1. How long have you lived in the area and what brought you here?
We moved here in June 2015, primarily for family but also looking for a self-sustainable lifestyle with a minimal impact on the environment.
2. What’s great about living here?
The quiet – although it’s full of sound, with the birds and trees. Recently there was a cold front and we could hear the roar of the rain coming over the trees – it was just amazing. Another amazing aspect of living here is the friendly and welcoming community, not just here in Dereel, but also in Ballarat and broader region. I love that driving down Ferrers road people will wave, or walking down the street in Ballarat people will smile, we rarely experienced that in Canberra.
3. What do you feel passionate about?
The answer has changed over the last few years. It used to be my work as a teacher, but I am finding so many other things now – cycling, photography, gardening. That’s probably my biggest passion now, starting the garden and preparing for an orchard – I’ve been learning so much.
4. What do you find joy in doing?
Being in the garden. Not even necessarily doing anything there, just being in it. I also find great joy in our animals, the dogs have loved the move from Canberra to here and having so much space and dam I think it’s doggie paradise. Since moving here we now have a few sheep and are building up our free range and roaming chicken flock.
5. What is your current pet project?
Definitely our garden. Learning all about growing from seeds or cuttings. The different needs of vegetables, fruits and herbs. Rotation systems, nutrients, pruning.
6. What community groups are you involved in and why?
Currently I’m only just beginning to get involved in community groups here, and the type of groups I’m interested in have changed a lot since living in the city. There I was involved in a local film group and we ran a specialised film festival each year, and I was also a long running member of the Canberra Mathematics Association but now I find myself more drawn to gardening and cycling groups reflecting how my interests have changed. There is an online group for Ballarat growers for sharing experience etc, that I’m involved in.
7. Tell us about your best community experience.
It would be here in Dereel – I have never felt more welcomed. For example, the first time we came along to a community event was a cards day at the centre. But then we had a problem with the car and help was sourced for us immediately. Another example encompassing the broader Ballarat community is we put the call out online for fruit that people may have had on trees that they didn’t need or wouldn’t get to and we were inundated with so many offers that we were bottling and preserving for weeks. The giving and generous nature of the community here is something I tell all my friends and family about.
8. How could you see more of this happening in Dereel?
From what I can see so far, there is already good momentum building here in Dereel with plenty of good opportunities to bring together people with like interests.
9. Describe a future vision of Dereel that you would like to see.
Being new to the area and already loving it as much as I do, I don’t really have any future vision of Dereel. Maybe over time I will have more ideas, but at least now I know what avenues there are to make suggestions.