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Today's quote:

Friday, December 11, 2020

I did a Laura Gibson before there even was one

In just 24 hours, corporate lawyer Laura Gibson's life is decimated. She is passed up for partnership, her son is expelled and she almost kills the family cat before discovering her husband has been arrested for fraud, squandering their life savings in the process ... not to mention sleeping with her sister. Desperate to escape her life, Laura accepts a job as magistrate of a small coastal town she has fond - ten years old - memories of. Packing her kids in the station wagon, Laura heads to Pearl Bay only to find a half-collapsed connecting bridge and laconic local, Diver Dan. On belated arrival, Laura discovers the solitude beach house she bought based on memory is now a dilapidated shack in the middle of a caravan park. Yet, staring out across the spectacular view from her new home, Laura decides maybe Pearl Bay is worth a chance - click here.


SeaChange was an Australian television program that ran from 1998 to 2000 on the ABC. Soon afterwards, everyone wanted to do 'the Pearl Bay thing' and move to some small place that was less complicated, more laid back and more friendly.

Like Sigrid Thornton's character Laura Gibson, they longed to throw in their city jobs and drop out at a quirky seaside settlement where no one wore ties or high heels or remembered to lock their front doors.

By the time 'To do a Laura Gibson' had become part of the vernacular and Australians began to look not for cosmopolitan pleasures but for ordinariness, I'd already beaten them to it by having moved to Nelligen.

At the time, Nelligen was the sort of place even real estate agents had forgotten about. It had this permanent air of holiday without crimes and drug problems - except for the odd pothead who had chosen Nelligen for its low rents and long distance from work and the long arm of the law.

We have no Diver Dan, the handsome, laconic 'SeaChange' character played by David Wenham, but we do have - or, at least, did have - a cast of characters worthy of a television soap until the rising house prices and rising rents drove them away, and Nelligen was discovered by 'SeaChangers' from Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, and even Tasmania.

Even in our little Sproxton's Lane - named in the days when apostrophes in place names were still allowed - with its twenty-five properties (seventeen waterfront and eight "inland"), we've seen all but three change ownership, some as often as three or four or even five times!

I did a Laura Gibson before there was a Laura Gibson, and I'm glad I did.

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