Our home faces almost due east, with a verandah and our bedroom both on that side of the house too, so every morning, when the sky is clear and the sun is up, we get a glorious golden glow streaming first into where we are waking, then into our faces when we go outdoors to enjoy breakfast in the sunshine. An additional bonus is that the prevailing wind usually comes from the south-west, so even if it is windy or raining, we sit there in the sheltered calm of the verandah, watching the weather pass us on either side, without touching us! It’s the perfect way to start the day and it gives us the happy boost to see us through until tea time, at 6pm.
In fact, the whole of our town has a particular atmosphere about it for some reason. When the weather in Gippsland is severe; with cold, powerful winds and sheeting rain, or so hot that it’s a problem trying to move, let alone do work, we always seem to miss the worst of it. In fact, we have a theory here, that we are protected in some mysterious way, by the proximity of Wilson’s Promontory, only 50km away to the south-west. It’s as if the wind hits that massive lump of rock and is deflected north and south of it, leaving us in the wind shadow of the ‘Prom’. We do get bad weather of course, but it is rarely as bad as places like Traralgon, Morewell and Lakes Entrance, who can really ‘cop it’ sometimes. Of course, as in most things even this positional good fortune has its draw-backs, such as the rest of the surrounding area being flush (no pun intended), with water, while our little piece of countryside can be suffering drought conditions, and our luscious grasslands being subject to wild fires during the hot summer months.
We also have the great advantage of the Bass Straight only a few kilometres away from us, a cool sea, with currents flowing gently up from Antarctica and helping to stabilise our daily temperatures here, so that we rarely go below freezing point in winter and above 30C in summer, making it very liveable. Of course, we do get exceptions sometimes — it was 45C here earlier this year, but that is really a bit of an oddity thank goodness.
Our town tends to be a ‘retirement town’, full of people who have either spent their lives on the land before handing the farm on to the next generation and buying a nice cosy unit or house in our urban setting, or teachers from one of the four schools we can boast, teachers who have taught generations of the people they now live amongst, and are watching their past pupils bring up families of their own. Because of this, there is an air of general, but not ostentatious wealth about the town; which can support four banks, two supermarkets, two hardware stores, two petrol stations, three schools, seven churches and a hospital, in a population of only 2,000 souls. Shops on the main street are rarely without owners, at a time when a lot of other small towns show gaps like an old man’s dentistry, often not filled for many months!
The people who live here in Yarram, Victoria (for that is the town I am writing about), are almost without exception, kind, friendly and helpful. We have more volunteers and volunteer groups than we know what to do with and, being a pretty isolated little place, we all know and trust each other, so doors and cars don’t need to be locked and garages can be left open, with little fear that the mower in there is going to get stolen!
Jacqui and I have lived here for 28 years and we almost feel like locals now! We are heavily involved in the activities of the town, though we are easing off some of that now, at our ages — we feel we’ve done our bit in the time we’ve been here, now some of the ‘youngsters’ can give it a go!