The Great Retirement Challenge: Fitting in all the Fun

Blog 14 September 2017

When David and June Gemmell decided the time had come to downsize, they knew that they didn’t just want to move into an apartment. “We wanted to be part of a community where there were activities and it’s just beautiful here at The Village Coorparoo. It’s exactly what we wanted,” says June. A former music teacher, June has maintained her interest in amateur theatre since moving to The Village.

“I’ve done a lot of shows with the Sunnybank Theatre, mainly musicals, although not on the stage. I’m the production manager and I think I’ve produced about 13 shows at Sunnybank.

“The last show I did was Dusty, which is the story of Dusty Springfield, and which was really successful and I’ve just put in a submission to do a show next year, which has just been accepted.

“Musicals require a big commitment with lengthy rehearsals and choreography,” she says.

June has yet to stage a production at The Village but believes it’s possible.

“I’m not ready just yet but I will be. The problem is that my expectations are pretty high when I do a show and if did anything here, there’d have to be auditions.

“Also, unless someone has written something original you have to apply to get the rights to put on productions so as yet we’ve only put on concerts here but no theatrical productions.”

Since moving to The Village, June has also discovered a passion for mahjong.

“I’d never played mahjong before and now I’m addicted to it. It’s great mental exercise and it helps you to meet the other ladies,” she says.

She is also on the social committee of the University of the Third Age, a university for mature-age students.

“I’ve also done a couple of subjects there and I help organise their activities,” she says.




June’s husband David, a former amateur radio enthusiast, has found his knowledge of computers has made him a popular figure around The Village.

“A friend of mine has a T-shirt that reads: ‘No. I don’t want to fix your computer.’ I’m thinking of having one made for myself,” he says, smiling.

“One of my first jobs was working at Channel 7 in Brisbane, where I trained as a technician. I ran my own business with a partner for 30 years and then he bought me out.”

The pair then decided to build a boat and go sailing.

“We’d spend the winter months in The Whitsundays and then sail back down to Brisbane. We’ve still got a lot of yachtie friends who visit us here when they’re in town,” he says.

He and Jane are planning a return trip to The Whitsundays this year, this time on a cruise ship.

“We had some wonderful times there and it will be great to go back there and do it in comfort,” says June.





Warren Allen moved to The Village with his late wife when the steps in their two-storey home became an issue.

“It suits me here,” he says. “I don’t have to worry about the gardens.”

“I have a busy life. I’m involved with Souths Rugby Union Club where I’m a life member and I’m also a life member of the Tugun Surf Live Saving Club.”

Warren’s association with the surf club stretches over 40 years although the one time “clubbie” admits he’s probably a little old to do patrols these days.

“I’m also in Probus and I’m on the committee there and I work with Meals on Wheels in the kitchen twice a week.

“My wife was a driver for Meals on Wheels and I love cooking so I ended up in the kitchen. We turn out about 80 meals a day. I also walk a lot. It helps to keep me fit,” he says.



Linda Dennison brought her love of exercise to The Village and has shared it with other residents.

“We looked at a number of places before we moved here and for us, this was perfect and being close to the centre of the city was a big plus.

“I’ve always exercised because I think it’s important if you want to enjoy a quality of life.

“Before moving here, I was going down to The Sleeman Sports Complex at Chandler where there’s a good gym and endless fitness classes including pilates and yoga,” she says.

“It’s a great place but once we came to The Village, we started to do exercise classes here so I’ve managed to have the best of both worlds.

“I have an active life outside The Village and I enjoy the exercise classes here. I can just walk down to the pool for aqua aerobics and do away with the driving,” she says.

She has a reputation for rounding up her fellow residents and herding them gently in the direction of the exercise classes.

“I got the yoga and the aqua teachers from the Sleeman Complex to come here to The Village.

“There’s a lot of people involved in the exercise classes here and there’s also a tai chi class which is very popular. When I was younger, people would look at you strangely when you said you did yoga. My aunty thought that yoga was the devil’s work.

“I love it. It helps to clear your mind. I know some exercises are fads, like Zumba, but that’s not for me although we have dancing classes here, which is great. We do the sort of dances you would expect to see in Pride and Prejudice,” she says.

A late adaptor to the sport of lawn bowls, Mel Keene is discovering that it is not as easy as it looks.

“You play one great shot and think that you’ve got it and then your next shot is terrible,” he says.

“I like it although I’ve discovered that it can be very competitive. There are quite a few people who play here in The Village and there is an outdoor bowling green here, which is great.

“I haven’t joined a club yet but I’m thinking about it. I’ve just got to improve my game but it’s very social and a great way of meeting people,” says Mel.



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