This country change family embraced a new community, a new baby and two new businesses!
For Mitch and Katie Glasgow, a move to the country was a pretty easy decision. After all, Mitch had grown up in Tullibigeal, a small rural community just outside the Bland Shire (and still has family in the area!), and Katie is from Tumut, a beautiful town in the western foothills of the Snowy Mountains in the Riverina. So while they loved living in Wagga Wagga, after they had their first child, they knew it was time to head back to the place that felt like home.
Katie says, ‘We had our first baby in February 2011 and wanted her to grow up in a small country town as we did. We chose West Wyalong in (Bland Shire within the Riverina) to be closer to family and because there was a job opportunity at the mine for Mitch.’
Embracing the community
Unlike many city dwellers, Mitch and Katie didn’t have any preconceived ideas about their new home. They knew they wanted a change of lifestyle, and they knew that Bland Shire could deliver that in spades.
They were immediately embraced by the close-knit community that Katie describes as ‘friendly, genuine people’. From the go, they felt welcomed and part of what makes the area so special.
And when it comes to the local schools, Mitch and Katie couldn’t be more impressed. West Wyalong is also known for having a strong sporting community, and the family has jumped right in, joining various clubs and teams.
Katie says, ‘Sporting clubs, the local cinema and more are mainly run on a volunteer basis, which is a great indication of the type of people that are in town. And everyone will rally together if someone in the community is in need of help.’
A new business… or two
Mine work was great for Mitch, but once they had a second baby in 2014, they realised that mine shifts weren’t really working for them and their young children. Mitch was an electrician by trade and had already been working the odd electrical job when he wasn’t on shift at the mine. So, Katie and Mitch sat down together and thought about their next steps.
‘There was a big demand for trades, and there weren’t many electricians in town,’ Katie says. ‘We decided to start up Glasgow Electrics in 2014 with Mitch doing the electrical work while I focused on the book work.’
Mitch had many years of experience overseeing a range of large-scale projects in Wagga, which helped them quickly get the business from start-up to sustainable. And it’s only gone from strength to strength – which also opened up new opportunities for the family as well.
Katie says, ‘The success of Glasgow Electrics meant I had the ability to study and pursue a career of my choice. This led to the creation of my own business, Defined Designs, which I officially launched in November 2021.’
While it wasn’t always easy – starting new businesses with small kids meant long hours and sacrificing regular holidays – the new businesses gave the family the flexibility to work around school hours. And that meant more time for family and friends while still being able to move their businesses onto bigger and better things.
Of course, the Glasgows know that their success comes from being part of such a close-knit community.
Katie says, ‘When you have any sort of business in town, the locals will always do their best to support the business.’
Bland Shire bringing the shine
West Wyalong in Bland Shire within The Riverina region, was first established as a service town when gold was discovered in nearby Wyalong. Its organic development can still be seen in the crooked Main Street that follows the original bullock track that swerved around trees and gold diggings. Over the decades, mining came into the area, and today, it’s the main service centre for agriculture in the surrounding area.
Bland Shire today has so much to offer new (and existing!) residents of the area. Within a 5.5-hour drive to Sydney, 6.5 hours to Melbourne and 3.5 hours to Canberra), a passion for the arts (don’t miss the Bland Shire Art Trail!) and a true love of sports. In fact, the Big Football was unveiled in 2018 in the Bland Shire village of Ungarie.
Mitch, Katie and the kids love exploring all the country has to offer, including fishing, camping and swimming. And Bland Shire has all of that and more. From the Barmedman Mineral Pool to the Lake Cowal Conservation Centre, the family can get out and enjoy the great outdoors.
Advice for new tree changers
When we asked Katie and Mitch for their best advice for those looking for a Country Change Katie said, ‘Come for the country lifestyle but embrace the opportunity for investments in the local housing market. The prices here are much better!’
The Glasgow’s top picks for Bland Shire
- Exploring one of the nine cycling tracks with Biking the Bland
- Walking through The Wetlands one of the shire’s best kept secrets
- Heading out to the West Wyalong Rodeo (next month!)