Rainbow Beach ‘treechangers’ Margaret Collins and Mick Norman leave the city behind for a more personal community in the Gympie Region.
Rainbow Beach ‘treechangers’ Margaret Collins and Mick Norman leave the city behind for a more personal community in the Gympie Region.

'Treechange' not always simple

THE shock of the new and the loss of things we all take for granted about our old familiar circumstances – these are among the things that most ‘seachangers’ and ‘treechangers’ have to cope with when they pull up stakes in the city and move to places like the Gympie Region.

Just ask Glen Echo couple Mick Norman and Margaret Collins, who left their successful Brisbane plumbing business to relocate to Rainbow Beach.

But, as much as they spend a lot of time at their Rainbow Beach haven and regard it as a very beautiful place, they quickly ran out of challenges and discovered that they are not just yet ready to retire altogether.

Glen Echo is more the “treechange,” with shocks including “the snake skin on the kitchen table this morning” and “a huntsman spider yesterday that you could have put a saddle on”.

The couple’s small business skills have come in handy in planning the future of their property, which trades as Coorambulla Droughtmaster Stud.

New experiences include the fall from a horse which recently broke one of Mick’s fingers.

“Since we’ve bought there last April, we’ve had frost, fire, floods and a mini tornado.

“Fortunately, the neighbours have been extremely helpful and people work together to help each other in emergencies,” Mick said.

“It’s truly beautiful,” he says of the property, “2000 acres in its own valley”.

There’s no popping down to the corner shop to buy something straight away, but the property isn’t all that isolated.

The clear run to Rainbow Beach and to Gympie compares with 15 minutes in heavy traffic in Brisbane just to travel from their home at Nundah to work near the airport roundabout.

But they have found the sense of community which, according to QUT seachange researcher Nick Osbaldiston, is what city-to-country migrants are often looking for.

Mr Osbaldiston is studying the motivation and experience of people who leave the city in search of the often surprisingly complicated “simple life.”

He said people like Mick and Margaret are rejecting cities to find a more personal community.

Gympie Times


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