Retired couple moving to one of Canberra's newest suburbs, Throsby
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Retired couple moving to one of Canberra's newest suburbs, Throsby

While many Canberrans flock to the coast for a sea change when they retire, a couple in their 70s is doing the opposite and heading from the coast to see out their retirement in Canberra.

Lee and Jacqui Forster bought a 437 square-metre block of land in Throsby, Gungahlin, one of Canberra's newest suburbs in January, after initially relocating to Batemans Bay to retire nearly 13 years ago.

Lee and Jacqui Forster are retiring to Throsby in Canberra after living in Batemans Bay for 13 years.

Lee and Jacqui Forster are retiring to Throsby in Canberra after living in Batemans Bay for 13 years.

Photo: karleen minney

"When we decided to move to the coast we thought it was a good move, but Batemans Bay, it has very little transport and very minimal health services," Mr Forster said.

"We have to come to Canberra from Batemans Bay to get health services, particularly now as we get older, we need special services."

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A map of Throsby in Gungahlin, one of Canberra's newest suburbs.

A map of Throsby in Gungahlin, one of Canberra's newest suburbs.

Photo: Suburban Land Agency

Australian Bureau of Statistics census data show the population of the south coast is older than of the ACT, with a median age of 52 compared with 35 in the capital. About 38 per cent of the population in the south coast is 60 or over, compared with 17.4 per cent in the ACT.

The biggest cohort of people moving from the ACT to the south coast are at retirement age, with more than 37 per cent of people moving doing so when they are over 60.

People moving from the coast to the capital were younger, the most common age group being 20-29 years, with 38.6 per cent in that age group and most likely relocating for study or work.

The Forsters, who retired from working in the finance and nursing industries in Sydney, said they considered moving to Newcastle and Sydney but they couldn't find a house that suited their needs.

"We thought, why not Canberra? We travel there a lot, our specialists are here and we wanted a different community because where we lived it was all older people, we wanted a place that had families and younger people," Mr Forster said.

The pair bought their corner blockfor $440,000 and wanted to design a house that could cater for their motorhome and for their future needs.

"We know, as older people, in about 10 years, we're likely to give our licence up so we need public transport, we need access to services, we saw the light rail was going in and we said "that's it, we want the light rail"," he said.

"We plan to travel a lot in our motorhome, so we plan to have a garage big enough to fit it when we're in Canberra."

The Suburban Land Agency says Throsby will house 2500 Canberrans when finished in four years.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows the population of Gungahlin grew from 47,303 in 2011 to 71,142 in 2016, making the area the second fastest growing region in the country between censuses.

A government spokesman said Throsby was designed to eventually have 1000 homes.

There are fewer than 40 blocks available, with the smallest a 352 square-metre block offered for $370,000 and the most expensive being $490,000 for 499 square metres.

In 2016, buyers in the Throsby land auction paid an average $108,000 more than the reserve price for their blocks.

Mrs Forster said many people had told them they "were going the wrong way to everyone else" when they decided to retire to Canberra.

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"I tell them they're wrong. If you live in Batemans Bay and need to see a doctor, it takes about four hours to drive for a four minute consultation," she said.

"If anything seriously goes wrong the helicopter brings you up to Canberra. Friends of ours have had heart attacks and things like that and we thought this is ridiculous - I'm 75 and something's going to give."

Han Nguyen reports on property for The Canberra Times. She joined the Times in 2017 after working as a breaking news reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.

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