My Place: Noelene Richardson | Sunbury & Macedon Ranges

It’s been a busy few years for Gisborne’s Noelene Richardson. Since moving to the region from the United Kingdom less than a decade ago, she’s become involved with numerous local groups and entrenched herself in the community. She tells Elsie Lange about making the Macedon Ranges home.

Tell us a bit about you and what you do?

I am the secretary of the Gisborne Rotary Club, president of the Macedon Ranges Croquet Club (MRCC) and secretary of the Northern Districts Croquet Association (NDCA).

The Gisborne Rotary Club has recently celebrated its 45th year of service to the local community and further afield. We continue to support initiatives such as Multiple Sclerosis awareness, and provide ongoing support for the homeless and the local food bank. Our last local fundraiser was The Easter Egg Hunt. Rotary is a truly global organization, but we strive to support the local community first and foremost.

I played my first game of croquet in October 2019, looking for an outdoor activity to become involved in after our first year of COVID lockdowns. I immediately loved it (it is addictive!) and 6 months later I took up the role of president. MRCC is an active local sports club in its 30th year. We have a range of members, some of whom have been with us for many years through to new members who have joined in the past year. Although our club is predominantly women, we are hoping more men will consider giving it a go and everyone is welcome when our season starts in September. The social connection is fun, the game is challenging and strategic and excellent for maintaining fitness. The opportunity to visit other clubs for tournaments in our district and beyond makes life interesting.

I am also a volunteer of the Macedon Ranges branch of Days for Girls. Initially launched in the US in 2008, it is a global non-profit organization that prepares and distributes sustainable menstrual health solutions to address the issue of period poverty.

I have had a lifelong hobby of sewing, patchwork included, and enjoy knitting for the ‘Prem Babies’ at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. All of these have also been an amazing way to meet and connect with other people in the community. I love making new connections and hearing people’s stories.

What’s your connection to Gisborne?

My daughter and her husband – who is originally from Lancefield – were living in Gisborne when my husband passed away seven years ago. I decided to move across the ditch to experience a new place, find a new direction and be closer to them and my three granddaughters who all attend local schools. My youngest son also moved back from the United Kingdom two years ago, and has joined us in Gisborne. We were delighted when we got news of his plans. I am fortunate to have such love and support around me.

What do you like about where you live?

I live close to the town center which is a big plus for me. There is a strong community spirit here that is welcoming and friendly. I’m amazed at the number of committed gardeners in the area and their wonderful gardens. I love the beautiful birds and native flora and fauna, but am yet to spot a koala or a wombat in the wild.

While Gisborne is in regional Victoria, we are not too far from Melbourne, close to the airport, and you can even drive to a beach for a day trip.

What, if anything, would you change about where you live?

Although I love the Macedon Ranges and surrounding areas – it’s no secret I don’t love the weather in winter. I’ve spent most of my life close to the beach and outdoors and it’s challenging coping with the cold.

What is your favorite local place to spend time?

If I’m not in my garden or someone else’s garden, then I love having a coffee or a bite to eat at Baringo. Hanging Rock is an ideal visit in the summer months for relaxation and to enjoy the natural surroundings and the wildlife.

Tell us something people would be surprised to know about you.

I’ve studied Feng Shui, I love organizing people’s clutter. Balancing space creates positive energy.

I am also incredibly competitive (particularly playing cards and board games) and have passed this on to my grandchildren, so look out when we get together for a games night because its game on!

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