The story of a sea change

September 18, 2015
manly beach, beach, sydney, sea change

THIS IS A GUEST POST by Denyse Whelan

More information on Denyse and how to connect with her can be found at the end of this post.

We have moved to live closer to the sea.  This is the story of why we made a sea change.

sea change
We are two retired teachers who were born and bred by the sea.  Well, as close to the sea as you can get on the New South Wales Coast.  I grew up in Wollongong and then moved to Sydney’s Northern Beaches near Manly.  My husband spent ‘the best years of his growing up life’ near Ballina on the Far North Coast.

Most teachers in the late 1960s did not receive appointment close to the sea!  In fact, far from it.  In my husband’s case, it was over the great Dividing Range of NSW to the North West to a couple of one-teacher schools.  My first appointment was to a North West country town.  We met in a regional city that is part of that area.

Our married life saw us live near Narrabri.  Hot summer days and nights and cold winter nights with some sunny days.  Then we moved, by now with a little daughter, to South Western NSW.  We lived (and he taught) in a little school half way between Hillston and Griffith where the famous Black Stump is located.  I was appointed to the Central School at Hillston.  Hot, cold and remote but we loved it as young teachers and there was always family holidays back at Mum and Dad’s near the beach.

Our most isolated school together was at Weilmoringle – a twelve-hour drive from Sydney.  A great and unique teaching experience and it was where our daughter started school in the 25 kids, 2-teacher school with Mum and Dad as teacher and principal.  We stayed two years.  Beaten by the isolation and a need to be closer to medical attention for my husband’s recently diagnosed health challenges and the realization it was time to find a house of our own.

And we did.  From 1978 until 2014 we lived in North-Western Sydney.  Our first home was located in Kellyville and it was a brand new one for our little family of one child.  However, within the 12 months of moving in, we became a family of two kids.  Onwards through roles for me in various schools in the same area where we lived and out into far western Sydney we were very far from the sea!

We moved too, into new and bigger places to accommodate us, family occasions and childcare of some of the grandchildren – the kids of our kids.

But, every January school holidays, when our kids were young, we’d pack up the car and travel to various beach towns such as Port Macquarie, Port Stephens, the Central Coast of NSW and the Far North Coast.  We always LOVED our seaside breaks and vowed that one day we WOULD live by the sea.

Then one day came in January 2015 when we sold up in Sydney and moved into a house on the water (Central Coast), as a couple, in fact, a retired couple.  Now we have made the sea change, we doubt we could live anywhere else.  Whilst we do not yet have a permanent place to call ‘home’ we are trying before buying.  We love the weather here and the ability to drive ten minutes and walk on a superb beach as we did recently.  The family hasn’t visited as often as we’d like and we miss them but we catch up on some of our trips back to Sydney.  But, we are now here to stay!

Have you made a significant change to a new place or area to live?

Thank you Denyse for sharing your sea change story with us!  I am quite envious of your sea change to the Central Coast and exciting new beginning!

BIO: Denyse Whelan is a retired school principal and blogs every day in 2015 about life, making the transition to retirement, art and photography.  She’s been blogging for over 5 years and is an active user of social media – all links provided below. 

CONNECT with Denyse

Ciao for now,


Linking up with With Some Grace for #FYBF

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  • Reply Amy @ HandbagMafia September 18, 2015 at 7:56 am

    Wow, I’d love to be able to move around like that! We are a blended family, though, so it’s off the cards for now. What great memories you’ve created!

    • Reply Denyse September 18, 2015 at 8:12 am

      Thank you so much Amy! Our family is a blended one of sorts these days too, but we know that over time, once we are more settled we will feel greater connections again with the family. I miss them but with one granddaughter having her licence and a car we are already planning a school holiday lunch catch up here next week!! Denyse x

    • Reply Min September 18, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      We’ve been in the same area our whole married life! I’d like to move somewhere near the mountains and the sea (and not far from all necessary amenities) but a bit rural for my retirement! 🙂

  • Reply Natalie @ our parallel connection September 18, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Oh to have the freedom. One day I will have it but for now, I am happy being stuck with 4 school children paying enormous school fees.. lol #FYBF

    • Reply Min September 18, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      I’ve moved on from the school fees thank goodness but still not free to take off as I’ve got all three adult kids still living at home! 🙂

  • Reply Fairlie September 18, 2015 at 11:45 am

    There’s something very appealing about living close to the ocean. I grew up in an inland town in WA, but holidayed throughout my teens seaside. And now I live in a Melbourne suburb. I’d love to move closer to the beach at some point.

    • Reply Min September 18, 2015 at 3:52 pm

      I’d love to get to WA one day Fairlie but yes you’re right – the ocean is special and very soothing to be near. I live on Moreton Bay! It’s not beach and waves but it’s still lovely to have to walk along and I love the bird and sea life it brings with it! 🙂

  • Reply Kirsty @ My Home Truths September 18, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    I’ve always lived within a half hour of the sea but I rarely get to the beach. We’re just not beach people, however every time I do get there, I do find peace and contentment. Maybe that’s telling me something? Enjoy your sea change!

    • Reply Min September 18, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      I used to be a bit of a surfie chick during my teenage years and I had the tan to match (I will pay for that no doubt!). I loved the beach! These days I don’t like being on the beach during the heat of the day so much but LOVE going for early morning and late afternoon walks! 🙂

  • Reply Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid September 18, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    I want to do a sea change just like that in a few years, but we can’t decide whether to go to the beach or the mountains. Eight years ago, we moved from the UK down under, I guess sea changes don’t get much bigger than that!

    • Reply PatrickC September 18, 2015 at 10:20 pm

      I’m happy that for the last 30 years I have lived near the sea, 15 minutes from Torquay and the Great Ocean Road and all its magnificence. My dream however will be to move to Port Fairy down in Victoria’s South West, buy an old cottage and open a photographic gallery and studio.

      • Reply Min September 19, 2015 at 9:56 am

        You sure are lucky to live where you do Patrick! I’ve Googled Port Fairy and it looks like a beautiful, quaint little town. I hope your dream comes true for you! 🙂

    • Reply Min September 19, 2015 at 9:54 am

      Sammie – I agree that no sea change is quite as big as a move from the UK down under! That must’ve taken quite a lot of courage and faith! You’re still here 8 years later so hopefully you’re happy with the move!;-) xo

  • Reply Grace September 21, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    I love living by the sea and it’s so wonderful to see Denyse and her husband settling well in their own sea change. And what a list of amazing places she’s lived in !

    • Reply Min September 22, 2015 at 10:31 am

      I love living by the sea too Grace (though we don’t have waves here on Moreton Bay)! Yes Denise and her husband have lived in some lovely places and are very lucky to live where they are now, even though it takes a little while to adjust! 🙂

  • Reply Denyse January 9, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Thank you Min for having me be a guest poster here. I have been ‘slow’ in getting back as just after this time of writing we moved again! yes, we found a more comfy house and a bit more ‘up the coast’ and whilst we are renting it is starting to feel like home. That was the element missing last time! Denyse

    • Reply Min January 11, 2016 at 7:52 am

      It was my pleasure Denyse! Thank you for offering to write a guest post for me. I’m so glad that your recent move is feeling more like home! 🙂 xo

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