Bribie Island

Coincidental neighbours

Coincidental neighbours

Friendships come full circle


As a retired real estate agent and self-confessed ‘flower child’, Jan has been more than happy to go with the flow to see where life takes her.

And it’s brought her and her hippie campervan to GemLife Bribie Island where a remarkable set of coincidences have occurred.

“I had a house on the beach before moving here but was tired of fixing things, so GemLife sales consultant Michelle Rochow said to come and look at GemLife Bribie Island, so I did and moved in,” she says.

“I had a wish list of what I wanted in a home, and this resort had everything. I felt like I’d moved into a beautiful Airbnb. Then I met my neighbours and here’s the craziest part.

“I grew up in Scarborough, and there was a family up the road known as the Murgatroyds. To my surprise, my new neighbours were Rick and Michelle, and Rick was one of the Murgatroyds! What are the odds of that?”

Rick and Michelle were just as delighted to discover the identity of their new neighbour.

“Jan heard we were somewhere in the resort and approached our other neighbours to find us and she was very surprised to learn we lived right next door!” Rick says.

“Michelle Rochow told her we were here,” Michelle says. “Rick and Jan lived down the road from each other as kids, and I lived around the corner from them as a teen before I was even married to Rick. We were all sort of together in the same street in Scarborough. It really is a small world.”

But the coincidences continued.

“I also found out that Rick’s sister Kay Hayter, who was my sister’s childhood friend, also lives here and Rick’s wife Michelle used to breed corgis and lo and behold, sold one to my mother years ago while she was already married to Rick, but we didn’t realise this until recently.”

How did the two figure all of this out? Michelle explains.

“We got on to the conversation of dogs because Jan has a little dog and I told her I used to breed corgis and she said, ‘my mum had a corgi years ago’, and I said, ‘was it a white one?’,” Michelle says. “Jan said ‘yes, we called her Candy’ and I said, ‘well, I’m the one who bred that dog and sold it to your mum’. We had a laugh about that because that’s when we realised how connected it all is.”

The coincidences didn’t stop there for Jan, who has also met some wonderful new GemLife friends since moving in.

“I met the fun-loving Judy Haley at the dog park because we both have doggies, and now regularly visit the local RSL’s dog cafe and spend lots of time there together,” she says.

“And did I mention Judy Haigh from the welcoming committee? She was my welcome person here and we are both Christians and now I go to her church. Let’s call it another coincidence that two of my best friends I’ve made here are both called ‘Judy H’.”

“Then there’s Jacqui and Michael Glyde who moved in a few months ago. My friend Daphne asked me to show them around the resort as a favour as they were considering buying here.

They did and now have both become very good friends of mine too. This place is amazing for friendships and coincidences.”

Now that things have finally slowed down, Jan and her fiancé Graeme have just headed off on another adventure.

“We are leaving for a three-month caravan holiday for the winter, so my home here couldn’t be in better hands while I’m away. This is GemLife.”

The meaning of friendship at a GemLife over-50s lifestyle resort

“Good things come from staying bright and happy with people because life’s too short not to be, and as long as you feel safe you know you’re among true friends. Having Rick and Michelle next door, I’ve never felt safer.”

Jan Brown

“True friendship is enjoying each other’s company, shared interests, providing comfort in difficult times and above all accepting you for who you are.”

Michelle and Rick Murgatroyd