Before moving to Cobram from Melbourne almost two months ago, I had little idea of what to expect.
I had never visited the town and, if not my friend from university Ricky Nolan, a Cobram local, there is a fair chance I would never have even heard of this charming little town which sits so eloquently and peacefully on the mighty Murray River.
When I first applied for this job with McPherson Media Group, it was more out of hope than expectation.
It is commonly assumed among university circles that media jobs are notoriously difficult to attain. It was this type of doomsday thinking which led me to act in a manner of slight panic, as I began frantically applying for jobs all over the country, many of which were in places I had never heard of.
But in spite of this, I was prepared to leave my former life behind in the pursuit of new beginnings and a new career.
Working in a warehouse for almost a year had made me more eager than ever to seek out a job in journalism.
Three years of study and thousands of dollars down the drain also kind of forced me to down tools at the warehouse and look for greener pastures.
As it turned out, the job in Cobram was the first I interviewed for and I was offered the role two weeks later. It meant I had two weeks to find accommodation in a place where I didn’t know anyone.
I found myself staying in a motel in Tocumwal for a week before securing a more permanent residence in Yarrawonga.
Yarrawonga is a lovely town with its buzzing main drag and pristine lake, but the drive to and from work every day was far from ideal. I had joined a Barooga gym and had intentions of playing football for Cobram, so I felt like I needed to be based in Cobram.
I believe a journalist working in a small town needs to have an acute feel for what is happening in the town and that was almost impossible to establish in Yarrawonga. Thankfully, my friend Ricky’s mum Dianne found me a place to live in Cobram with a couple of school teachers and now I am much more settled.
My early impressions of the town have been pleasantly surprising. I was not expecting the layout to be so expansive and the infrastructure so convenient. The facilities at the Barooga Sporties gym are fantastic, and I enjoy the occasional coffee and bite to eat from Orchard Café.
What I certainly do enjoy here compared to Melbourne is the lack of traffic. It seems almost impossible here to take more than 10 minutes to drive anywhere. This makes for a more laidback lifestyle as people here never seem to be in a hurry.
I have already covered some fantastic stories. From a young kid bravely saving a group of people from drowning in the river, to getting to know the fantastic volunteers at Cobram Men’s Shed, it has all been thoroughly enjoyable and invigorating in many ways. The work can be challenging and the hours long, but being out in the community and meeting people from all walks of life is a really rewarding experience.
I’m originally from Ballarat, and the community spirit on show in Cobram has shocked me to a certain extent. The way the many community groups and people here work together and truly want to improve Cobram-Barooga is fantastic to see.
The term ‘‘close-knit community’’ is bandied around a lot, but here it is in no way a throwaway line.