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Burwood East pioneers back where it all began

Written by Margot Taylor
on January 16, 2020

For Des Akers moving to the site of the former Burwood Brickworks in Burwood East and what will be Ryman’s newest village is a return sixty years in the making.

Des, who will be joined in the village by his wife Coral, says he is “very familiar” with the site.

“In the old days I used to go down with the trailer and pick up bricks to build terraces for a new garden in a brand-new home in Blackburn North when in those days all you got was a new home, sitting on a rough block of land and establishing a garden was left to you.


“So, we are sort of going back to where it all began.”

The Templestowe Lower couple will leave their home of 47 years and be among the first residents to move into the village in October.

But rather than being stressful, making the decision to join the village has been full of “little bonuses”, and the hardest part has been breaking the news to a long-time next-door neighbour, they say.

Another bonus was having two best friends move into Ryman’s Weary Dunlop Retirement Village in Wheelers Hill, Des says.

“We went and had a look at the building they live in when they shifted in about five years ago.

 “I think we had done all our homework when they announced that they had apartments to sell for Burwood East.

“We did find out further little bonuses, like there is someone to help with moving in, not just the furniture, but putting things on the walls and setting the place up.

“Having the interior designer come out and discuss the furnishings, that was another nice surprise, and I felt it was a fair contract, and so did our lawyer.”

Coral says they have felt supported throughout the process.

“You feel as if you are not on your own, you have assistance from the team to help with the big things, and the small things.”

The couple will move into a three-bedroom apartment so Des, who worked in finance, can have a study and “disappear in there like he does at our current house”, Coral laughs.

And Templestowe Lower will remain part of their lives, she says.

“We will probably come back to have coffee and see friends, it’s not that we are going to the end of the earth.

“But I think there was a window there for us where the older we got, the harder making the move would be, so we felt now is the right time.”

The first stage of the village, which will comprise 114 aged care beds across low care, high care, and specialist dementia care, 96 assisted living suites, and 174 independent apartments when completed, is scheduled to open in October.

Upon completion it will be home to around 400 people.

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