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One Couple’s Retirement Story

Written by: The Hilltops Phoenix

Wooden pallet with glove

We recently looked at the housing boom in the Hilltops Region, and mentioned that amongst others, retirees we relocating here. Karen and Angus Mitchell from Boorowa are a case in point.

Angus retired from a senior role in the Federal Public Service in 2014. He and his wife Karen were seeking a tree change and wanted to be located somewhere that enabled easy driving distance to family and specialist health services, as required. They were also looking for a town that was friendly and welcoming, and Boorowa fit the bill.

Karen was still working in Canberra at the time, but they both did a 180o turn following Christmas in 2015. The couple realised that they needed additional room to accommodate family around the Christmas table, so Angus set about building a ‘children’s table’ with his hitherto unused power tools. Angus describes the table as being very much a beginner’s effort, but people showed interest in the concept and Angus’ skills improved with each subsequent iteration. In the meantime, Karen recognized that she needed to spend more time on her artistic pursuits and live more according to her deeply held values about environmental sustainability. Karen retired from her job and she and Angus began creating furniture and artwork using old pallets.

Pallets are frequently burned after they are deemed to be past their use by date, but as Karen and Angus have proven, there is a lot of beauty and life left in them. After selling their creations at markets, they moved into a bricks and mortar shop, named “Brae Neuk” after Angus’ father’s home in East Calder, Scotland. Brae Neuk has flourished on Marden Street, Boorowa, and Karen and Angus marvel that they are busier than ever since their ‘retirement’ and tree change.

Do you have a similar story to tell about changing direction since retiring to the Hilltops Region? If so, please tell us your story by emailing

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