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Magazines : Our Place - Geelong Region Magazine 2011
FROM HECTIC TO HEAVEN Seeking a happier, healthier life, the Lazarus family turned its back on Melbourne to settle in Point Lonsdale. They tell MANDY SQUIRES their only regret is that they didn't move earlier It s 7.30 on a school night and the Lazarus kids are spilling out of the family car in bathers and wetsuits. It may be late in the day but the thermometer is still hovering around 30 degrees and the briny Point Lonsdale air is thick and still. ey would have stayed at the beach longer - swimming, surfing and puddling about in rock pools - if they had not had to be home for this pre-arranged interview. "It was beautiful down at the beach," dad Andrew Lazarus enthuses. As is typical for a hot evening in the seaside town, "everyone was there , and the kids met up with their school mates. Mum Renate has three serves of lasagne waiting on the kitchen bench when the kids walk in. "Doing this sort of thing is what it s all about," Andrew says. "It s why we moved here." e family made the move from Richmond to Point Lonsdale in 2008, and has never looked back. Max and Holly, then aged 10 and 7, were transferred from Hawthorn West Primary to the beach-side Point Lonsdale Primary School, while four year-old Isaac was enrolled at Queenscliff Kindergarten, overlooking Swan Bay. Born out of a desire to "let the kids be kids", and enjoy an active, outdoor childhood similar to that both parents enjoyed, the sea change has more than lived up to the family s expectations of a more fulfilling, happier and healthier life. e kids ride their bikes to and from school, play freely in the street with other children and spend a lot of time at the beach. Indeed, the Lazarus kids have taken to the water like ducks; with Max winning this year s Point Lonsdale Surf Life Saving Club s Iron Nipper title for his age-group and taking out a recent State surfing championship event. Among the children s many other sporting and leisure pursuits are footy and cricket (Max and Isaac), netball, ballet and musical theatre (Holly), swimming, golf, athletics and cross country running. It s a way of life the family found simply impossible to enjoy in Melbourne, says Andrew. "We were forever in the car, stuck in traffic," he says. "It just became so difficult logistically, and so exhausting, trying to get three kids to different things." One of those 'things was formal play dates at the houses of their children s friends. Living in a busy part of Melbourne, it did not feel safe or right to allow the children to roam or play in the street, so "organised plays" had to be arranged if the children were to catch up with friends after school or on weekends. Even then, much of the play was confined to indoors. Working in the corporate world, Andrew found he worked too many hours and also spent too much time in transit, and as a result hardly ever saw his children. "By the time I got home, the kids would be on their way to bed," he says. Resigning from his job in order to make the move to Point Lonsdale was the best decision he ever made. "Our only regret is that we didn t make the move earlier," insists Renate, who was able to take up the slack from Andrew s resignation by stepping-up her nursing career. Like most of the children in Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale, the three kids are fit, healthy and very happy, she says. ey have made many friends and are fortunate to be receiving a high-quality education, in an exceptional school environment. "I actually think the education here is better than in Melbourne," she says. " e school is absolutely fantastic. But "the most beautiful thing" about living in Point Lonsdale, says Andrew, is the sense of community. " e community here is so welcoming and inclusive. ere s a sense of equality among all the community members and the level of support people give to each other is quite incredible," he says. "People care very much about one another. Six year-old Isaac can t remember much about his old life in Melbourne but is pretty sure it was "a lot hotter there", and that it s better in Point Lonsdale, by the beach -- particularly on a humid school night, when the tide is low and the rock pools are full. The Lazarus kids have taken to the water like ducks, with Max winning this year's Point Lonsdale Surf Life Saving Club's Iron Nipper title and taking out a recent State surfing championship. Photograph: Glenn Ferguson The seachange, born out of a desire to "let the kids be kids" and enjoy an active, outdoor childhood similar to that both parents enjoyed, has more than lived up to the family's expectations. Renate and Andrew with children Max, 12, Holly, 9, and Isaac, 6, in the ti tree. Our Place - the Geelong Region Magazine 13
Breakaway Autumn 2011