Margaret, Amos and their children were the first family to move to Leeton through the NSW Growing Regions of Welcome (GROW) pilot program.
Many say that regional Australia is the beating heart of our country – the place where everyone is welcome, every stranger is a friend you’re yet to meet, and where opportunities abound.
It’s also the focus of the NSW Growing Regions of Welcome program (GROW), a life-changing initiative that supports interested people from migrant and refugee backgrounds to find new lifestyle and employment opportunities throughout regional NSW.
Currently underway in the Murray and Riverina regions, the three-year pilot program hopes to improve outcomes for both new arrivals and local communities by offering a collaborative approach to regional resettlement. These newcomers often have under-utilised skills, qualifications and experience, which are both needed and appreciated in rural Australia.
Finding new opportunities through NSW GROW
Margaret Jemeli, Amos Talam and their two beautiful children – originally from Kenya – were living in Western Sydney when they came to Australia. Little did they know this wasn’t to be their forever home. That, in fact, they would be the first family to move to regional Leeton through the NSW GROW program.
The family connected with the GROW program through the Regional Employment Hub delivered by the Australian Red Cross in Western Sydney. The idea of living a quiet life away from the big city appealed to Margaret and Amos, and after learning about the lifestyle and work opportunities that were available in Leeton, they decided to take the plunge. With new jobs locked in, the young family moved from the bright lights of Sydney to the twinkling stars of Leeton.
Since taking their tree change in February 2023, the family hasn’t looked back. Margaret enjoys her roles as a Project Officer with Stahmann Webster, the largest and most advanced walnut processing plant in Australia, while Amos is working as a Disability Support Worker at Griffith Post School Options (GPSO).
The young family is thoroughly enjoying life in Leeton, thanks to great work opportunities, a welcoming local community and all the support provided through the GROW program. Their children are also loving their tree change, particularly the wide open spaces, outdoor playgrounds and new travelling adventures that came along with it.
Life in laidback Leeton
Those who know Leeton know it’s a fantastic place to raise a young family. The shire offers plenty of desirable drawcards – from quality schools, Tocal College and a TAFE campus, to abundant sporting and recreational facilities, including the Leeton Sport & Recreation Precinct, home of the Leeton Galloping Greenies Rugby League Football Club, the Leeton United Football Club and the Leeton Phantoms Rugby Union Club.
Known as the ‘Heart of Australia’s Food Bowl’, Leeton is also a major food production area and home to the impressive Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. Featuring beautiful architecture and a rich history, Leeton also boasts some gorgeous natural scener, including the RAMSAR-listed Fivebough and Tuckerbil Wetlands.
Leeton’s inclusive nature and good-old country hospitality make it a welcoming place for newcomers. With an abundance of employment opportunities and a wealth of innovation and enterprise happening in the area, Leeton may just be the tree change you’ve been searching for.
Plenty of ways to fill the day
There is just so much to do in Leeton, the biggest problem you’ll have is working out how to fit it all in!
- Leeton Shire boasts more than 20 parks, 14 of which include playgrounds for the kids.
- Get moving at Leeton Regional Aquatic Centre, Leeton Golf Club, the tennis courts, skate park, bowls club or the many cycling paths in the area.
- Don’t miss The Leeton Town Band Outback Spectacular.
- The Roxy Community Theatre is one of the oldest cinemas in Australia and is still operating today.
- Celebrate local industry at the Leeton SunRice Festival.
- Get inspired by this epic list of things to see and do in Leeton.
Margaret’s thoughts on her tree-change experience
We asked Margaret to share some of her thoughts about her tree change to Leeton. She said, ‘The move to Leeton was the best choice despite some challenges. The community here are welcoming and supportive people. And even thought I thought it would be rural life, I was very wrong! I would like to tell anyone who wants to move to a regional place that they will like it. Everything is the same as the city, but with less stress and busyness!’