While growing up in Forbes in New South Wales’ central west, Julie Anthoness didn’t really know where life would take her. She just knew it was for living, and that’s certainly what she’s still doing even though she’s now in retirement.
These days, Julie lives in Orange which is just over 100km away from her hometown. However, she took the long way around to get there!
With one older and one younger brother, Julie has fond memories of her childhood and time at school in Forbes. Her dad was a greengrocer who travelled to nearby towns and rural villages to sell fresh fruit and vegetables.
Upon finishing high school Julie sat the public service entry exam and was successful in gaining a job as a clerk in Parkes. She spent eight years there before transferring to Tamworth with the man she had chosen to marry.
When Julie’s husband received an offer to transfer to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, they jumped at the chance. Julie was lucky enough to transfer into another public service role at the Port Moresby army barracks when she got there.
Julie and her husband spent three-and-half years in Port Moresby, returning to Newcastle with their baby daughter in their arms. Julie was blessed with the arrival of a second daughter after three years. Unfortunately, her marriage ended, and she returned to Forbes to live close to her parents for support.
Life was not to stay that way for long. Julie was introduced by a friend to a special man – Brian – who lived in West Wyalong and was the town optometrist. They married in 1977 and Julie spent 42 happy years living in West Wyalong.
Julie initially worked at the pre-school assisting children with special needs. When Brian wanted a change of career and lifestyle, he and Julie started a successful picture framing business from home.
After Julie’s children left home, she became an active member of the community, volunteering and working in the role of President of the West Wyalong branch of Can Assist (cancer assistance network) for eight years. She also volunteered as a day support and respite carer for children with special needs.
“It was such a happy time,” Julie says. “It is a little town with a big heart, and I loved it. I quickly settled-in to life and made lots of wonderful friends.”
“Unfortunately, in more recent years, Brian became ill and we had to regularly travel 150kms to Wagga Wagga so he could receive medical treatment. It was quite an ordeal, but we received so much support from our friends – they certainly made things easier.”
“Brian passed away in 2017 and, again, the support came. However, with no family in West Wyalong, and feeling like it was time to downsize – the garden was becoming too much – 12 months after I lost Brian I decided to look at my options.”
“I have a very good friend who lives in Orange and she, of course, was encouraging me to move there. So, I went to visit, and she drove me around and showed me what was there.”
“The town ticked all the boxes – good medical, good shopping, good public transport – and it was closer to Sydney, so I’d be closer to my girls. Physical health and fitness have been important to me all my adult life and Orange provides the opportunities to continue an active life.”
“While we were on our tour of town, we drove past Oak Tree Orange and both agreed we should go in.”
“We received a very warm welcome from the groundsman who showed us a unit and explained there were others being built. I loved the place but wasn’t quite ready to move, so the idea of waiting for a new unit to be finished suited me.”
“I returned to West Wyalong and put my house on the market. Believe it or not, it sold in just three months! With the help of my dear friends, I had three garage sales. Then they helped me to pack up and saw me on my way. There were lots of tears.”
“Oak Tree Orange has all the things that are important to me. I live on my own, so I wanted somewhere that had gated security. I love a garden, but I needed one that was low maintenance.”
“Perhaps most importantly, I needed to be able to bring my little dog with me. She is my life and I couldn’t have moved without her. She loves it here too!”
“My friend who lives in Orange couldn’t be happier that I’m living near to her, and I’ve given my friends from West Wyalong somewhere to visit! I’ve made many wonderful new friends too.”
“I am enjoying life so much here at Oak Tree Orange, along with the wonderful friendships I have made with the other residents. It has given me the sense of community and care that I had in West Wyalong.”