For City Paramedics, It’s a Relief for Body and Soul

Blog Post
October 19, 2022
March 5, 2024

For London-based paramedics Nick Charris and Krystal Charris, a tree change to rural New South Wales was never something on the cards. Both grew up in cities – with Krystal on the Northern Beaches of Sydney and Nick in Perth. They’d just spent four years living and working in the centre of one of the most bustling cities in the world – London. And they felt that city life was for them.So it was quite a surprise when they decided to move back home to Australia after four years abroad, to suddenly find themselves living in Coolamon Shire – a country region with just over 4,000 people. But though it was unexpected, it was just the change they needed.Krystal says, “We are both paramedics with NSW Ambulance and don’t get a huge choice in where we get stationed. They don’t have to station us together either. But we were lucky enough to both get Coolamon.”They might have been lucky, but neither felt that way at first. Krystal says, “To be honest, we were so scared. It was scarier than moving across the world.”Nick adds, “We’d never even heard of Coolamon before. We thought it would be pretty isolating and boring. And we didn’t think that we would ‘fit’ into that lifestyle.”

Coolamon Main Street, NSW

Welcome to Coolamon

Luckily they were absolutely wrong. Both Nick and Krystal have been blown away Coolamon – the place and the people – and have found that they’re in exactly the right place.It’s hard not to love Coolamon. Located “in the heart of the Riverina”, Coolamon is a picturesque heritage town that boasts charming streetscapes, well-tended gardens and beautifully-preserved, iconic architecture nestled among green grazing land and pastures.It even has its own unique topographical features – the Coolamon holes. Thousands of naturally occurring indentations fill with water in the ground. They even led to the naming of the shire itself, as ‘coolamon’ is the Aboriginal name for ‘dish or vessel for holding food’.As the largest town in the wider Coolamon Shire, it’s surrounded by the smaller towns of Ardlethan and Ganmain and villages of Beckom, Matong and Marrar. Each brings something unique and charming to the shire as a whole.But the landscape was only one reason to love the Coolamon Shire. The people are equally lovely and welcoming. Coming from all walks of life, the town has a community and support that you just don’t feel in city suburbs. A feeling that both Nick and Krystal felt right away.From friendly ‘hellos’ at the café, to being members of the local cricket club, Nick and Krystal have definitely found their ‘country change’ feet.Nick says, “The town was exceptionally welcoming of our arrival, and since then, the community has embraced us in all aspects, including at the local café and in the sporting teams and community groups.”“We’re pretty recognisable in our paramedics' gear,” Krystal adds, “and working as paramedics in a small town is unlike any other place we’ve been stationed. We love being a part of the community, and serving here has been really amazing.”“It has been really nice to slow down,” Nick says. ‘And coming from London during a really stressful time, it was a change that we didn’t realise that we needed.”

Nick & Krystal Charris Wedding | Photo Credit - Down Brushwood Road Photography

A New Home and a Wedding

Nick and Krystal have embraced their new community and home so much that they recently held their own wedding in the Riverina, showcasing everything this incredible area had to offer. From the venue to the local wines to the local produce, Nick and Krystal wanted to show their family and friends – many of whom had never been to the shire before – just what made Coolamon (and the surrounds) so magical.Krystal says, “It was lovely to show everyone that our country town wasn’t just some little dust bowl. In fact, it’s an incredibly beautiful and wonderful place to live. Our guests went away absolutely loving it as well.”

A Perfect Fit

Their wonderful country town is something that Nick and Krystal are discovering more of every single day. When they aren’t working in the community, they are often out and about exploring everything the area has to offer.From bushwalking in the Kindra State Forest to visiting neighbouring shires, there’s always something new to discover in the Coolamon Shire. And the splendid mix of nature, community and family has meant that this couple, who never thought they would “fit” have found the perfect place in Coolamon.

Coolamon's Kindra Forest | Photo Credit - singletrack_matt

Advice for Others Considering a Country Change

When asked what advice they’d give to others considering a “country change”, Krystal says, “It’s a big challenge and a scary one. But embrace the town and the experience, and you will have a pleasant surprise, just as we did.”

If you would like to learn more about Coolamon Shire or need support with your move, contact the Coolamon Shire liaison, Laura Munro, on 02 6930 1831, or reach out to one of our friendly Country Change team here.

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