Dr Graham Hall is a wildlife biologist. He has chosen to relocate to Armidale because of its close proximity to the bush environments and the coastal region.
How did you first discover Armidale?
We first ‘discovered’ Armidale through the University of New England. My wife successfully completed a degree at UNE several years ago, and our daughter completed a Psychology degree with Honours at UNE in 2009. I became aware of the good name of UNE’s Rural Science course when I was at Roseworthy Agricultural College in South Australia back in the 1970s. So we have been coming and going to Armidale for the last few years and each time we visited, seemed to enjoy our stay more and more.
Where are you relocating from, and why?
We have lived in Launceston for 14 years and have enjoyed the lifestyle that Tasmania offers. However, as I have a number of work commitments in Victoria, NSW and Queensland, having to service them from the distance of Tasmania has become quite tedious. Living in Armidale will be a much better central base, and hopefully I can pick up some more projects in the region.
Also, Virginia has been keen to move back to Armidale for some time. She enjoys the cultural activities that are always happening in Armidale, and the Tableland environment and scenery. Being originally from Sydney, she is also not too far from the coast, where the water is warm enough for swimming – unlike the water in Tasmania, which is always cold, even in summer!
What were the real estate challenges involved in relocating?
The biggest hassle has been the physical move! We are not just moving from one suburb to another, or even one city to another, but the move involved a large distance with sea and land transport. However, over time we have developed a good relationship with Gail Schaefer from Uphill and Schaefer Real Estate, who has helped make the buying process simpler than what it may otherwise have been. Her local knowledge has been invaluable with those myriad of questions that arise when people move interstate.
What is involved in being a wildlife biologist?
I have been a biologist for over 34 years, and I have worked in all states of Australia and overseas. I would like to think that your region will benefit from my experiences.
The term biologist covers such a wide area from insects, to birds, to mammals and everything in between. I have been fortunate over the years to work on a number of projects that have given me broad experience over many animal groups. These range from dung beetles and other insects, quail and ducks, mammals including rock wallabies and other native critters, deer and other exotic species.
I also have had experience with sheep and wool classing, and still maintain my wool classing stencil. So I have fun following a diverse range of animals, rather than being tied to any particular group.
Being a wildlife biologist is not too different from many other careers – if you enjoy the subject, it is a pleasure rather than a job.
Tell us more about your wool classing …
My experiences include sheep reproduction and classing, as well as wool classing. Given that the New England region is a premium wool producing area, I am looking forward to getting involved in the local sheep industry.
And your involvement with quail?
I am on the board of The NSW Game Council, and I have a particular interest in quail. I seem to be the only person (to my knowledge) studying quail biology at the moment.
There is very little known about quail in Australia, so I am looking into the conservation and management of quail. I am currently writing a book about this subject.
Will it be easy to continue your work now that you are living in Armidale?
Hopefully! Being well serviced by air, rail and highways means that commuting from Armidale to where the projects are is less difficult than previously. The School of Environment and Rural Science at UNE has generously given me an Adjunct position, so I am looking forward to getting some new projects off the ground with those staff. Being self-employed, I am always looking for additional opportunities to apply my skills and experience.
What are Virginia’s plans now?
Virginia has been keen to return to live in Armidale for some time, but only now has the timing been ideal. So she is going to be relishing the lifestyle, the four seasons, and the cultural options available in both Armidale and the surroundings. As well, she is looking forward to actively getting involved with the community as much as possible.
What attracted you to Armidale initially?
Location, location, location! The closeness of the bush environments and the coastal environs means there are always some natural happenings and sights to see and explore. Then there is the cultural and foodie side of New England, plus the educational and research role of UNE. So it seems to us that Armidale in particular, and New England in general, has all of the elements that we look for in an ideal place to live and work.