Alan & Marj Anderson

“Finding Home at Wivenhoe”

You might say that farming is in the genes for Alan Anderson so to speak. Born on the land to a farming family, it seemed only natural that he continue with the tradition. Alan has always had a passion for farming animals and so the idea of moving into retirement living was not something that the Andersons had ever contemplated. “We always said we would never move into a retirement village and yet here we are.”

Starting with their first farm in Dubbo, then to Cobbitty on 50 acres and finally at Crookwell on 500+ acres, where they now have a Simmental cattle stud of approximately 150 head of cattle. While they have maintained a home base and a farm base for many years, the challenge was always going to be finding the right mix for farming and retirement as they began to plan for the future. Having lived locally for 25 years or so, moving from the area was not of interest. And maintaining the farm at Crookwell was definitely a requirement – “we wouldn’t be at Wivenhoe Village if we had to give up Crookwell”, says Alan. And so it became a lifestyle choice.

“We stumbled on Wivenhoe Village by accident – we came along to the Kirkham Rise Open Day on the 31st of March 2012 and saw that the village was coming. We ran into some friends there and they were also considering the village, so it felt right from a local perspective straight away”. Marjorie has a great network locally – friends, interests, hobbies and family, so living at Wivenhoe Village meant she could retain all of the things dear to her while Alan could retain the farm.

The key thing that attracted Alan and Marjorie to Wivenhoe Village was that the homes are all freestanding. “We liked the idea of individual homes that gave easy access and privacy”. Having come from acres, the semi rural feel was of key importance and consequently Alan and Marjorie selected a bush connected lot with lovely northerly aspect and a beautiful view.

If you ask Alan and Marjorie what they like most about their new home, they claim to have the best place in the whole village! “We had only built once before and I had been wanting to build again for many, many years,” said Alan. So the home at Wivenhoe Village allowed them to build their dream home without the pressure of doing it themselves. “The homes are incredibly comfortable –generous in size and the style is exactly as we would like – the bay window and country cottage feel definitely drew us to this home”, said Marjorie. They are very happy with the home and all its finishes, including gas fire place, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer and Miele cooking appliances. The Andersons also love the fact that there is privacy. “We’re not on top of one another, it simply doesn’t happen.” The designs of the homes are such that private spaces are maintained and living rooms do not impose on each other, so it really does present as a private oasis.

As one of only 4 residents that moved into Wivenhoe Village initially, Alan and Marjorie have enjoyed moving in as one of the ‘Pioneers’. “The residents in the first run of completed homes are so lovely and we have all been there to give each other a hug and help each other out with things as necessary, we’ve really gelled!” The community aspect of village living was also a draw card for the Andersons. Marjorie recalled sage advice offered to her by Alan’s step mother. “You can stay at home and be miserable or you can join in and be part of the community”. That’s how I see Wivenhoe Village, if you want to join in and be part of the community you can and your life will be richer for it. On the flip side, if you want to stay home and keep to yourself, you’re free to do that as well!

What is it that the Andersons are enjoying most about Wivenhoe Village? Less maintenance according to Alan – he no longer needs to cut the grass at the farm to return home and do the same at the Village – it’s all taken care of! “The landscaping has been extremely generous,” says Marjorie and they are enjoying tinkering in their new garden. “We are looking forward to the arrival of the Lodge so we can use all of the facilities and capture more of that community spirit”. The Lodge will house a 55 seat cinema, indoor heated swimming pool, cafe/lounge/bar area and gymnasium for resident enjoyment.

Following the advice of their own accountant, the message they would share with others thinking about retirement living is don’t leave it too late. “Moving at any time is a physical & emotional effort, so forward planning when it comes to these things is important,” says Marjorie.