Seachangers Bruce and Helen Bevan, of East Ballina, made the move from St Ives in Sydney four years ago.
Seachangers Bruce and Helen Bevan, of East Ballina, made the move from St Ives in Sydney four years ago. The Northern Star

Bevans elated to escape rat race

FORMER Sydneysiders Bruce and Helen Bevan say making the seachange to Ballina is the best thing they have ever done.

When Bruce retired from his position as head of the Sydney-based Australian Supermarket Institute after living in the north shore suburb of St Ives for 30 years, he wanted to move 'sooner rather than later'.

However, his wife Helen, was not as keen: “I said 'over my dead body'. Sydney was home for us.”

That was eight years ago. In 2004, the couple visited the Northern Rivers for a holiday and Mrs Bevan, who is now a teacher at Emmanuel College in Ballina, decided moving maybe wasn't such a bad idea.

“Over a few days we went around with a real estate agent and bought a house,” she said.

“It was quick, but I've never regretted the decision. We have a wonderful lifestyle.”

For Mrs Bevan, the seachange is also a return to her childhood.

“I used to come up for holidays at Lennox Head. My grandparents used to own a shop there,” she said.

“It was the only one back then. There are many happy memories.”

The main reason for the change was to escape the daily grind of the big smoke and enjoy the lifestyle a smaller town has to offer.

“Sydney was a wonderful place to work and bring up kids, but we'd seen and done it all,” Mr Bevan said.

“Sydney became quite a hassle, quite hectic. It was time to move somewhere warmer.”

The couple's daughter also moved up with them. Their son lives at Bellingen and they regularly visit him.

Mr and Mrs Bevan said many of their Sydney friends now stopped in to stay on their way to Queensland and the couple had also made many new friends since moving here.

Although their active lifestyles, both enjoy bike riding and tennis, keeps them healthy, the Bevans are impressed by the local facilities.

“When it came to tick the box on hospital and health infrastructure we had no trouble,” Mr Bevan said.

When asked why they chose Ballina, Mr Bevan answered easily.

“All you have to do is look around you on a day like today. The Northern Rivers is a terrific place,” he said.



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