Victorian border closure forces young Naracoorte family to pack bags and form new life in Robe

MADE THE MOVE: Susie McLachlan and her family were forced to re-locate to Robe from their Victoria-South Australia bordering rural property when imminent border closures were imposed around two months ago. Since, they have made the popular coastal tourist destination their new home and Ms McLauchlan has found time to focus on herself and her business. Picture: MOLLY TAYLOR

South Australia’s favourite seaside town has become home for the McLachlan family after they were forced to flee their rural property just hours before imminent border closures.

Susie, Andrew and children Angus, 12, and Poppy, 9, made the sudden decision to leave their farm, which neighbours the Victoria-South Australia border, when harsh Covid-19 restrictions were implemented.

With land stretching both sides of the border, the family’s home was technically located in Victoria, but their driveway in South Australia, creating a unique situation of logistics and headaches.

Ms McLachlan said there was no viable way they were able to stay at their property as they would be essentially “locked-in” until borders re-opened.

“In the end we arrived home from football in Naracoorte one Saturday morning, packed up and left to move to Robe in four hours,” she said.

“It was quite disorientating.

“I think we were incredibly fortunate to have an alternative and a place familiar to us.”

Ms McLachlan said if they did not move, they would have been reliant on another party dropping groceries to the property’s South Australian side gate.

“That was just not feasible, my mother in law is over 80 and I have two young children,” she said.

“A major concern would have been accessing medical treatment and the expenses involved.

“I think there were a few other people who were in the same boat as us.”

Ms McLaughlin said she and her family were grateful for the community’s support since their relocation.

“The community here is very strong and I think it is just about one of the most beautiful places in the world,” she said.

“I think the opportunity for kids to be able to go to the beach, get outside and catch up with friends is important and it is a well-resourced community.

“They have been welcomed so warmly by Robe Primary School and have been very inspirational actually.”

For the past two years, Ms McLachlan has been focusing her efforts on a project, founding her business Mindful Nutrients involving a micronutrient blend scientifically proven to boost mood and anxiety.

“I feel like I have a real mission with what I am doing, so there has been this tension as I know I need time to settle into this new life,” she said.

“I know I am dealing with quite a lot, but it is so important to keep progressing with the goals I am setting for my business and the community.”

Ms McLachlan said she was remaining positive and considered Covid-19 to be almost a blessing.

“I really believe crisis can actually make you a better person and allows people to contribute more,” she said.

“It opens up the understanding of how challenging life can be and you want to make sure, you can do what you can for others.

“It is very easy to get stuck and often people do not want to talk about the things which are hard.”

Reflecting on the past two months, Ms McLachlan said she hoped the crisis had changed people’s outlook on life.

“I was born with one hand and I probably do not think about things in the way most people do,” she said.

“It is important to get to know people and not judge them on the surface.

“There are a lot of lonely people and we can make a difference by change by just saying hello.”

Ms McLachlan said her family had settled into Robe nicely and were taking each day as it came.