From country to town, Margie softens the blow

AS FAR back as Margie Tomlinson, 60, can figure it she and her husband's family have been connected to the land.

For 25 years Margie and Jim lived on Mungabunda property near Bauhinia Downs west of Moura, making them both at least fourth-generation property owners.

They were in a farming partnership with other family members. Jim's parents lived on the property with them.

Five years ago Margie and Jim broke with family tradition, sold their property and moved to the big smoke ? Rockhampton. "It was a big decision to leave that life and do something different.''

Part of the move meant winding up the family partnership, as well as moving Jim's parents off the property and closer to services they needed.

"Terms of trade were getting harder, and we just wanted to do something different and not leave it until we were too old,'' Margie said.

After making the decision, going through the process and making the transition from country town life, Margie has a message that would apply to most people making a major life change.

"There's a certain amount of grieving no matter how much you want to make the change.

"The initial transition was a bit bumpy, but we're enjoying what we're doing now.''

Margie told the story of their transition to town this month at the World Rural Women's Day celebration at Rockhampton Leagues Club, organised by the Department of Primary Industries and Fitzroy Basin Association.

"The purpose of the day was to encourage people to understand that it's okay to feel lost when first making the move,'' Margie said.

One of the big differences between town and bush life Margie said she had difficulty adjusting to was the "people factor''.

"In the bush you're dragged into everything because there's not enough people, while in town you have to go up and say hello to people, and bush people are generally reserved.''

It took her a while to understand and work through the "lost, mixed- up feelings'' that resulted from the different people dynamics.

But now she spends a lot of time baby sitting her two grandchildren, helping her husband in their investment business, doing volunteer work, helping at her local church and tending to a large vegetable garden.

"I have got the freedom to choose, and at my age that's really wonderful, I've not had that before,'' she said.

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