BIG PLANS: Developer Peter Dickson at the start of Linton Estate, Ballan, Victoria.
BIG PLANS: Developer Peter Dickson at the start of Linton Estate, Ballan, Victoria.

Gay-friendly retirement ‘world first’ for LGBTI community

TWENTY-SEVEN years ago, Peter Dickson sat with friends around a dinner table in the front room of his Yarraville (Vic)house discussing ageing, living arrangements, what people like themselves would do and finally the solution of a retirement village for like-minded people.

In 2016, that conversation is on the verge of becoming concrete - or should we say bricks and mortar.

Linton Estate is being touted as the world's first LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual, intersexual) over-50s living community with the flexibility to be a weekend retreat or a place to retire.

Linton Estate was founded by Mr Dickson, who has long held a vision for building a residential village for the LGBTI and "straight friendly" community.

Based in the rural township of Ballan, in the Moorabook Shire, it's 50 minutes west of Melbourne.

As a fifth-generation Ballan local, founder Mr Dickson sees the village as an employment generator and the means of slowing the move from country to city.

"My parents would say, if you don't want to live here, then how can you expect others to?" he said.

"I agree, that's why I am here."

Mr Dickson previously worked in investment banking and has overseen small developments. He currently works with the Salvation Army.

Eight years ago, he created another life for himself - as the Linton Estate developer.

If people ask him why it has taken so long, he has a simple answer.

"Well, it's just only been me doing it," he said.

Nevertheless, MrDickson is keen to acknowledge the people who have backed him to get to this point.

"It's about giving back to all the people who have contributed and also leaving a legacy," he said.

But all in all, he praised the council, councillors and in particular Salvation Army staff for their support of him and the project.

Financially he is thankful for DomiCom and Perpetual Trust for coming on board to raise the money now needed for the build.

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