In 2012 my husband and I moved from Tatong to Portarlington on the Bellarine Peninsula. I was the driver of this move as I had always wanted to live on the coast. We had no family living nearby, knew nobody there, so we were starting from scratch. At that time, the town had a lot of holiday homes. The resident population was spread far and wide, with many houses occupied only on weekends and holidays.
I checked out the various activities available and initially joined an exercise class which was held in the local Senior Citizens building. The ladies were very welcoming, so after a few weeks I started to feel at home. I had not been swimming for years, but with the beach on my doorstep, I ventured back. Swimming is not really a social sport however I found a swimming pool near our house. I joined, became a regular morning swimmer, and further extended my circle of acquaintances. I then discovered that the local Neighbourhood House held various activities and joined the Family History group. Initially I was not really interested in Family History but joined to extend my social circle. However, as anyone who has an interest in their history will tell you, it can become an addiction!
My husband and I decided to try our hand at bowls. After five compulsory lessons we were invited to join the members for a social day. Unfortunately, the weather was lousy. Although we played several games I ended up with a flu-like infection which seemed to put an end to that venture.
One weekend we had a visit from a Benalla couple. During the weekend the lady, Betty, persuaded me to have a hit of tennis. This was another sport that I had mothballed about twenty years previously. I enjoyed playing again and, as a result, I joined the Veterans at Port Lonsdale and played twice a week.
As a Vinnie’s Volunteer in Benalla, I sought out the nearest Vinnie’s and offered my services. This was located at Queenscliff, both extending my knowledge of the area and introducing me to a different group of people.
As you can see, I spread my net far and wide. This is the only option if one moves to a new place in one’s senior years.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the Bellarine Peninsular, however realised there were many downsides to living there, particularly as one ages.
Our decision to return to Benalla to live was made easier by the fact that we already knew people here. We would not be ‘New in Town’ once more.