Wanting to do something different in your lap around Australia? Kimba in South Australia has many grey nomads dropping by. Many older travellers in a motor home or caravan (usually retired are often referred to as ‘Grey Nomads’) are doing just that.
Not all Grey Nomads are tourists. Some take part in an innovative ‘Grey Nomad’ program. Such a program has been operating in a rural South Australian town for a number of years.
Where Is Kimba?
Located 210 kilometres from Port Lincoln and 490 kilometres from Adelaide, the town of Kimba (area population is around 1,000) has drawn grey nomads from many parts of the country.
Kimba is half way between Sydney and Perth. There’s lots to see such as the Silo Art, the Gawler Ranges, Lake Gillies, Secret Rocks, a sculpture tribute to explorer Edward Eyre, the local museum and even an extensive beer and coke can collection (by appointment only).
Heather Baldock, one of the Kimba Grey Nomads co-ordinators, says, ‘Kimba is a very friendly town, there’s little crime, little unemployment and there’s a lot of social support for older people’.
‘You’re never short of social interaction’ adds Heather. The town looks after each other; the 2016 ABS Census (Local Government Area) showed that in Kimba 51.8% of locals did voluntary work through an organisation or group in the last 12 months. This is in contrast to the South Australian and Australian statistics of 21.4% and 19.0%.
The Kimba Grey Nomad Program
In 2006 a public meeting was held to see if there was support for a Grey Nomads Volunteer Program. Heather says, ‘There needed to be homework done for the rights and responsibilities of both parties’. There were legal issues to consider, paperwork to be done, and ensuring the locals were not run off their feet with the program.
Fast forward a few years and Kimba has embraced the program, and grey nomads also enjoy travelling to Kimba to contribute.
The visitors are met and greeted by a local and over a cup of coffee they have a chat about which activities around Kimba may suit. With the paperwork done its time to start.
Grey Nomad Skills And Interests
The skills and interests of grey nomads are matched with various projects around the town, where they will be placed alongside local volunteers. Some grey nomads come for a few days or a few weeks. One couple, however, liked the town and program so much they stayed for three months
In recognition of the work of the grey nomad volunteers, they receive 7 days free camping at the Council’s free camping park, free electricity and are provided with coins for the showers. To receive this, they must volunteer for 2 full days of work. The work could also be done in 4 x ½ days.
What sort of activities are available for grey nomads? The local museum has been a big beneficiary from the program, and has been reinvigorated by the visitors.
Other people have painted street furniture, helped to restored engines and done data entry.
All Types Of Activities
Show Jumping and Dressage Championships are held in Kimba. People have helped out at this event by being judges, or helped the Ag Show committee giving a facelift to the pavilion building, and exhibit cabinets..
You never know how your skills and knowledge will be put to use.
Heather says, ‘It depends upon what is happening around the town’.
Friendships are made and the enjoyment of giving back to Kimba are what many grey nomads appreciate. Heather says that one couple said that they received far more from the community than they ever gave.
Drop into Kimba and see for yourself. As Heather Baldock says, ‘there are some awesome grey nomads’
For more information about the Grey Nomad Program, click here
(they appreciate a couple of days’ notice of you arrival if you would like to participate in the program).