When Joan Walpole moved into a partly-built Tarragal Glen, Bob Hawke was Prime Minister, the Berlin Wall still stood, and Jason Donovan was at the height of his pop career.
The date was 12th January 1989, and after over six decades of living and working on farms, Joan and her husband Ray were ready to take things easy.
And so began Tarragal Glen’s longest-standing resident’s 29-and-counting-year journey at the village.
A residents’ committee was quickly formed, additional land was purchased for villas, and a bridge to the latest development was built over the creek.
All the while, Joan was making the most of her new home.
“When we came here, I’d never lived anywhere but on my father’s farm and then on our farm at Kulnura, and I immediately enjoyed it,” she said.
“The first manager would drive us to Terrigal Beach at 7am to swim or walk, but then the swimming pool was finished.”
Completion of the Country Club in 1990 was a major milestone, meaning that the regular dinner evenings and get-togethers had a permanent home.
“We were then able to do so much more,” Joan said.
“I was on the social committee for 13 years, making some very good friends in the process.”
The venue has been the home for numerous noteworthy events and celebrations, including Joan’s golden wedding anniversary, several 100th birthday parties, Anzac and Armistice Day services, and many successful charity fundraisers.
Joan hasn’t been shy over the years, partaking in many of the activities on offer at the village.
“I was a mad lawn bowler for 50 years, I have enjoyed the friendship afternoon for the ladies, and the coffee club is a great thing,” she said.
“A retirement village is what you make it – you can mix or stay private.”
As her 29th anniversary is celebrated by residents and staff at Tarragal Glen, Joan is still loving life at the village.
“I can’t see why anybody wouldn’t love to live here.”
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