Richmond star Jack Riewoldt opens up about his childhood, the family home in Tasmania and buying his first home in Melbourne, in an exclusive piece for aflplayers.com.au, brought to you by realestateVIEW.com.au.
One look at the place where Jack Riewoldt spent his childhood and it’s easy to see why he has become the relaxed person he is off the field today.
Riewoldt grew up in the Tasmanian suburb of Bellerive, only a decent torpedo punt from Blundstone Arena, where he would spend the bulk of his junior football career.
The Riewoldt family house is reminiscent of a 1950s suburban home – it stands out at the top of a three-way intersection almost like the surrounding houses have been parted by the wide street directly to their front door. There’s a white picket fence surrounding the yard and the house’s warm interior provides the perfect shelter from the crisp Tasmanian weather.
It’s a double-story home with a slim staircase joining the bedrooms above. You could imagine the three Riewoldt brothers thumping down the wooden stairs and racing outside to play lacrosse – one of their favourite sports – with a neighbour across the road.
The Tiger forward shared a bedroom with his two younger brothers Harry and Charlie. Only four years separate the three boys and they would’ve needed every inch of the larger sized bedroom for more of their favourite games – their own versions of indoor tennis and soccer.
The bedroom is quite bare these days, with the three having left the nest, but the spacious floor was the main platform for the sports-mad brothers’ inside activities.
Nowadays the trophy shelf is the central piece of the room and it didn’t take long for the boys to fill it up.
“I can remember when I left and moved to Melbourne, I told mum and dad that I’d be that filthy if they sold this house.”
– Jack Riewoldt
Upon inspection, Riewoldt has claim to the biggest trophy in the middle of the shelf with his brothers dominating alongside. In fact, that Clarence District Football Club Rising Star award is the 27-year-old’s only one on display, surrounded by an abundance of silverware from Harry and Charlie.
Riewoldt couldn’t believe it. Harry’s name was the most prominent which was hard to fathom given that “Harry was a spud”, according to his eldest brother. A look to the left reveals an open box with even more trophies stashed away in the corner of the room – it’s where Riewoldt’s brothers have stored his remaining accolades.
The view from the boys’ bedroom is another feature. The north-eastern window follows the street in which we arrived, and is where Bellerive Oval can be seen with the lights towers rising above the oval. Regardless of his family’s history, the sheer proximity of the stadium was always going to lure Riewoldt to the indigenous game.
The opposite window faces the River Derwent and across to the heart of Hobart with the backdrop of Mount Wellington impossible to miss. It’s a view one would fully appreciate only after moving into the hustle of suburban Melbourne.
“I can remember when I left and moved to Melbourne, I told mum and dad that I’d be that filthy if they sold this house,” Riewoldt said.
“You have so many memories here and are so emotionally attached to it. Every square inch of the property has a different memory to it.”
Riewoldt’s grandmother lives in a flat attached to the side of the house and she pops her head out to see what all the commotion is in the backyard as we admire the family’s cricket-themed mural on the side of a brick shed.
Riewoldt’s mother Lesley is the artist of the family and created the backyard painting. Her influence shines right through the house with various works of art present from the moment you walk through the front door.
The pieces create a comforting atmosphere, and outside the streets are quiet and the people don’t seem to have a care in the world.
“I still reckon Tassie residents are the nicest in the country,” Riewoldt said.
“Tassie is cruisy; it’s great fun to come home. Growing up in a place that’s so cruisy and easy-going, I’m really grateful for that.”
Not one to take himself too seriously off the field, Riewoldt’s upbringing in the relaxed environment of Bellerive has served him well at one of the competition’s high-profile clubs.
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