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Singleton Is Tops!

John and Christine Henderson are enjoying life in Singleton. They have lived in many places here and overseas, so why did they choose Singleton and how have they coped with the move?

What was your previous career?
I am a retired banking executive. I had 42 years in the finance industry; retail, corporate and private banking. I worked for the Commonwealth Bank twice (27 years apart ), the Banque Nationale de Paris (now BNP Paribas) and Westpac. I headed up the Private Bank for Westpac for 6 years. I entered management at a young age; always heading up a business or division. We lived in 18 houses, 7 cities and three countries including London twice.

Where were you living previously?
Our base was always on the North Shore of Sydney - Lindfield and Pymble, but we did move quite a lot and rented our house out. We wanted to (and did) get our two children into and out of high school undisturbed. They are both now following professional careers. One is in advertising and the other a lawyer.

Why did you move to Singleton?
Singleton ticked most of the boxes for us; proximity to Sydney, good climate, close to lovely vineyards and golf courses, the people are wonderful and the prosperity of the town gives it a real sense of purpose. The sporting, medical and community facilities are all very good.

How long did it take you to settle into the area?
Whilst we knew nobody in Singleton we settled well inside 6 months, primarily because we both become involved in local groups – an embroidery group and Rotary initially. I had been in Adelaide, Wellington (NZ) and Sydney Rotary clubs previously. Our neighbours also made us feel very welcome.

What activities are you involved with in the Singleton area?
My wife belongs to three local groups; an embroidery group, a social group called NEWS (Networking Energetic Women of Singleton) and a Fine Arts group. I am a director (and ex President) of one of the local Rotary clubs, I am the Chairman of the Hunter Medical Research Institute (Singleton Foundation), I am working as a consultant (honorary) with the local golf club and I also had two years on the board of our local historical society and museum. I also am on a few committees with the local council.

What do you think are the attractions of the area?
See previous comments…..but also the countryside surrounding Singleton is very pretty; we have a beautiful lake only 25 minutes out of town (Lake St.Clair ) we it is possible to sail, ski, fish etc.

Do you miss your previous area?
Yes, some things. We miss the variety of things to do that we had in Sydney (particularly entertainment), perhaps the variety of food and other shopping - the shopping here is mediocre at best but a new shopping mall is finally under construction, a new Bunnings, a new Aldi and Coles etc …..but there are plenty of pluses that offset the minuses.

Your advice/ suggestions for people wanting to move when they retire?
Some people toss up whether to move when they retire or stay right where they are. Having lived in cities all our lives we always wanted to retire to the country (we are not beach people - I get sunburnt going to the letterbox) - and, given that clarity of thought our task was made easy.

Step one is to decide whether you actually want to move to somewhere or stay in the same house/city and, presuming you are keen to move work out where, the type of town, the size of town, the climate and the facilities etc and draw a radius around your preferred area and start looking.

Take your time and be patient.

Draw up a list of criteria and aim for, say 17 out of 20 main criteria - that's what we ended up with.

Then, of course, read your book: Where To Retire In Australia.


A few general comments.

1Try and become involved in local activities soon after arrival in your new town

2 Try and give something back to the community.

3 Have a project - house reno, a sport, building something……it could even be a project for your new town …eg. a new golf course…travel, relax etc

**Photo courtesy of the Singleton Argus**