Well this week, my loyal band of Wandering Journo subscribers, Streets of Your Town profiles the amazing and very humble artist and free spirit Angus McDiarmid from the tiny Queensland town of Boonah.
Click above to listen to the Streets of Your Town podcast episode, which I put together for all of you my wonderful tribe, to accompany you on your road trips home through beautiful country wherever you may be at the end of your Easter Break.
Here’s a tribute to the creatives who live the life less travelled.
Hope you enjoy!
You never know who I am going to meet on my travels in Mildred the cantankerous kombi.
In this episode of Streets of Your Town, we enter the creative wonderland of artist, teacher and jack of all trades Angus MacDiarmid.
He lives in a converted church in the little town of Boonah, a wonderful creative hub in Queensland’s Scenic Rim.
This stunning region only an hour and a half’s drive from Brisbane stretches from Canungra to the aptly named region The Lost World, also taking in Beaudesert to Boonah, Tamborine Mountain to Kalbar and ancient World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests.
Despite its close proximity to the bustling cities of Brisbane and the Gold Coast, much of the Scenic Rim remains untouched.
So if you are lucky enough to go for a road trip through this magical area, make sure you keep an eye out for Angus, and if you’re lucky, he may even paint your portrait.
On this day in Boonah, I was lucky enough to cross paths with Angus at his home—a beautiful old restored church in the middle of town, that he shares with his partner Jenny.
He happily shared how he and Jenny came to settle in this quiet corner of The Scenic Rim, and create their perfect colourful creative home to pursue their lifelong love of art.
“Well our house burned down about 10 years ago and subsequently we sold the burnt out house block in Ashgrove at Christmas,” Angus recalls.
“And I said, let’s buy some land. Aratula, Killarney, or somewhere, and ended up buying a little block up near Killarney. We found something cheap.
“And then on the way to that, we got flooded and we had to take another road and we went up a no through road—Jenny always says, go up a no through road.
“We went up there and there was a sign on a tree ‘for sale’. We ended up buying a couple of hundred acres surrounded by National Park at Mount Barney with a mile of Burnett Creek tumbling through it. So I got real busy. Well both of us did. I built cabins and everything and it was my therapy after the fire. I’m quite a handy builder.”
Angus is known for his drawings of patrons at the increasingly renowned restaurant Blume—which they also provide herbs and flowers for. The restaurant has brought degustation-style dining to the small hamlet of 2500 people, as well as more tourists seeking out this unique dining experience.
“I go downtown and I’ve drawn half the town because I’m a portrait artist and I go to fetes or I go to the school or I go to whatever,” Angus said.
“I went to a drag night the other night. That was fun. Drew some interesting farm people who like going to drag nights. I sit at the bar and do $5 portraits.
“Boonah—it’s quite a tolerant town considering that, well, politically you’d have to say it’s fairly conservative. It’s a live and let live sort of town. I have noticed that.”
He says he’s enjoyed making the old church that was built in 1907 from Hoop Pine from the surrounding mountains, into a home, without messing with any of its original design features.
“I haven’t done what they do on Grand Designs and completely ruin a very nice old building. But we’ve done the floors,” he says.
“I had to do all the plumbing. I’m quite a good amateur plumber.”