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A little chunk of paradise

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The Bishop Family
The Bishop Family have moved to a “chunk of paradise”. Photo: Kirstin Nicholson.

Kirstin Nicholson, The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper

Why are you here? Why are you living in this area? Some of you were born here and never moved, some moved here for work, some for love, some to be near family, and some moved purely for the lifestyle. That is just what two families have done recently – they chose the area for the lifestyle, the people and the surroundings.

It is a big step to pack up your family and make a new start, but for the Bishop and Knuckey families, who have recently relocated to Cohuna and Leitchville, they love their new communities. Over the next two weeks we will introduce you to these families and find out how they came to choose the area, and what changes in their lives enabled them to make a tree change.

This week we introduce you to Mark Bishop and Clancy Graham from Sunbury who, along with their four children, Isabella, Connor, Henry and Beau, aged four to ten, now call Cohuna home. Mark and Clancy purchased a house on the edge of Cohuna and moved in last month.

For years, the family would escape Sunbury when the opportunity arose, enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of northern Victoria and the river in their camper. Despite having everything at their fingertips, life in Sunbury was hectic with both parents working and running the kids to school and other activities.

This time last year the family was thinking of moving but work commitments prevented it. While Mark was spending some time working from home, he also spent some days in the office, a 30-minute commute down the highway. “I started to inject a few more days from home, then COVID-19 hit, and it was every day from home,” he said.

Since COVID-19 hit, employers like Mark’s are increasingly realising that working from home is a viable option, and it was not long before he got a call from one of his executives saying, “if this thing’s done anything, it’s taught us that everybody can work from anywhere, so you’ve got our blessing to do what you need to do.” That was the ‘permission’ they needed to make the big move.

Growing ever concerned about the rising crime rate in Melbourne, Mark and Clancy were keen to find a location where they could safely raise their children. Mark said, “we want our kids to have good values, and grow up in safe, friendly communities, and that’s what you get in places like Cohuna.”

The search began, with locations on the New South Wales coast and Victoria explored. Mark explains, “we got to thinking of what we do in terms of what we enjoy – going camping, all the time we spend up on the Murray in various places. We thought, why don’t we look for a little chunk of paradise in those areas that we actually love.

“The other thing is, what you can get for your dollar on the coast versus what you can get in the country, are entirely different things. Then we started looking at the different border towns and river towns. A big factor for me was the impact of things like ice.”

“It is just beautiful. Cohuna’s just always been a beautiful town. Or ‘Kyuna’. I’m starting to learn that now,” Mark says with a laugh.

“It’s a nice little town. The reserve down there, Gunbower Creek and beyond that to the river itself, to the Murray. It’s a nice little town. It’s easy to fall in love.”

So, how did the family come to settle on Cohuna? “We had all these searches set up on Real Estate [the website], across the board. We had saved searches, saved properties. This one. We just kept coming back to this place and this town. In the end we said, ‘let’s just do it’.”

Their plans include establishing a vegie patch in the back yard and keeping chooks (in the chook shed Mark will build himself) so they can become a little self-sufficient. Until they buy their own lawnmower, their new neighbour has offered his to use. “We’ve met all the neighbours, they’ve all just come in. ‘How are ya?’ It’s great.”

How has life changed for the Bishops? Mark says, “I haven’t felt this destressed in a long time. Sitting out the back the other night and just breathing the fresh air, there’s no noise, there’s just birds. It’s great. It’s just been brilliant. We’re very happy to be here. I think I’ve been walking around with a smile on my face.” Clancy adds that even if they were to win Tattslotto, they wouldn’t move because they are already in their little patch of paradise.

Koondrook and Barham Bridge 25 February 2021

Welcome to the Bishops and all the newcomers to our neck of the woods. Neighbourhood House invites all new residents to a barbecue at Apex Park, Cohuna, at 6pm on March 26.

This article appeared in The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper, 25 February 2021.

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