IT WOULD BE HARD TO FIND A RESIDENT WHO KNOWS WOODEND AS WELL AS GWEN GATEHOUSE. GWEN HAS LIVED AND WORKED IN WOODEND FOR 50 YEARS, SEEING IT CHANGE FROM A SLEEPY FARMING COMMUNITY TO A COUNTRY COMMUTER TOWN THAT’S BECOME INCREASINGLY POPULAR WITH FAMILIES THANKS TO NEW ROADS.
Gwen and her late husband owned a newsagency in Woodend from the late 1960s, which they ran for 26 years. To illustrate just how rural Woodend was in the early years of their business, Gwen said it wasn’t unheard of to have unexpected visits from local wildlife.
“We would get the odd koala or kangaroo wander into the newsagency to have a look around,” she laughed.
“We’d have to shut the door when we saw one coming.”
“When we first came to Woodend, there was only farmland. Now it’s been split up into smaller hobby farms and there’s only a few bigger farms left,” said Gwen.
“Because of the freeway, people can now live here and commute to Melbourne – it’s not too far away.”
Having grown up on a farm, Gwen is no stranger to the unique charms of rural life and appreciates the natural beauty that surrounds her Woodend home. Born on a farm in Euroa – a town forever linked with Australia’s most notorious bushranger, Ned Kelly, who famously robbed its bank in 1878 and roamed the surrounding ranges – a country lifestyle is something Gwen enjoys.
“I love Woodend. It’s growing so fast but it still has a village atmosphere,” she said.
Gwen was the fifth resident to move into GemLife Woodend and enjoys the views across the gum trees from the back of her home.
“My home is comfy and I’m very happy here,” said Gwen.
“The residents are all very friendly. I’m trying to go to most of the social activities – it’s a good community here.”
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