The Arbour Berry

Our Residents - John & Susan


john & susan

John & Susan are both retired academics who moved to The Arbour from their Kangaroo Valley sheep farm after John visited the village as a Judge in the Shoalhaven Building Awards.

john & Susan.jpg


As featured in the Sunday Telegraph Over 55’s Living handout August 2011

AFTER 25 years of running a 48ha sheep property, along with being a professor of  Architecture at the University of NSW, John Ballinger, AM, decided he and his clinical psychologist wife, Susan, needed a ‘‘less strenuous’’ mode of living.

The noted architect and architecture award judge, who has more than 50 solar-efficient buildings and more than 150 publications including four books to his name, certainly knew what he wanted when he stumbled upon it. He built his own homestead on the Kangaroo Valley property where they bred border leicester rams, and his research projects include the first experimental solar house in Australia at Fowlers Gap, near Broken Hill, and first solar village at Bonnyrigg;

‘‘Our colleagues in the valley are what you’d call farmers,’’ he said with a chuckle. ‘‘We’ve been more weekend farmers, but running the property has certainly been full on.’’

Two years ago when the couple decided they needed a smaller house and property, they looked at a number of estates—more out of curiosity than anything else. Nothing took their fancy. Then last year, while acting as a judge for the Shoalhaven Building Design Awards, he came across The Arbour Berry.

The Arbour was an entry and ultimately took out the medium density award, against all housing, not just other villages. ‘‘I went there as a visitor to assess it and was extremely impressed with everything in the entire village— the energy efficiency throughout, the eco-smart features, the planning, the air and light flow and layout of the houses,’’ he said.

‘‘If I were to build a smaller home, then it’s exactly how I would build it; the entire village is very well laid out, with great features.

‘‘It was just nice to see somebody had set out to get it right. It’s very attractive and it all just fits together.

‘‘It’s referred to as a retirement village, but many of the people we’ve met call it a resort. We also like the lock-up-and-leave aspect. We bought a caravan a few years ago and plan to travel a fair bit, as I gather 30 per cent of The Arbour residents do at any one time.”

‘‘After years of maintaining a big property, it’s wonderful to think someone else will be doing it.’’

Mr Ballinger, who continues to work on research projects, and Mrs Ballinger who continues her practice, have just settled the sale of their property and hope to move into their smart new home in October.

‘‘The problem now is getting rid of everything we’ve collected and accumulated over 30 years—like the big silo that holds 35 tonnes of grain. Luckily that will go to friends who breed alpacas. And while the heirlooms will go to the kids, there is a stack of other stuff in my 250 square metre shed.

‘‘We’ll get there but it sure will be great when we start anew at The Arbour—without the baggage.’’



As featured in The Lands – Beautiful Homes and Gardens Magazine August 2012

After 25 years of running a 48ha sheep property in Kangaroo Valley, John Ballinger, also a professor of architecture and his wife Susan, decided a move to an acreage style property without the upkeep was called for.

John originally came across The Arbour, an over 55’s community in Berry, as a judge for the Shoalhaven Building Design Awards and was thoroughly impressed by the development, so much so that not only did The Arbour win the award but John and Susan sold their farm and recently took up residency at The Arbour.

“After many years of maintaining a big property, it’s wonderful to think someone else will be doing it.” John said.

Of the homes John said, “If I were to build a smaller home, then it’s exactly how I would built it; the entire village is very well laid out, with great features. It was just nice to see somebody had set out to get it right. It’s very attractive and it all just fits together.”

25 years on a property certainly conditioned John and Susan to having space and privacy, one of the key reasons for moving to The Arbour, as the homes are all single level, freestanding  and feature generous gardens and private outdoor areas. The village is surrounded by 18 ha of landscaped grounds that are taken care of by the dedicated maintenance team.

Other features include The Enclave, a Private Residents facility with indoor heated pool, 55 seat cinema, gym, bar and lounge. There’s also an impressively large workshop and community vegie patch, complete with chook run.