DIY guy ditches the city

Mon, 26th Jun 2017

Horticulturist Adam Woodhams recently left Sydney for pristine acreage at Weyba Downs. A specialist writer, photographer and presenter, he is passionate about sharing his love of gardening, sustainability and DIY in a fun and approachable way. His self-produced videos have millions of views on his popular YouTube channel. You can meet Adam at the Queensland Garden Expo, where he’s on the speaker’s program, July 7-9. 

First job? After leaving school I worked in a SCUBA diving shop serving, learning to service dive gear and training as a dive master. 

What are you currently working on? My work and home life tend to blur a lot as most of my work projects happen at home. We are planning renovations and extensions, a lot of which I’ll be doing as an owner-builder. Many of the projects will then end up in print and on video for my YouTube channel.

Your family includes. . .  It’s complicated. At home is our daughter Amber and my wife Denise (and our two cats, Mr Yorky and Ginger). In New South Wales is my 92-year-old mum and my sister, but I’m adopted and tracked down my family around 10 years ago, so now have a sister and three brothers in Queensland, a sister in the UK and my dad near Rocksberg. 

First car? I loved it, but it was a terrible 1978 four-door Ford Escort GL. It was that what-were-they-thinking baby-poo brown colour.

Favourite book? I have a serious soft spot for sci-fi author Philip K. Dick, particularly Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – better known as Blade Runner. 

Best advice you’ve been given? My first mechanic said to me, ‘If you’ve a choice between a car with a sound engine but body rust or the opposite way around always pick the rust-free one because you can fix an engine.’ 

How long have you lived on the Sunshine Coast? Around 12 months.  We’re newbies after escaping from Sydney. Spent years researching the right place and just kept coming back to the area.

Why do you live here? It’s not Sydney. All of the lifestyle things that in Sydney you kid yourself about having access to, here you actually have on your doorstep and you have the time and energy to enjoy. The environment is beautiful, the people are friendly and there is a much more energetic and vibrant creative community.

If you could change one thing on the Coast what would it be? Toss-up between better telecommunications (ADSL1 in the year 2017, seriously?) and transport to Brisbane. Is there an area in the world that would be better suited to high-speed rail than that route? Maximum of 30 minutes to Brisbane CBD should be the reality.

Best day in your life? Three on equal footing I’m afraid. The day our beautiful daughter was born, the day Denise and I married and the day I met my birth-mother for the first and only time.

Can you nominate a day in your life that turned out to be a turning point?  More a short period than a single day. I had been working in drama production at ABC TV on shows like Police Rescue and had a mid-20’s-life-crisis. I loved the job but knew I needed something else. From there I tossed it all in the air and started studying landscape and horticulture, beginning on a totally new career path. 

What achievement are you most proud of? Career-wise it would have to be working with friend, colleague and renowned garden author Jennifer Stackhouse to provide all of the photos for her award-winning book Garden. 

You are happiest when? I’m creating. Whether it’s writing an article, on a photo or video shoot, editing video, designing or building something, I just love the creative process.  

What frustrates you the most? People who don’t understand how to use roundabouts. 

If you could tell your 18-year-old self anything, what would it be? Pay attention to your superannuation. Oh, and you can have fun AND take stuff seriously too. And don’t stand with your head near the bass-bin at that James Brown concert. Your hearing will regret it.

Tea or coffee? Tea all the way. Different varieties — traditional and herbals — at different times of day.