A Trip Down Tree Change Lane – Part Two!
Following on from last month’s review of the year that has been, let’s take another trip down ‘tree change lane’ and hear more from our newest passionate locals who found love, purpose and their forever homes.
City-lifers, David Bray and Louise Freckelton often spent their holidays escaping to the countryside. They loved walking in nature, with Kosciuszko National Park their absolute favourite place to trek. Despite having lived in cities across the globe including Melbourne, Sydney, Beijing, Shanghai and Cambridge in the United Kingdom, a voluntary redundancy from the University of Sydney, gave the pair the impetus they needed to follow their true passion. Leaving their careers in sociology and International Relations, David and Louise jumped into an adventure of a lifetime and moved to the Snowy Valleys region in 2012.
“We had always wanted to live in the bush so moving here was logical,” said Louise.
It was the Snowy Valleys’ abounding natural beauty, wide-open spaces, country charm and position that really sold the location. Just 4 hours from Sydney and Melbourne; and 1 hour from Wagga Wagga – a major regional centre – they had everything they needed within a realistic drive.
Since making their move over 9 years ago, they’ve discovered even more local delights – beautiful wines, fresh apples and berries, great cafes and an interesting community.
“I’m not sure I thought there would be such a wonderful mix of people – farmers, business people and many interesting and creative people. People taking their cafes to the next level, with amazing photographers, artists, other fabulous food producers, winemakers and beer and cider makers. Such an interesting multi-faceted community of different people.”
Imagine relocating your life, two children and career to a country town on the other side of the world? A country town that you had never been to and where you didn’t know a soul.
Well, for Greg and Anna Glide, this gamble from 10,000 miles away, ended up being the bravest and best gamble of their lives.
“We did not know anyone from the Riverina so we had to do our homework from Canada before we left,” said Anna, who is originally from Victoria.
“Greg spent a lot of time on the computer and looking at surrounding areas and reading the reviews. He also watched a number of videos and decided on Coolamon. We wanted a quiet country town to raise our two girls that were close proximity to Wagga. Coolamon fit our needs and so far, the experience has been everything we could have imagined. We had to pick where we wanted to live from 10,000 miles away and that was stressful, however, we certainly made the right choice,” she added.
The family’s transition to Coolamon Shire in the Riverina, New South Wales, was made easier by Greg’s ability to find employment in Wagga. A position that not only made the move easier but came with huge benefits for their family as a whole.
Jagjit Singh always had a dream of living in a small town and working on cars. Growing up in regional Nakodar, a district in Jalandhar, Punjab, north India, his heart’s desire was to one day return to a quieter lifestyle after relocating to Australia with his wife.
“I came to Australia in 2014 on a student spousal visa, as my wife always wanted to finish her master’s degree in Information Technology in Australia,” said Jagjit. “After my wife finished, I decided to fulfil my dream… So I enrolled in Certificate 3 in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology.”
Completing his studies in early 2021, they started chasing their next dream – relocating out of the city. “I started looking for a job in my field and I found quite a few jobs in the automotive industry in a few regional areas of NSW – and Griffith was one of them. I started researching and I finally chose Griffith as a new place to relocate for two major reasons.
“First, I came to know that there are all sorts of essential facilities available, which I was looking for. Secondly, Griffith comes under NSW regional area and I wanted to avail myself the opportunity to get a 491 visa nomination through RDA Riverina by living and working in the regional area, as it will help me to get my provisional permanent residency,” he said.
When researching their Country Change, Mark Yates and his wife, Danica, did their research. In fact, they visited five other towns in the Riverina, but on a visit to Temora Shire, something just ‘clicked’ and they instantly knew they’d found their tree change.
“We’d heard Temora was called the ‘Friendliest Town’ and we thought it was a bit cliche. But on a visit, we got out of the car, stepped onto the footpath and someone immediately said ‘hi’ to us. Danica and I looked at each other and we said, ‘That settles it, we’re staying!’ So it holds up to its title!’” said Mark.
So, with that decided, the couple and their two youngest children Jessie (10) and Harrison (11) moved from the South Coast in January 2020.
“The main reason we moved is that we wanted to purchase a house and give our two young kids a country-style life. To be honest, we were sick of the city life!” Mark admitted.
They loved it so much, Mark’s eldest son and his fiancé also moved from Campbeltown, Sydney. Despite moving in the throws of Covid, they haven’t been short of things to do or missed out on being welcomed as new locals.
Rebekah Douglas had little say in where she would be placed when she finished her Masters in Teaching. In fact, her and her partner’s tree change decision was made for them – and they couldn’t be happier.
“Teaching in a country town, in comparison to metropolitan schools, is unique. As a teacher in a small country community, you are much more than your job. You are a role model in the community, you develop relationships with students and their families in the school setting but also in the broader community,” said Rebekah.
James and Rebekah, who recently welcomed their first child, moved from North Wollongong to Gundagai in November 2019. They packed their belongings and their cat, Kai, and moved to the town without knowing a single person. The couple grew up on the South Coast but had always loved the country of New South Wales and spent a lot of time travelling the countryside.
“Whenever we got a chance between work and university study, we would go camping, bushwalking and exploring through the National Parks. Moving to the country was always something we knew we wanted to do together. I have always viewed the change as an adventure to tick off my bucket list.”
Big Smoke to Pretty Little Lattes
Moving from a big city to a small town of 6,000 people to buy a cafe isn’t what most 20-somethings are doing. In fact, Michaela Corona is an immensely brave entrepreneur.
Thanks to some persuading from her parents and some soul-searching, the Sydney Strata Manager decided she wanted a change of scenery – so, she bought a cafe in Narrandera in the Riverina!
“Working in Strata Management was a very intense environment all the time, which started to affect me very negatively. My parents have lived here since August 2018 and tried to convince me to move… My motivation came from the entrepreneurial spark that told me “you want to work for yourself,” said Michaela.
“It wasn’t until Christmas 2020 when I was down the south coast celebrating with my family and my partner’s family, that I realised the city life wasn’t for me. My job was deteriorating more of my life than I liked to admit and I needed the challenge to experience growth – which is something I’m constantly seeking every day of my life.”
Without any real experience, that’s what she did! She jumped ‘all in’…
Just like last month, there is no shortage of inspiration waiting for you in the Riverina. So what are you waiting for?