Ever thought about travelling Australia, making some money along the way and giving back to communities you visit? There are people out there doing exactly that!
Chris and Rod Maddocks have been retired and touring for 8 years. The couple are from the Tweed Heads/Murwillumbah area of New South Wales. Previously, Chris worked in a bank for many years and Rod worked for a Water Board and also for a Council.
Their family lives in Queensland and the grandchildren enjoy hearing about their travels. Chris says: ‘I have kept a blog of our travels which I had printed into a book for family and friends to relive our travels. The grandchildren have loved the photos of our different encounters’.
They learnt their caravan park management skills at Mareeba Rodeo grounds.
‘I was booking in and checking out vans and Rod was doing a few maintenance jobs around the grounds as well as guiding vans to their sites’, says Chris.
How did they come to work at the caravan park? They were waiting for a new car to be finalised when they were asked to volunteer.
It’s not just caravan parks they work at, they were recently asked to go and look after a macadamia farm, so the owners can have a holiday.
They enjoy being involved in the Kimba program. Chris says, ‘It’s absolutely fantastic, more towns should be doing it’
Chris and Rod had been at Coober Pedy for 9 months, caretaking at Fayes’ Historical Underground Home and were travelling to Port Augusta when they made the decision to turn west, and go and some Kimba residents who are now friends that we had met the previous year whilst involved with the ‘Grey Nomad program’.
How did they learn about the ‘Grey Nomad Program’ in Kimba?
Chris says they learnt about the program ‘by reading the notice board at the free RV camp spot. We had planned on calling in for a night or two but got involved with the program and ended up staying in Kimba for 3 weeks. We both love meeting and talking with people so it was easy for us to join the program in Kimba, but in saying this the local people are so friendly it was easy to feel at home with them’.
Last time they were at Kimba Chris had spent time volunteering the museum – in the history room. ‘I typed up the diaries of early settlers. It was so interesting I didn’t want to leave’. Rod ‘helped with a few maintenance jobs at the museum as well as doing some gardening at the hospital’.
There’s lots of different things you can do as a grey nomad. Chris mentions that some people volunteer at the library (documenting books, putting books in order, reading books to children) others read the newspaper to people living at the nursing home. ‘Life has been good to us, so this is a payback scheme for us’.
When they are in Kimba they really become involved.
‘The cricket grand final was on last year when we were there and we got decked out in the club colours with banners and became the unofficial cheer squad. Kimba lost against Buckleboo but we had a great day. We went along to lawn bowls where we were taught new skills (having never played before) and were even presented with Kimba coffee cups as souvenirs of our efforts. We also donned our fancy gear and went along to the 2017 Policeman’s Ball which was another night of memories which we will cherish’.
The program gets a big tick from Chris: ‘I would recommend to anyone travelling through Kimba that are not on a stringent travel timetable to join the program. You not only benefit by doing something worth while you get to learn about the town from the people themselves and learn what pride they have in their little town’.
Travelling, working and volunteering around Australia is a passion for this enterprising couple. ‘We love it. For eight years it has kept us busy’, comments Chris.
To find out more about the Kimba Grey Nomads program click here