They say, ‘timing is everything’ and for the winner of Endeavour Foundation’s New Year Prize Home at Birtinya on the Sunshine Coast, the old adage couldn’t be more apt.
Back in February, when Victorian retiree Mary was drawn as the winner of the million-dollar Prize Home, no one could predict what strange times would lay ahead. Least of all, Mary and her husband Gary.
As the couple planned their exciting sea-change to their new Queensland address, unprecedented coronavirus restrictions began to shut down the nation. But with their move locked in and a beautiful new home waiting for them, Mary and Gary made the long trip from Victoria, arriving in Queensland in the nick of time, just 24 hours before Queensland’s borders closed.
While the journey may have been a little on the stressful side, their welcome to Queensland couldn’t have been warmer.
After receiving the keys to their new Sunshine Coast haven, Mary and Gary have been self-isolating in style, lapping up the luxury and enjoying the mild, sub-tropical Autumn weather.
“It’s a privilege to be in a place like this. It’s still doesn’t feel real to me. It still feels like we’re renting,” Mary said.
“It’s a big change for us because we come from a rural area.”
Mary and Gary’s contemporary new digs and beachside location couldn’t be more different to their acreage home in country Victoria, 200kms west of Melbourne and over an hour from the coast.
“I enjoyed living in Lake Bolac but I am just startled living here.”
“I’m in the pool all the time. I love it. It’s 27 degrees and I’m in the pool. It’s probably ridiculous to any other Queenslander, but for me it’s being able to exercise.”
Needing walking sticks to get around, Mary is also grateful to have health services nearby rather than the thirty-minute drive away she is used to.
“Here we’ve got doctors and hospitals. There was no doctor where I was. Here you can just ring up and get a doctor straight away.”
As Mary and Gary settle into their luxurious new home, it’s some of the little things that make the biggest difference. “For the very first time in our lives – and we’re not young – we’ve actually got a dishwasher!”
The ultra-modern island bench which incorporates a gas cooktop and electric oven is also a life-changer for Mary who had grown accustomed to life without an oven in her Victorian home.
“We had a gas top, but I didn’t have an oven.”
“Simple things like that nobody else would even think was exciting but I used to sit at home when we were organising the move and say, ‘I’ve got an oven! I’ve got an oven!’”
Mary’s husband Gary has also given the outdoor kitchen his tick of approval and the outside lounge area is another favourite spot.
“He likes to sit out there in the sun and read the paper,” Mary said.
However, of all the stunning fittings and furnishings included with the Prize Home, the ones Mary is most taken with are the original artworks hung throughout. The pieces are painted by artists with an intellectual disability employed by Endeavour Foundation’s QArt Gallery.
“I was really impressed with the paintings and where they come from. It really struck me that they come from the people you’re helping.”
“I will be keeping the artwork, definitely. You can tell them the artwork is going to stay here as long as I do.” Having self-isolated in the home since arriving in Queensland, Mary and Gary are looking forward to having the opportunity to explore their new neighbourhood.
“We haven’t been brave enough to venture out yet,” Mary said.
But with coronavirus restrictions easing, Mary and Gary are keen to check out all that Birtinya has to offer and get to know their local beach, just five minutes down the road.
And when the time is right, they would love to have family come to stay in their new home and enjoy a Sunshine Coast holiday. Mary’s adult daughter and family, who also live in Victoria, had intended to make the journey up to Queensland in April to be there for the handover and share in the celebrations. However, the Covid-19 restrictions meant they had to put a hold on their plans until it is safe to travel again.
One thing is for certain – Mary and Gary won’t be going anywhere, anytime soon. With such a spectacular place to live in, they are very happy to make Queensland their new home.
It’s a very happy ending for the couple after a whirlwind few weeks preparing for the move. All thanks to that one ticket Mary purchased in the New Year Prize Home lottery.
“You really have to be in it to win it – I only had one ticket and look what happened! “I am a Star Supporter, so I have one ticket in every draw. I used to have a larger amount but when I left work I couldn’t afford any more.
“It’s such a brilliant cause and that’s why I stayed with it. There were other things that I stopped doing but I couldn’t stop that one because of the cause.”
Mary and Gary are still coming to terms with the fact that they actually won and just how much their lives have changed. “I am still in shock. It’s strange to have so many new experiences at our age. I am just amazed. If I die tomorrow I will die a happy woman.”
If, like Mary, you would like to support the work that the Endeavour Foundation does for people with intellectual disability, becoming a Star Supporter could be just the ticket.
You will never have to worry about missing a lottery again because as a Star Supporter you will be automatically entered into the draw for seven prize home lotteries throughout the year, plus five Ultimate Life Changer Lotteries (valued at $500,000 each). Star Supporters are also included in exclusive bonus draws, at no extra charge – seven Early Bird Cash draws, four Luxury Car Draws, two $10,000 Cash Draws and, last but not least, the very festive $10,000 Christmas Cash Draw.
Like Mary, says, “You’ve got to be in it to win it”.
Of course, along with all of those chances to win, you will also be helping to provide opportunities for people with an intellectual disability. That’s a win/win for everyone. Click here to find out more about becoming a Star Supporter.