It all started in Canberra while I was still running my small computer consultancy Canberra Computer Accounting Systems and dabbling in tax and accounting work on the side. After I had solved a tax problem for a German friend, Tony Finsterer, for which I refused payment, he insisted that I stay at his weekend cottage at Nelligen.
For several months, I didn't find the time to drive to the coast. When I eventually did I had almost forgotten Tony's offer. Luckily, I didn't blink as I drove across the Nelligen bridge on the way to Batemans Bay and so spotted this tiny village nestled alongside the Clyde River.
I asked for directions to Tony's cottage at the General Store and was shown to # 21 Sproxton Lane across the river. (Tony has since died and his cottage has changed hands twice and is again for sale.)
The cottage was locked and Tony in Canberra. I phoned him and was told to look for the keys under the watertank and to make myself at home. Which I did and which set me on my own quest to find a little place in Nelligen.
At the time, Nelligen was a place forgotten even by real estate agents and nothing was for sale except a few empty building blocks. One such block overlooked the Clyde River from its location in Nelligen Place. I could imagine sitting there on the verandah and taking in the views. Which is exactly what a chap was doing just two blocks away. I walked up and asked if I could join him.
Soon we were not only sharing the same views but also memories of people and places we both had known as "Sandy" Sandilands and his wife Betty had also lived and worked on Thursday Island and in Rabaul in New Guinea. I felt at home at once! A few weeks later I was the proud owner of a block of land in Nelligen Place!
I wanted to build a beautiful little Classic Country Cottage. However, a retired public servant who occupied a small log cabin next to me did what public servants do: be a pain in the coccyx ! He objected to my building plans - TWICE! - on some obscure grounds. This delayed me long enough to find a much better place across the river. And that's how I came to buy "Riverbend"!
"Riverbend" had been auctioned in August 1992. I went to the auction as a spectator knowing that the reserve price was outside my range. It must have been outside everybody else's as well because it didn't sell. More than a year later, in November 1993, the owners accepted my much-reduced offer. The rest, as they say, is history!
(Oh, and I did go back to thank the public servant for objecting to my plans so that I could buy this much better and bigger and waterfront property. Last time I looked his mouth was still open!)
"Riverbend" has been my home now for over 17 years. As they say, there's no place like home and, as evidenced by the tee-shirt, Nelligen is right up there with every other great metropolis.