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Lifestyle ‘Blooming Great’ for Marilyn

Marilyn Schefe has been guiding visitors around Toowoomba’s Carnival of Flowers Spring festival for about 22 years, but it was a pickup of a tour bus at the city’s Seachange Lifestyle Resort that changed her life. “A tour group from Seachange Arundel came up from the Gold Coast to see the carnival and I was asked to pick them up at Seachange Toowoomba,” said Marilyn, who estimates she’s done about 180 tours of the popular flower festival. “It was the first time I’d been there, and I looked around and thought ‘oh my, I could just live here’. And I went home to my husband Gary and said, ‘I think we are going to live here’.” And that’s exactly what happened with the couple moving from their 160-acre hobby farm on the Darling Downs into their new home just before Christmas. “It was a lovely Christmas present. We wanted to move into town to be closer to my mum and dad as they got older,” she said. “Our farm was 30km out of town, so it was a bit of a drive to do the round trip.”


Another consideration was their drought-affected farm where the couple used to run cattle. “We lived there for 23 years but we had to sell the cattle because of the shortage of feed during the 2019 drought, it was so bad. “Plus, Gary is 70 and I’m 64. We really liked the idea of resort living. As you get older you don’t want to be mowing lawns and gardening but still want to be able to enjoy it all and that’s what Seachange Toowoomba provides.


“We’ve made lots of friends. Everyone is so lovely. We’ve met quite a lot of people we kind of knew through other friends, because we have lived in the area all our lives. You get to know people living in the district, other people who have come off the land.” Marilyn keeps busy, also leading two or three tours of Toowoomba history throughout the year. “It’s promoting our city and promoting the Carnival, which has been running since 1949. Toowoomba is noted for its parks and gardens including Queens Park, Laurel Bank Park, the State Rose Garden and the Japanese Garden. “Something is in flower here all year around and the city actually holds another summer display in February/March.



“Toowoomba was declared a city in 1904 and it has always been a farming district. It’s the main city for the Darling Downs and, in fact, is the largest regional city in Australia west of the Great Dividing Range. “A lot of people retire here from the Western Downs because with a population of around 140,000 they still feel like they are living in a country town.” The city is also well known for its historic buildings including Clifford House, the home of Mayor James Taylor, also known as the King of Toowoomba, built in the 1800s, and churches such as St Patrick’s Cathedral and St James Church. “People can come and stroll around the city and see all the historic buildings and there are also now about 50 murals painted on walls to view,” she said.


Marilyn and Gary spend their downtime strolling around the Seachange Toowoomba resort, however, that can be quite time consuming – in the most enjoyable way. “It’s a relatively new resort so we often just go for a walk to see what’s happening and how the building works are coming along. You think you might be out for half an hour but next thing you know it’s two hours later because you’ve met loads of people on the way and stopped to chat,” she said. The couple have already made good use of the facilities including the pool and lawn bowls and have plans for more. “There’s always something going on. One lady has started Qigong classes, there’s plans for yoga, there’s a craft room, gym, tennis courts, trivia nights and games on a Saturday afternoon. “There’s even happy hour every second Friday.”