Thirty-year celebrations for Toowoomba’s first retirement community

Grab your leather jacket and get ready to take a trip down memory lane as Toowoomba’s first retirement community – RetireAustralia’s Drayton Villas Retirement Village –celebrates its 30th anniversary.

To mark the milestone, the retirement village hosted an afternoon tea for its residents as well as a movie night on December 7, featuring the classic hit Grease, to pay homage to the popular old drive-in, Downs Drive-In Movie Theatre, which once operated on the site where Drayton Villas now sits.

Australian property developer and philanthropist Clive Berghofer, the brains behind the 125-home residential community development, will also be in attendance along with past managers of the Villas.

Resident Anna Althaus, 88, who moved into the retirement village 28 years ago, said Drayton Villas would always hold a special place in her heart.

“I was a dairy farmer back in the day and after a hard day’s work, I would take my children to the old-drive in where we would catch a movie,” Ms Althaus said.

“We always had a nice night out with the family, and we would do this a couple of times a week.

“Everywhere you look here, the memory of the earlier days is not too far away and that’s why I feel so special living here.”

Resident Rita Sheahan, 83, who moved to Drayton Villas 19 years ago, said it was the best decision she ever made.

“As an active 63-year-old back then, I enjoyed taking part in the many activities the village offered, such as swimming, tennis, table tennis, indoor bowls as well as the much quieter pursuits like cards, and Scrabble,” Ms Sheahan said.

“I was so busy my family complained I was never home for phone calls.”

Retiree, Meryl Tracey, 73, echoed Ms Sheahan’s sentiments.

Ms Tracey, who has lived at Drayton Villas for nine years, said there was never a dull moment at the village.

“There is something here for everyone and that’s the best part because you can be as engaged as you like or simply enjoy from the sidelines,” Ms Tracey said.

“You can be very happy in your retirement here. We are one big family at the village.”

RetireAustralia COO Simon Fawssett said the anniversary was also a celebration of Drayton Villas’ carefree lifestyle.

“Over the past 30 years, Drayton Villas has developed steadily supporting residents lead independent and fulfilled lives within communities they choose to call home,” Mr Fawssett said.

“We’ve always looked at ways to ensure our residents have the very best comforts to support their health and wellbeing whether that’s refurbishing existing buildings like our community centre, installing a new spa to our perfectly manicured gardens.

“RetireAustralia is built on creating a sense of place and a village where people live respectfully, healthily, independently and with purpose, and Drayton Villas is a testament of that.”

Acting Village Manager Michael McMullen said he was proud to be part of the close-knit community.

“Drayton Villas has an incredible sense of community spirit, which is why the residents love being here,” Mr McMullen said.

“I am proud of what we’ve been able to achieve over 30 years – to take this village from just buildings to memorable homes for our very special residents.

“These Villas have been an integral part of the Toowoomba community for 30 years and will continue that way for many more years to come.”



Our villages

With 29 unique locations across three states, RetireAustralia's communities cater to a range of needs and preferences.