Tammie Winward remembers that when she was growing up in an outer Melbourne suburb, going into the city was a rare treat.
Now that she has her own children, she and her husband Lukas have chosen the opposite; their daughters Layla, 5, and Maggie, 2, are so familiar with the city’s features that it’s like a playground to them.
“They really see the city as an obstacle course,” Winward says. “They just climb on everything. We go and explore all the time.”
Before becoming parents, the couple owned a two-bedroom apartment in Lorimer Street, Docklands. When Layla came along they decided to invest in something bigger, but they only had to look upwards. On the 28th floor of their building they found a four-bedroom apartment that they knew would make the perfect family home, while still close enough to Etihad stadium to walk to the footy.
Winward says the location is great for work too; youth counsellor Lukas goes against the traffic while Winward works from home running the video gift platform Memwah.
The family has been in their home for five years now and have renovated the layout by taking out a wall – reducing it to three bedrooms – to create a much bigger family room for the four of them, including a playroom, dining area, and TV zone.
“It’s really quite a large living area, bigger than most houses I have to say,” Winward says.
Living on level 28 means a real feature of their home is the view. “We can see the sun rise and set in the same room; that’s how panoramic the view is,” Winward says of the vista, which takes in the city and the bay and – to the girls’ delight – passing hot air balloons.
“My daughters always talk about their house in the sky,” Winward says.
Plenty of personality has been sprinkled throughout the home, including shelves dedicated to Lukas’ collection of retro toys, and walls covered in art.
“We’ve got incredible artwork right throughout our house; we’ve got street art, we’ve also got some contemporary Indigenous art, and some classics in here as well.”
The property has a wraparound balcony (which Winward says for safety reasons is treated “as a pool – if the kids are out there, we’re out there with them”), but with so much in their local area, Winward says they “don’t spend that much time in our apartment, because we’re always out and about doing something”.
Layla is now learning to ride a bike, so getting out on the riverside path is a regular activity where “they can just scoot off, they don’t have to constantly watch out for cars”.
They’ll often meet up with other families at Point Park, Ron Barassi Senior Park, or Birrarung Marr where the girls can play with their friends, “which we call the ‘sparkle mafia’ of Docklands”, says Winward.
Winward says she “just can’t speak highly enough about the neighbourhood” and emphasises that includes their vertical neighbourhood in their apartment tower too.
“In all of the places I’ve lived around the world, I’ve never felt more sense of community than I feel here,” she says.
When Maggie was a baby, those connections to other residents became even more treasured.
“Maggie was very sick when she was born, she was on life support at home for 12 months on oxygen and things, and everybody rallied around us, you know, and followed our story.”
Good times are celebrated too, with the building manager organising Christmas celebrations, and at Halloween “we go from level to level and all the people decorate their apartments for the kids”.
Winward says she feels lucky to be giving her girls a different view of their world.
“I grew up knowing that you’d go into the city once a year, for the Christmas lights or something along those lines, whereas we go in every other day. There’s just so much to do.”
The Winward family’s top three local places
Point Park Crescent Playground, a riverside play area with a music-making wall, sandpit and a barbecue area. “Point Park is our favourite park, and so great for young families, especially young kids. There are big open spaces,” Winward says.
Saluministi, a cafe dedicated to all things Italian – think panini, cannoli, and cured meats. “It’s our favourite place, they do great coffee, great food, it’s right next to the Dock library,” Winward says of their local, at 892 Bourke Street, Docklands.
SeaLife Melbourne Aquarium, corner of Flinders and King streets: “We just love it, and having a membership means we can go pretty much any day we want.” The family knows it “so well that my girls have named the fish”.
Ref: BRIGID BLACKNEY (on 06 Dec 2021). The family of four with a ‘house in the sky’ in Melbourne’s Docklands. Retrieved from https://www.domain.com.au/news/the-family-with-a-house-in-the-sky-in-docklands-1110230/.
Images from internet