Making Utopian Living a Reality

Updated: Aug 26


Get to know Michele Cook


Michele Cook is the proud owner of a very unique Utopia in Wauchope - Utopian Living which is located on the corner of High and Cameron Street in Wauchope.


Michele grew up in Port Macquarie and she later moved to Sydney on the Gold Coast and to Brisbane. It was a typical life growing up and moving away from home to a big city.


Her careers have not been so typical though. For a bit of background, Michele used to do a bit of surfing in the late 70s and 80s so she is one to have a go at anything. She worked for IBM and she also tried her luck as a blackjack dealer on the Gold Coast. She has been an assistant accountant for some of the big developments on the Gold Coast. Michele taught art for a number of years as well in Brisbane. She taught abstract, portraiture and life drawing to students from five to seventy-five.


After the whirlwind of careers, she came back to Port Macquarie eight years ago.


It was tough deciding where the family wanted to settle down. She finally moved back to the Hastings region with her family, drawn by life in a smaller community where there was a closer connection with people around her.



The Birth of Utopian Living


Utopian Living is located on the corner of High and Cameron Street in Wauchope.


When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Michele lost her job, and getting another at her age (50+) was not easy. With both children and most of her family in Brisbane, she was on her own due to border closures. This was a dire situation many found themselves in, and for Michele who had a meditation background, she was well aware soon enough that her mental health was sinking fast.


Painting became her place of solace. She had not painted for 16 years and her mental health situation brought her to seek some stability and peace among her canvases and brushes. The more she painted, the more the art stoked the creative fire inside her. She started making handcrafted jewellery and was letting her creativity lead.


This sparked off the idea in her to try selling some of her artwork at the local markets. Unfortunately, the markets were also affected by the pandemic.


Having one setback after another can take a toll on one's spirits. Call it a twist of fate, a stroke of luck, or the magical forces of the universe at work, Michele had been driving past a shopfront in Wauchope on a daily basis, and it had a "For Lease" sign on the window. It made Michele stop and wonder and she took the vital step of calling the landlord about the shop space.