into the dining room,” Mrs Wooldridge said.
“We’ve had friends from Sydney stay and I remember one time a guy slept in the bath and another under the table.
“I like that people can come here and feel relaxed.”
Originally a blacksmith’s residence, Mr Wooldridge, 56, said the home had always had a pleasant ambience.
“It’s so comfortable, there’s never been any tension in the house,” he said.
But as well as the happy memories there are some that are a bit more melancholic.
“We had a 10-year span where friends, young men, were lost to a bike accident, a brain tumour, heart attack and suicide,” Mr Wooldridge said.
“They had all shared time with us here and they are and will always be a part of this house,” Mrs Wooldridge added.
For Jim Munro, 74, and his wife Raelene, 59, their previous home of 21 years, also in Chiltern, was also a source of many happy shared experiences with their three daughters, extended family and friends.
“We formed a friendship with neighbours of a similar age and our kids would play together and we parents would play cards every Saturday night,” he said.
“Our eldest daughter had her 21st birthday in the house and everyone had a fabulous time.
“Every year at Christmas the children looked forward to going out and choosing a live fir tree and decorating it … and as is typical with children they would then get up at some ungodly hour to see their presents.”
Allicia and Jerim Hayes may have only lived in their new home in Thurgoona, in southern NSW, since March but it will forever be the home they brought their first child, a daughter named Maggie, home to.
“We got home and sat the capsule on the bench and thought ‘we’re home, awesome, what do we do now’,” Mrs Hayes said.
“Then the chaos started!”
Mr Hayes, 36, said while they had lived together previously, they had designed this house together and it truly felt like ‘theirs’ rather than ‘his’.
He said they designed it as an entertainer’s home to take full advantage of the north-to-rear aspect overlooking the golf course.
“If the walls could talk they’d tell you a story of lots of friends coming over for dinner and barbecues and about how we’re really looking forward to creating more memories like this in summer,” Mr Hayes said.