My wife and I moved out of Melbourne to settle in Yarram in 1996. It proved to be a great decision, one we never regret, and one which has provided us with a wonderful life and a lot of very good friends. But of course, as in any action, there have to be a few little problems, just to make life interesting.
Yarram is really little more than a village, with a main street lined with little privately owned shops – only about three of them are parts of large conglomerates, and a population hovering around the 2,000 mark, rarely moving more than a dozen or so away from that number. We are about 220km from Melbourne, in the heart of Gippsland and some 15km from the sea and Ninety Mile Beach; it really is an ideal place to live, safe, warm, friendly and much less expensive than the city, in most instances.
Yet, as I said before, there are one or two minor problems associated with living in the country! For instance, until just a few years ago, there was one bus a day running early every morning directly from Yarram to Melbourne, and one back again in the evening. In fact we were truly isolated! We have recently been able to get a couple more buses a day, and we have also managed to arrange for several buses a day to Traralgon, 60km away, a much bigger town that also boasts a train service, every hour, to Melbourne and back. This means another route to the city – the Yarram bus to Traralgon and train to Melbourne, very handy, compared to what we had before!
Of course, the small shops in Yarram are also small in the stock they carry, compared to the big stores in the city, and their prices may be a little higher, but our shopkeepers are always willing to get in what you want, and don’t forget, we are near enough to be able to walk to all our shops, which means no expenditure for fuel or wear and tear on the car, which balances things out quite nicely.
Another little problem is the one about rumours! Like any small town, Yarram thrives on rumour – I’ve come up against rumours about me that hadn’t even happened yet – I went into hospital for a few days with a bit of a blockage in my intestines and I was interested to find when I did get home, that I was on death’s door with cancer! Needless to say, I always take rumours with a dose of salt after that experience, and really as I said, it’s a part of small town living, and simply spices things up a bit – just don’t believe them!
We have only a small theatre here, more of a hall really, which is used for all sorts of purposes by a variety of customers. Unfortunately it doesn’t get used nearly as much as it could and should, because the owners (Wellington Shire Council) charge $300 a day for the use of the place. Consequently, people only hire it if they can get a grant from somewhere, or it’s hired for some private event, like a wedding or something, which is rather sad really, because it is a lovely old hall.
The only other entertainment, such as cinemas, etc, is to be had in Traralgon, Morwell or Sale, all of which are about 60-65km from Yarram. It means the cost of the entertainment, plus a fairly hefty cost of travel to get there, enough to put a lot of people off, especially in a place like Yarram, where a major part of the population is made up of pensioners. Thank goodness for Netflix!
Look past these things and a few other very minor problems, and we really wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. We enjoy good, clean air, travelling thousands of kilometres over open sea before it gets to us, we don’t see a lot of mad gunmen around the place, the cost of living is lower than in the city and politicians don’t bother us too much; they know from experience that country folk can be pretty canny, so they stay away as much as possible!
I would just like to end my days here. I’ll be very happy if I can.