Canberrans Svetlana and Peter Manns are moving from Canberra to Norfolk Island but have no plans for retirement.
Canberrans Svetlana and Peter Manns are moving from Canberra to Norfolk Island but have no plans for retirement.

Going with the Norfolk flow

THERE are sea-change retirees who seek a quiet life away from the pressures of their old working lives and then there is Svetlana and Peter Manns, who aren't ready to kick back just yet.

The couple this month leaves Canberra to move to little Pacific paradise Norfolk Island and to new jobs.

They are travelling 1898km from a modern apartment and the hustle and bustle of their capital city home of 25 years to an 1840s home nestled in the heritage village of Kingston, surrounded by a pristine environment and only about 1750 neighbours.

"Canberra is getting too busy, too big and is losing that bush capital appeal for me," Svetlana said.

 

Svetlana Manns with some Norfolk Island locals.
Svetlana Manns with some Norfolk Island locals.

 

"A sea change is perfect for Peter, who enjoys spearfishing in between work, and I love the island's nature with the magnificent trees, green rolling hills, friendly people, the cows and the chooks.''

The couple has worked in different locations before: in western NSW and on Thursday and Christmas islands, as well as overseas.

Theirs is an adventurous spirit. When Peter noticed the call for locums for Norfolk Island kept appearing in his news feeds, the couple decided to visit in March, just to look around.

"We fell in love with it," Svetlana said. The deal was done and the move to the island, with their pet dog and cat, started.

Svetlana and Peter are in their 60s and plan to keep working while they can.

"There are no plans for retirement due to ageing," Svetlana said.

Peter will work as a GP at Norfolk Island Hospital, while Svetlana hopes to work using her geriatric nursing skills.

She started her working career as registered nurse, specialising in geriatrics, but changed direction and became a chartered accountant and auditor before moving into aged care.

Svetlana and Peter Manns face a new chapter in their lives.
Svetlana and Peter Manns face a new chapter in their lives.

"I feel that in the next few years there will be many changes on the island as it integrates with the mainland and it will be great to be part of it," she said.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics' 2016 census, 32 per cent of the island's residents are 60 and over.

The not-for-profit group Care Norfolk Inc provides in-home services. Based in the old hospital, built in the 1940s, the Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged Care Service has 14 aged care beds.

Securing a job on the island will help Svetlana to integrate more smoothly into the community.

"While I have my health and feel I have something to contribute, I will keep working," she said.

While on the island, the avid learner plans to finish studying for her Certificate III in Individual Support.

"I don't think you should ever lose your curiosity," she said. "The older I get, the more excited I am about learning."


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