1. charles nason
    July 16, 2014 @ 6:27 pm

    Yes you are right , regional areas are full of older people BUT many are farmers and they are struggling as many are locked into an occupation which no one else wants to do – many would love to be retired and enjoying the fruits of their lifetime of producing food
    Anyone who says you can work past 70 obviously is not in a manual job as most farmers are worn out by 60 ( physically and mentally ) – and thus productivity is declining
    Why is the suicide rate in rural occupations so high?
    and the other old people in regional aussie are the grey nomads whose custom , whilst small individually , is keeping many rural retail outlets alive
    I think you need to wake up and see the real picture and address the issues


    • RAI Admin
      July 17, 2014 @ 9:04 am

      Thanks for your response, it is great to get the discussion on ageing started.

      It is great that you recognised the grey nomads, tourism in this age-bracket is making a significant contribution to regional economies.

      The need to re-align the desire to work with your lifestyle and capabilities is the reason we have seen the growth in encore careers – that is a change in occupation later in life. The story Bill shared above it a classic example of people building on their current knowledge and skills to try their hand at something new.

      The purpose of this research is to expand our discussion on the ageing population by recognising the opportunities, as well as the challenges.


  2. Bill Eden
    July 16, 2014 @ 8:05 pm

    I have had a varied employment history including mixed farming, chicken growing, metal fabrication, baking, furniture manufacturing, personal care, disability care and currently full time in employment service as a team leader. Our office works with main stream unemployment and disability employment, with part of my job description being disability employment consultant.
    I was made redundant from a furniture factory when it was closed down at 57 years of age and took the chance to retrain completing three Certificate IV’s and four Diplomas since that time enabling me to gain employment and advance in my present position.
    I have a particular empathy for people over 50 who have become unemployed through redundancy or physical deterioration
    I have just started playing golf (very badly) with the greatest challenge actually connecting with the ball. Also like gardening and eating out. Am a member of ” Trees for Life” where volunteers grow trees from seed for landowners to plant on their properties. I treat this as a hobby and grow between 500 and 600 every year.


    • RAI Admin
      July 17, 2014 @ 8:44 am

      Thanks so much for sharing your story with us Bill. It is great to hear more examples of people re-training and continuing to advance their careers at this stage of life.


  3. David Kennett
    July 28, 2014 @ 8:15 pm

    It was not till I was made redundant at the age of 57 that I discovered my passion in life – work experience at Water and Rivers Commission opened my eyes to environmental issues. This was clearly meant to be, even though I did not have any experience in this field.

    I simply knew I had to get involved, so I participated in various tree plantings, but they did not give me the buzz I was looking for.

    In 2001 I purchased 400acres of degraded land in the Central Wheatbelt on which to implement my own ideas in regard to growing trees as I felt it could be done better, and without the use of chemicals.

    Since that time I have planted hundreds of thousand of trees in the development of innovative techniques and technologies that enable trees to be successfully established on degraded land and in low rainfall areas. To demonstrate the validity of the claim, trees have been planted in December and January – weeds have all died by then, so there is not any need for herbicides. The trees are never watered once they are in the ground. On one day, we planted till the temperature rose to 43degC, and even though it went up to 50degC that day, just about all the seedlings survived.

    Sadly – while ‘experts’ acknowledge that the survival rates achieved are exceptional – they tell me they cannot adopt or promote the methods, because they do not follow ‘best practice’.

    I live in hope that one day, someone of influence will be prepared to have a look at what is being achieved, with an open mind and see how it promoted to address salinity, other environmental issues and declining rural economies as people move to the cities.

    It is so satisfying to be doing something that one enjoys and helps to keep one active – but sad to think I will possibly have to die before anyone recognises the validity of my research. My research is on-going and 2014 will seem some remarkable innovations implemented.

    I would love to demonstrate my ideas to anyone interested in helping to save the planet, and teach people the techniques that are so clearly working.


  4. Claire Eglinton
    August 19, 2014 @ 10:13 am

    Now in my 60s, I feel more part of my local community than I ever did when working. Every town or district should have a U3A (University of the Third Age) which is an all-volunteer group which provides low-cost learning and leisure opportunities to retirees. It channels all that energy and knowledge of retirees into keeping active (mentally, physically and socially) instead of vegetating. They find their talents and life experience are valued and can be shared with others. They discover others within their community who share their passions for anything from astronomy to the Zulu wars. Everyone looks forward to retirement but it can mean loss of a social circle and feelings of being outdated and worthless. A good U3A can transform lives into a busy routine of learning and/or teaching and socializing. In the Clare Valley we have about 200 members who for an annual membership of $25 can be enrolled in over 25 courses and interest groups. One of my most rewarding roles within the local U3A was teaching computing. Becoming computer literate has transformed lives for some of our isolated rural members and helped them stay connected to their grandchildren. Paid employment never gave me that sort of reward. For me, becoming eligible to join U3A was the best part of turning 50.


  5. Rebecca
    September 9, 2014 @ 1:13 pm

    I guess baby boomers never get tired of patting themselves on the back for being alive.


  6. rob woolley
    December 6, 2017 @ 12:28 pm

    “There’s an incredible amount of experience in the 55- 64 age bracket … we need to know how to tap into that experience and maybe pair them up with younger workers”

    Regional Australia Institute, Jack Archer Executive director.
    Border Mail, Albury Wodonga NSW

    Gosh Jack, good luck with that one.
    I think we rely near totally on Generational Change (school-leavers/returning graduates) to drive ‘developmental growth’ in the bush.

    Earning a quid in rural Australia is a mixed bag. Land managers face unpredictable shifts in offshore competition and changing weather patterns; not all bad.
    Non-professional townsfolk are arguably at the mercy of a broader range of impacts while public servants and professionals in general are remunerated on a parity basis with their city cousins.

    They are all however, a necessary and integral part of the bush economy. Every one is valued for their dedication-to-place.

    Out with the old and in with the new is not an adage embraced in the bush. However, that which is potentially transferable to the bush ought not be evaluated through the same lens.

    The focus of this essay is Technology Transfer and Take-up.

    For the purpose of this discussion I should draw attention to the fact that beyond TAFE Colleges in regional centers, there are no post school technical education facilities suited to Self-Directed Learners in smaller rural towns.
    Active Mechanics Institutes notwithstanding!

    I am referring to a continuum-void that, in my opinion all-but rules out a return to technology focused enquiry later in adult life.

    Diversification in its many forms and innovation in rural settings in general, is underpinned by technology transfer and take-up. Including IT but not limited to!

    The technology I am referring to includes machines, techniques and apparatus often found in the workshops of enthusiasts who build stuff. Infact, making stuff contextualizes enquiry and tends to build on existing understandings.
    An engaging quality not lost on adult learners I might add.

    Innovation by definition expands out of existing understandings.
    That claim mind you, is seemingly at odds with policy settings in Australia.

    This discussion is purposely not developed in the context of trade/craft skill instruction. The main reason being it would be cost prohibitive to go down that path for every rural town in Australia and likely as not, ineffective in changing place-based opportunity.
    There is however one community organization existing in rural towns in Australia that ticks many of the boxes associated with Technology Transfer and Take-up, not to mention the sensitivity required to effectively engage with a particular cohort at risk of being unduly impacted in challenging times; in particular, middle aged males, not directly connected to the land, who may have been early school leavers.

    The facility I have in mind operates in the public domain, has government backing but sets priorities at the local level.

    A facility where scientific phenomena by any other name gets a run alongside industrial machines, tools of trade and project based discovery.

    An un-likely epicenter of formal technology-transfer and take-up in a small rural town, the MENS SHED never the less ticks a lot of boxes.

    Peculiarly proficient, due in my opinion to the combined maturity, it behaves like an experiential discovery hub of self directed learners.
    (non self directed learners hopefully are still at school)

    STEM: Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics backgrounds are surprisingly well represented in the Shed I have in mind.

    Scientific instrument making, veterinary science, ultra lite foam sandwich carbon fibre construction techniques, Math teaching, TIG MIG aluminum stainless and mild steel welding competencies, fine woodworking, electro-mechanical devices, manufacturing and local government. Not to mention an abundance of land, animal and crop management skills. MABA (mature age business administrators) abound.

    The combined competencies carry the day. In no way a teaching institution, in every way a project oriented discovery center.

    The mens shed would fall in a heap and no longer serve its intended function should it convert to a formal adult education role.
    That said however, the founding-purpose should not preclude individual Sheds from specific initiatives that promote awareness of the potential applications for technology in rural settings.

    For instance, relatively cheap temperature and moisture measuring/monitoring devices are available in kit form from electronic enthusiast outlets. Handheld pointing thermometers have endless applications in the bush, from avoiding contact with rotating machinery when checking bearing temperature to compost heaps or getting a quick fix on soil temperature.

    Measurement and control technology is no longer restricted to rocket scientists, we ought not continue to treat it as such just because of our address.

    Evidence of understanding is in the making. Outcomes from output.
    A person who produces an object valued by others is not only deemed to have discovered and developed capabilities, but had the experience authenticated.

    Without going into direct competition with Harvard mba courses ,(master of business administration) Mens sheds, with meeting facilities, could look to hosting maba (mature age business administration) courses, complete with operational demonstration projects and working models on the shop floor. In part a New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS), in form, a whole lot more.

    apologies for aging

    rob woolley


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