Leaving the Rivoli Cinema we cross the road to one of the numerous adjacent restaurants and choose from the take-away menu. Ten minutes later we are on our way up Burke Road, busy with its throngs of pedestrians and late evening traffic rush. Shortly the doors of Prospect Hill Village open at the command of our security device, sealing off behind us the noisy hustle and bustle of a large city. We enter instead into a quiet and peaceful world, crossing the large gracious lounge area with its high ceilings, soft lighting and comfortable armchairs, to ascend in the lift to our apartment on the second floor. Our food has a brief session in the microwave and we settle down to dinner within half an hour of quitting the Rivoli. Meanwhile our car rested undisturbed in its allocated space in the basement car park.
This little tale encapsulates the reason for exchanging a large house and garden with all the attendant cares and stresses, in favour of life in a retirement village seven years ago. It must be emphasized we would not have moved to just any of these institutions. At the time most of the ‘Retirement Villages’ were separate living units scattered over wide acreage. One would merely be downsizing from a large house and garden to a smaller one. Moreover, they were situated in outlying suburbs, many kilometres from the CBD. As one got older with driving ability impaired, keeping contact with friends would be difficult. For ‘city slickers’ like ourselves who have lived in major cities all our lives, used to shops, restaurants and cinemas on our doorstep, such a move was unthinkable.
It was the unique attraction of the newly built Prospect Hill Village that inspired us to face the upheaval of removal. It offered apartment style living in the throbbing heart of a city.
Although other retirement complexes have since moved to the inner city Prospect Hill Village remains unsurpassed position-wise. It is situated next door to a major Supermarket, within easy walking distance of Camberwell Market and a multi-screen cinema complex and surrounded by shops and restaurants. Once inside the Village, it is hard to realise one is in the heart of a city thanks to the excellent sound insulation and the tranquil and spacious public rooms. This sense of isolation from the city bricks and mortar is aided by this structure round a large courtyard filled with towering trees, now extending to the height of the three stories.
There were of course attributes other than the physical ones that made us choose the Village. For instance, the purchasing and owning of one’s own apartment (strata title) rather than the use of various leasing type agreements. There was also the question of security and safety, ensured by a resident manager and manageress, with emergency call buttons in each room of the apartment. Also with only 63 apartments it did not have the impersonal and less friendly atmosphere of those with several times that number. Prospect Hill Village is designed for independent living. If inclined, one can close the doors of one’s apartment and with the facility of a kitchen fitted with all modern appliances live a completely self contained existence. However, most enjoy social contact with kindred spirits amongst the residents. Dinner is available two nights a week in the very pleasant restaurant for a modest sum. One can make up a regular table, which we make a point of doing at least once a week. If temporarily unwell the meal can be delivered to the apartment. It also provides a great venue for entertaining friends and relatives, with the added advantage that instead of tangling with the traffic afterwards the hosts only have to navigate the lift.
Apart from the daily routine various social events are organised by the ever active Social Committee. This may take the form of dinners to celebrate some special event or various excursions by bus. In this regard the generosity of the Zig Inge family in providing recent buses, which they have also demonstrated in many other ways, is acknowledged. It is a matter of continued joy and celebration amongst the residents that the source of inspiration for Prospect Hill Village and the building thereof, is back in charge.
All of the above makes us very contented to be able to call Prospect Hill Village home.