Michael Plunkett and Angela Green moved to Armidale in late January after more than a decade in Melbourne. They decided to trade in the traffic and demands of the big smoke for the lifestyle they remember from their childhoods.
Why did you decide to move from Melbourne to Armidale?
The decision to move was one of slowing down, spending more time with the kids, moving closer to family and finding a town that would provide us both with good employment opportunities.
With Angela’s parents moving back to her mother’s childhood hometown of Guyra last year and with my parents living in Coffs Harbour, Armidale landed squarely on our radar of potential destinations. We came up to visit a couple of times last year, and the more we saw of it, the more boxes Armidale ticked for us. It’s an important regional agriculture and business hub, an educational centre and it has plenty of interesting possibilities ahead.
Angela – tell us about your family?
Michael and I have two energetic and adorable children: Gabriela, who is 8-years-old and Timothy, who is 4. We brought our dog ‘Burrito’ with us from Melbourne, and we adopted ‘Pirate’, a one-eyed Jack Russell, from the RSPCA when we arrived – we thought Burrito needed a country friend to show him the ropes! We have all settled into Armidale really well and love the community feel, the fresh air and space – it sounds a little clichéd, but it’s absolutely the reason why we moved, and we’re thrilled it’s our new reality.
The newest members of our family are Alvin and Billy, two Poll Hereford steers that my Dad has given the kids. It will be great for Gabby and Tim to have their Poppy teach them how to look after them.
Michael – how are you settling in to your new position at Roberts & Morrow?
I’ve only been at Roberts & Morrow as the new General Manager since the start of July. It’s a great firm with a strong history and a bright future. Like any new job, I am still getting my head around the full scope of my role – but the people are fantastic, and I’m really excited about my future with them.
Angela – what are you doing at UNE?
I started at UNE in February this year. My role is the Executive Director of Policy Planning and External Relations, which is quite a mouthful of a title, but essentially means that I work with the UNE Senior Executive and the Government on policy matters within the sector. This has been both interesting and challenging, given the impending deregulation of the higher education sector next year.
After 12 years in the banking and finance industry in Melbourne, it has been a big transition for me and one that I am really enjoying. The university is a vibrant and beautiful campus and the entire staff is committed to its successful future, for the benefit of students and the wider New England community. I am excited by the possibilities the new environment will bring UNE next year, and I’m pleased that I am finally getting on top of the University lingo!
Michael – what do you like most about Armidale so far?
Living here has so many upsides, it’s hard to know where to start.
We’re living about 5 minutes from the centre of Armidale and with only 2 sets of traffic lights in town, Angela and I think we are saving about 3 hours per day between us in travel time alone. That means more time together as a family – and more sleep-ins!
We’ve been fortunate to buy a beautiful property on the outskirts of town, which we absolutely love. The previous owners established the most incredible garden, and we love spending time in it on the weekends – we have challenged ourselves to keep it as beautiful as they did. With so much space around us and a beautiful view north to Armidale, there is a certain tranquility and peacefulness that is just what we were looking for when we left the city.
We’ve not been here long, but already we’ve made some good friends. I’ve spent the last 25 years in big cities and you forget that there is a certain friendly, familiarity in country towns that you just don’t get in the city.
Angela – what schools did you choose to put your children into, and why?
The fantastic range of high quality schools in Armidale was a significant factor in our decision to move here. We wanted to continue the kids’ education in single sex schools, which they were enjoying in Melbourne, so we have chosen The Armidale School for Tim, who is in Transition this year, and PLC Armidale for Gabriela.
Timothy has also recently started at Tiny Town early learning centre for two days per week. It has been a big move for the kids, and TAS and PLC have both gone above and beyond to get the kids settled, both socially and, for Gabby, academically. We are also delighted with the amazing facilities and the range of sports, music offerings and other activities that are available. Gabby and Tim have made lovely friends, and both of the schools have also helped Michael and I meet other parents.
With the children having such a smooth transition, Michael and I found we had one big thing less to worry about and could quickly settle into Armidale too.
Thanks Michael and Angela.