Meet Waterlea new residents, Byron Johnson and Kate Hill


What an action-packed 12 months it’s been for Army Private Byron Johnson and fiancé Kate Hill! In June 2018, Byron accepted his first military posting at the RAAF Amberley nearby the Walloon township and purchased his first home, a Waterlea land and house package.

In September, he met Kate, an Ipswich-based social worker, and now they are engaged. Together they moved into their Waterlea home as building works completed in March 2019 with wedding bells ringing in April.  Waterlea Living had the chance to catch up with Kate and Byron to talk about their Waterlea home and the community.

What are features or amenities that attracted you to Waterlea?

B: It was a simple decision – Waterlea is close to the RAAF base where I am stationed for the next two years, and the lot and house package was within my price range. Done Deal.

How long were you looking before you purchased at Waterlea? Did you consider other developments?

B: In June 2018, I started looking and purchased within three weeks. Waterlea was the first and only development that I considered. The other new house communities were too far away from my work, or the land cost was prohibitive.

Tell us about the block of land that you purchased and your rationale for making the selection.

B: It’s one of the smaller Waterlea blocks at 480 sqm, and the house is 214 sqm.  At the time of purchase, before I met my fiancé Kate, it was only me living in the house, so it was large enough without requiring too much maintenance.  Equally, I had a budget that I did not want to exceed.

Tell us about your new home.

B: Our home has four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a two-car garage. I chose black taps, tile floors and kitchen bench top, a neutral colour carpet and white walls and joinery.  The choices were made before I met Kate, so my mum and sister helped me out with the colour and finish selections.

K: I envision our home as a comfortable chic, clutter-free design that we decorate with rugs, art, and accessories collected over time.

What are your favourite features about your new home? 

B: It’s ours – Kate’s and mine. I like the privacy and being part of a community. Next is the two-car garage.  By trade, I am an automobile mechanic so having a workshop and a place for my car is sensational.

K: What I am really excited about is my beauty room! I am taking one bedroom and setting it up as a giant wardrobe with a vintage dressing table and make-up mirror. When my girlfriends visit, they will love it.

Is cooking and entertaining at home a big part of your social life?

B: Kate is a social butterfly and enjoys inviting friends over but I’m just happy to be at home with her.  When it comes to cooking, I’m learning and might take a few cooking classes. Our kitchen is large enough so we can cook together so that will be fun and always good to learn a new skill.

K: Inviting friends for a Sunday lunch at home is top on my list. It starts with nibbles and nice drinks, then salads and barbequing with everyone listening to music, playing board games or chilling.  Our home has indoor and outdoor living spaces, so it’s an ideal set up for casual entertaining.

Waterlea is emerging as a vibrant community, what appeals to you? 

B: We particularly enjoy the Waterlea movie nights – it’s always a lot of fun as everyone packs a picnic basket and gets together.  Kate follows Waterlea on Facebook and has her finger on the pulse of what’s happening.

K: Waterlea is building a community with family events where everyone is welcomed and valued.  We are not only buying a house; we are buying into a community.