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Having the time of their lives

Meet two retired principals who share very important principles – including to live life to the max!

They richly deserve it after a lifetime dedicated to education and the community. Both Barbara Mothersdale and her partner Ross McKeown were principals of schools in Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs, and Ross also worked in teacher training and taught philosophy at U3A.

For nearly 20 years, Ross volunteered as President of the Tinnitus Association of Victoria, while also living with the condition. He produced an informative video on managing tinnitus and over the years has counselled more than 10,000 people living with a ringing sound in their ears.

Barbara also believes in giving back. She still volunteers at the Peter Mac Centre, talking to patients, working in the WellBeing Centre, taking patients to physio and basically being wherever she is needed.

Barbara and Ross are loving life in their spacious apartment at Manningtree Hawthorn independent retirement living complex where they are surrounded by friendship and camaraderie and are close to the city and public transport.

And they’re pretty serious about having fun. Both love being able to go for walks along the Yarra River and in the stunning parks, and hopping on the train or the tram to the city to eat out or go to the theatre and art exhibitions.

“Melbourne is a beautiful city,” says Barbara. “There is so much to see and do.” And she certainly has a global perspective on things. She was born and raised in South Africa, and lived in London for a time before moving to Australia. Both she and Ross are widely travelled.

The couple has thrown themselves into activities at Manningtree and for the first few years Barbara, 72, was Chair of the Residents Committee. She belongs to a book club that meets once a month, and both she and Ross love the fact they can go to the cinema at the complex, play cards and games and work out at the gym whenever they want to.

Ross, 78, enjoys sport. He plays table tennis on Tuesdays and snooker every Wednesday afternoon. There are games rooms housing the tennis and snooker tables – and snooker in particular has taken on incredibly competitive levels! Each month Ross and another snooker player at Manningtree take on two players at the retirement village down the road – and the winning team comes home with the trophy. And you’ve guessed it! The trophy currently has pride of place in the snooker room at Manningtree.

“It’s great fun,” says Ross. “We all really enjoy ourselves!”

They also enjoy all the socialising and camaraderie with other residents. There was a residents’ BBQ on Melbourne Cup Day and a sing-along and football quiz get together before the Grand Final – and they try never to miss Happy Hour. And soon a group of them are off to Port Arlington on the ferry to spend a day enjoying a two course lunch at a winery.

And wine tasting is something the residents know a thing or two about. There’s even a wine cellar in the building, and opportunities to meet for an occasional cheeky wine tasting or two.

“We’ve made such lovely friends here,” says Barbara. “There’s a tremendous community spirit. It’s just great to be surrounded by interesting people; there’s always someone to chat to or have a laugh with.”

And living in such a secure complex makes it easier for Barbara and Ross to travel. They simply just pack their suitcases and close their door, knowing that the apartment will be safe and secure.

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