What single life is really like in a country town
Very few single people can say they have enjoyed the forced lockdowns of the past year, except maybe Helen Sanderson . Helen (35) bought her dream home in Henty in Greater Hume in the Riverina (southern New South Wales), in 2021 after hunting all over the region for 12 months.
“It’s the best decision I’ve ever made! I’m just so happy and love it here. All my family and friends that have managed to visit just love it too – some might even be a little jealous I think,” Helen teased.
“Being locked down and working from home has been a wonderful experience for me as I’m in my own little patch of paradise. I would hate to have been stuck back in any of my previous houses. On the downside though, I haven’t been able to share (and show-off) my new place due to COVID restrictions but now that is all lifting, I am able to,” added Helen, who is looking forward to hosting her family from Queensland.
Her role at National Australia Bank covers the Canberra and southern NSW regions, which provided Helen greater flexibility in location choices, without compromising her career. With extended family having lived in the area, she was also familiar with Henty, which contributed to her deciding on the township.
An aerial view of Henty, Greater Hume, NSW. Photo B Clark
“But the main reason for choosing Henty was that it gave me the opportunity to purchase my dream home! I was sick of being in rentals. Here I have a large double block, established gardens, two big sheds, a large pool and a big 4 bedroom, character/period home that would have been either out of my price range or had me mortgaged to the hilt if I was elsewhere.I view this house as my “forever house” where hopefully in the near future, I will meet some great guy and we can bring up our kids here too,” said Helen.
Having grown up on a farm, Helen has lived & worked in small country towns before but said to Henty is truly unique. With its welcoming community, her move with her three dachshunds, has been an easy transition.
“I also have access to the necessaries (medical, chemist, supermarket, butcher, baker, hardware, newsagent/post office, pub etc) but I am also conveniently located halfway between two major regional centres (Wagga Wagga and Albury) that I can pop over to, to get whatever I can’t here,” she added.
“For a single girl on her own I feel very comfortable and know that there are people around who if I needed to I could call on for support.”
Helen said the local resident pack for ‘newbies’ which is put together by the Henty Community Development Committee also helped her feel at home, faster.
“It’s a great pack that includes some local made jam, relish/chutney & sauce, vouchers to a range of local businesses (to encourages you to get out and shop local to start and check out what is on offer), as well as a Henty Community Directory, Greater Hume Business Directory and New Residents Guide. All of which are very handy to find local services and trades, as well as general day-to-day information,” Helen added.
While COVID-19 restrictions have limited her ability to explore the region fully, she’s enjoyed her ‘hermit lifestyle’ and relished being able to get into the garden and make her own mark on her new home.
“I’m also lucky enough to have a pool so I’ve been making the most of it in the warm weather. As work is fairly hectic and keeps me tied to a desk, come the weekend I just love pottering around the place and unwinding from the week that was. I am also keen to get into netball socially,” she added.
Without a doubt, Helen’s country change story would be enticing to many. So what does a single, career-focused young woman advise for others considering a country change?
“Don’t write-off a small town. You can get access to just as many amenities and services as your bigger towns. Do your research and have a look around. It might surprise you at what you can find! I was shocked to find I can get Japanese sushi and karaage chicken bowls from the bakery on Tuesdays & Thursdays and the Doodle Cooma Arms Hotel menu will make you drool. Also for those on your own, you won’t “get lost in the crowd” as you do in the bigger towns/cities and you’ll be included in the community,” Helen advised.