08. move to Binalong

Before I had considered retirement, I decided that my future was coming up and I had to think about it and I really liked the university but I didn't want to end up a little old lady in the suburbs of Canberra. There seems to be a lot of things to do but nevertheless it's a broad unfriendly mass so I decided I would go and live in the country. I'd go and live in a village and if I could cope with a college, colleges are small communities, I thought if I can cope with the ANU, I can cope with a small town, it’s no different.


I like to be in a small community and if I want to be quiet and get on with my work I can be quiet, but everybody knows me and people gossip and one learns things. I'm not isolated but I can be isolated if I want to be. I don't talk to anybody all week if I don't want to. I started that preparation in the 80s knowing I'd have another decade or so and by the time I was 50, I was going to have a place of my own in the country.


I became an owner builder and I bought a bit of land and it took me two years to find what I wanted. I bought the land and then I bought the house at an auction and relocated it. By the time I retired I had been in the community for a few years and I did all these things by myself. I'm a quite practical person.


With what I experienced at the ANU I felt quite traumatised and didn't feel like going back so l had disassociated myself a bit from the art school. I went overseas quite a lot to see my mother because I was free then and able to go backwards and forwards every year and spend three months of the year with my mother. I continued with my profession. I've learned more and more about the computer.


I joined two service groups, Junta was one and Lions was another, both of which I didn't like at all. They were very hierarchical and very strict and they are American corporate structures and didn't like it. People wanting to be more important, people wanting to make money, but the hierarchy in what they wanted to do with it, seemed to be more important, that's not my kind of thing so I've let them go.


But from one group, I kept a friendship group and a group of us meet once a month. We all belong to one group and we're all anti hierarchical, so we meet once a month for dinner in Yass and Binalong and we contribute five dollars at the end and we give that to somebody like the Angels or Cancer Care.


I've joined the Binalong Volunteer Rescue squad, although I'm not a rescuer, and it's for people who have road accidents. Binalong Rescue Squad used to have part of the main road between Yass and Bookham and all the road accidents that happened there, the rescue squad would be called out and you would go with this van and big rescue truck. And there were the people who looked after people and gave first aid until the ambulances came. Part of the rescue squad team the people who go to any accident are the fire brigade and rescue squad. Mainly I do driver reviver and I spend the day on the highway serving people cups of tea. [Gillian was posthumously awarded her 10 years service medal in 2009]


I belong to the theatre group when we have plays. I do the stage painting, I paint all the scenery and I quite like doing that. I also belong to a mental health group in Harden and did a mental first aid course and now I'm a volunteer at Harden. Mental health has improved slightly but it is still pretty poor, but you've got the setting for a little group where people who are stressed can go and meet and chat. It’s rather a non threatening place where people who have got mental conditions go to. The biggest problem in society is schizophrenia and depression and manic depressiveness and the people who front up are on medication, very interesting people, but its somewhere they can go and they just talk.


I paint and my son lives in Canberra and I go to the art gallery. I go up to Sydney to the art gallery. I built a studio when I retired and I set up a print room and I do computer art and I've gone back to my basic painting and drawing and I submit work in Sydney. I've got a huge body of work that now needs to get out. I've got 30 years of work a lot of which hasn't seen the light of day. My next adventure is to be out there.

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