Twenty-six-year-old Tahlee Rose was born and raised on a property in Bellingen, but she’s lived in 17 different locations since she moved to Newcastle almost 10 years ago.
A teacher at Waratah Public School, Rose moved to The Moorings, in King Street, in January this year.
She was attracted to the location and loved the building.
The Moorings was built in 1935 by architect John Oldham. It was originally built for single men working at BHP, and, while the plan was for it to be two floors, it ended up being three.
Now it houses a range of interesting, and sometimes transient, characters.
“I’ve had lots of little parts of my life here; I’ve had friends or been seeing people here. I’ve always wanted to live here, and then I did it,” Rose says.
“I think what’s nice about it is how different each little pocket of it is. Everyone’s apartment is completely different.
“I know no one’s apartment looks like my apartment. Next door is so tiny.”
She knows two architects who own two different apartments in the building, and both are renovating.
Last year the Herald featured another Moorings’ apartment. That space, while versatile, was very different to Rose’s, although both have a little entry foyer.
Her place was renovated before she moved in, and it came with the huge comfy chair, television, (which she covers with fabric), fridge and even the bed.
Cleverly, the bed is framed behind and above the kitchen sink, with the wall to the bathroom at her feet. A small set of stairs leads to a cozy loft.
While it felt quite masculine at first, she’s done her best to make it more suited to her style by decorating with her handmade pottery, clothing and fabrics.
She loves colour everywhere, although she knows it’s a bit too mismatched for some people.
Above the kitchen table is a green painting of Jimmy Barnes created by her ex-boyfriend. The artwork in the window came from a garage sale at the Maritime Centre.
She’s got colourful decorations from her mother and a big tapestry in the hall from when she lived and taught in Nepal.
“I’m in once that’s on the wall,” she says.
“All of my stuff is from op shops and garage sales. Nothing is new. I think that’s kind of a big thing. Everything that I’ve kept, it’s never new stuff.”
She keeps her boots and books on Tasmania on the large shelf that surrounds the outside of the bathroom door. It’s a practical reminder for her love of hiking.
“Everyone says my house feels like me. That sounds like a silly thing to say, but I don’t think a lot of people’s houses do (feel like them). My house always smells like me, (for example) burning incense. It’s a bit eclectic, but it’s not disorganised,” she says.
She feels part of a community here and loves cycling.
Before The Moorings, she lived in Newcastle East, Merewether, Callaghan (at the university), Speers Point, Mayfield, Carrington, Wharf Road and two different terraces in Cooks Hill.
She’s lived in Swan Street, Tyrrell Street and Nesca Parade.
She loved living in Newcastle East, but decided to move from Scott Street when she started getting letters regarding Supercars. Now she is seeing changes around her current home.
“It’s busy, (now). It takes longer to get places; I’ve always been a big believer in public transport and walking and bikes. We’ve got this great, flat city; (but) even with all the work going on there’s not going to be additional bike lanes. I’m not as inclined to ride my bike because everyone is angry on the road,” she says.
“We’re trying to make space and be progressive, but what it’s creating is less space for us right now. People are really affected by it. Sometimes access to the beach is cut off, and that’s like our prize in Newcastle.”
Like the city itself, Rose has clearly been through a few changes since she moved to town. Given her record, it seems unlikely she’ll live forever in her cozy little den.
Capturing the home and lifestyle of another Mooring’s dweller is an interesting, important and enjoyable piece of Newcastle’s evolving story.