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by Sue Bett

My husband, Rick and I came over to Oz from Hout Bay, Cape Town in the eighties. We landed in WA, bought an old Ford bomb and explored the West coast, ending up in Darwin.

We loved it and decided to buy an acreage property at Humpty Doo, a truly special place to live where we later rode our horses to the local pub for a beer.

To cut a long painful story short, we then contacted our South African lawyer who had power of attorney for us, to get our money out, only to find he had been sent to prison for fiddling his trust fund and as a result we never saw our savings.

This country has been very good to us - we literally had nothing, no jobs, no money, just our clothes and at that time, a serious longing for home. But we quickly found work and subsequently lived in the NT for four fun years. Home loans were incredibly inexpensive and soon we had enough money to buy our own property. Rick then decided it was time to follow his dream of cruising around the world on a yacht. So we sold the house and left for Brisbane in search of a boat - in an old station wagon with only an antique bentwood rocker from SA and a burmese cat in the back.

After much searching we found his dream boat - a 62 ft steel ketch where he actually had enough headroom to stand up (he is 6ft 5"). Unfortunately ”Carte Blanche" wasn't a boat one could go to sea in, just a steel shell needing much work which immediately depleted nearly all our ready cash. We launched her on the Brisbane River and lived on her- home was now a black empty cold shell with no windows. However I soon found a job while Rick worked on the boat - a couple of years of back breaking work where we very quickly lost any new Qld friends we made - so focused we were on getting her finished. Friends, needless to say, did not take kindly to being presented with a paintbrush or sandpaper on arrival!

The good news is although we never got around the world , we would work for 6 months and then take off for the Pacific and PNG for six months and it was all worthwhile. After 14 years of living on this boat and the great cruising lifestyle it gave us, it was time for me to follow my dream and buy a rural property again, with dogs and horses. But now the man has salt water in his veins (he is a Pisces, so no surprises there) so we started looking for a property on the water. We sold the yacht when we finally found a rundown 80 year old cottage perched on13 acres on the Caboolture River which we renovated and where we have lived for the past eight years. Rick has, of course, in the meantime built another boat - a powercat, which we keep on our own pontoon and all is well. I feed around 40 mouths of a morning with cats, dogs, horses and numerous chooks and ducks andlove it. Our SA friends say the property reminds them very much of Africa - all we need is a couple of Springbok or giraffe roaming around.....

Posted in lifestyle |
Posted by Sue Bett
25 Jun 2009

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