Happiness and horticulture in Holbrook
The rolling green hills, clean air, thriving livestock and flourishing crops in the town of Holbrook, in the Riverina’s Greater Hume, ticked all the boxes for Tim and Kelly Glass’ Country Change.
Moving from city hustle to leafy rustle
After years of running on the corporate treadmill in Melbourne, the couple wanted more influence on their lifestyle and a more suitable future for their children. “Once we had our first child, it increased our focus to relocate to a region where we could utilise our education and expertise without the hustle and bustle of city life,” Kelly explained.
With business and finance backgrounds and experience in agricultural companies, Tim and Kelly were attracted to the horticultural potential of Holbrook. The nursery and farm they now own appealed to them because of the diversity of income stream potentials it held and the liquidity of the property market in the area. “It’s a region with strong demand,” said Kelly, “hence the underlying support for property values.”
Great opportunities in Greater Hume
With a population of just 1,715, the town of Holbrook, in the Greater Hume region, had just the right blend of remoteness and access to facilities that the Glass family sought; with schools, sporting activities, parts availability, service providers and local employees all in the area.
Knowing they were looking for business opportunities within the agricultural sector, rainfall was a significant driver. Critical to success on the land, their research revealed that Holbrook had a consistent annual rainfall of around 28 inches. This factor made their purchase of Jayfields Nursery a reliable choice. The Glass’ liked the mix of hills and flats and that the area could carry high stocking rates, within reasonable proximity to major livestock markets and buyers.
In under an hour, you can reach Albury to the south or Wagga Wagga to the north. However, given so much is available in their local area, the Glass family find themselves making these trips infrequently. “The proximity to Albury and Wagga allows us to draw on a 100% local labour force,” Kelly highlighted, adding, “This can be a challenge for properties that are more remote. We value being able to provide employment to our local community and are proud to offer that work to local people.”
Diversity delivers fulfillment
The potential exists when working in the city, for each day to feel the same. The couple was aware of how easy it was to fall into a rut and fully appreciate the differences that each day now brings. Whether it be the extensive range of tasks necessary for their business, the changing seasons or the activities available for their children, the family is grateful for the diversity their Country Change has allowed them.
An essential factor of their move was to be able to raise their boys where they could play freely outdoors and gain an appreciation for nature, agriculture and wide-open spaces. Kelly noted, “We wanted the kids to develop the grounded demeanour and associated work ethic that rural living contributes to. And because we see them more [than they would have in the city], we have a direct impact on our future with every decision we make.”
Community engagement benefits everyone
Although the pair works as hard, if not harder, than they were in Melbourne, they have found the rewards of living in a smaller community to be broader and more fulfilling. “We are part of a small community that feels more engaged in contributing to a common positive outcome for our region and our kids.”
And the support of the community flows in all directions. Kelly recalls fondly the friendship that developed between the family and the previous owners of Jayfields Nursery when they were getting started. “All of the community have been welcoming and willing to help us succeed,” she said. And with children involved in educational and sporting activities, there is no shortage of opportunities to engage with the community. “It’s also nice to know that the dollars spent in town stay in town,” Kelly added.
Regional living has allowed the Glass’ to give up commuting, invest in a wonderful business and have more quality family time together. With so many natural pursuits nearby, they now enjoy many more regional activities, like skiing, 4-wheel-driving and camping.
Kelly explained that the work over the years by local landowners and Landcare in the revegetation of creeks, erosion areas and shelterbelts have contributed to the lush natural landscape in the region and says, “It has made Holbrook a beautiful place to call home.”
Tim and Kelly are a wealth of wisdom for others looking to make a Country Change, having done many years of research before making their move. They suggest, for optimal success, people must be comfortable with the fact that assets may not be as liquid, especially if a business purchase is a part of their relocation. “Exiting your decision if you change your mind can take time,” Kelly cautioned, “But don’t be afraid to do your research, make informed choices and pivot if you need to. Be prepared to immerse yourself into the new lifestyle, and it will reward you.”