Tarragal a shining light after 30 years
There's no truer test of quality and substance than time itself, and on that measure alone Tarragal Glen in Erina has surely passed with flying colours.
The expansive broadacre retirement village first turned soil in 1989 and has grown to a community of 438 homes, ageing gracefully like many of its residents.
A lot has changed since welcoming its first residents 30 years ago, but two things have remained the same since day one - a close-knit community spirit, and pioneering resident Joan Walpole.
Mrs Walpole moved into the Village in 1989 with her husband but her association with the site goes back further still.
"I remember watching films at the drive-in that used to operate where the village now stands," she said. "For me it's been a journey from just a peg in the ground to what Tarragal Glen is today."
Having lived her entire life on farms in nearby Kulnura, Mrs Walpole found settling into life at Tarragal Glen an enjoyable transition, in spite of concerns from her friends and family that at 66 she was too young.
"I never regretted it for a second, in fact I think that's the age people should be coming in here. If you leave it too late you don't get to enjoy all the activities and events."
Mrs Walpole's sentiment is widely shared among residents, many of whom have relocated from Sydney to escape the hustle while still being connected to a modern, serviced community.
Former school principal, Elaine Sheppard, echoes these feelings in spite of initially believing she wasn't a 'retirement village type of person'. Ten years after making the move, Elaine has used the opportunity to reinvigorate her lifestyle.
"We need to adjust our lives as we age but still use the skills we used before. We have people in our village with degrees, trades, and a variety of different talents who make our lives more interesting, and we're all willing to share these gifts.
"I can't believe how lucky I am, it's a wonderful place to live" she says.
The trust established at Tarragal Glen and indeed its sister villages at Wood Glen in Erina, Glengara in Tumbi Umbi and Forresters Beach, is key to the high levels of resident satisfaction the villages are known for.
As times change however, so too do retirement living expectations from the new generation of baby boomers now entering villages. Under construction now at Wood Glen Retirement Village is an exciting new development, called The Rise, which aims to set a new standard in retirement residences.
The Rise will offer premium, apartment-style retirement living with all the connectivity of the established village within which it resides. Sales off the plan have only just been released and 30% of apartments have already been snapped up, with strong demand expected to increase in the coming months.