Chris Benaud standing over a mosiac artwork at the Buttery where he works.
Chris Benaud standing over a mosiac artwork at the Buttery where he works. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

From corporate to country

CHRIS Benaud made the big move from corporate Sydney to Myocum four years ago. A rewarding job at the Buttery, close friendships and the chance to engage in a myriad of creative pursuits has Chris singing the region's praises.

"I've always wanted to live in this area since I was a teenager and about 10 years ago I bought a property at Myocum," he said.

"At the time I was working at the University of Technology, Sydney, in an executive position. I would visit my place up here regu- larly until eventually I sold my house in Sydney and left my job.

"I have always been impressed by the way people outside of cities have a more cohesive sense of connection. I think big cities can be alienating and I was seeking to be a part of a more intimate community.

"I had a list of all the things I wanted to do when I got here; mostly creative. In my younger days I used to be an actor and a singer and I wanted to pursue that through performing and writing.

"Now I'm a member of the Biggest Little Town Choir in Mullumbimby and we sing at events like the Lismore Lantern Parade and the Celtic Festival in Glen Innes.

"I'm learning French, which is something I have always wanted to do, and I'm also on the Screenworks board. I used to work in the film industry and I want to be able to encourage the cultural life here.

"But one of the greatest joys living here is I get to garden and I grow my own food which I love to do. Another thing I enjoy is the markets. I go to the Mullumbimby Growers Market every week, come rain or shine. Although the quality of the food is amazing and it's a great way of shopping for food, the best thing about it is I know where my food comes from.

"I know by name all the people who sell me my food at the markets; Denise sells me olives, Vicki sells me my eggs and my bread comes from Gina. So when I sit down to have my breakfast, I know I am supporting local families.

"The other great thing about this area is so many of my really good friends have also moved to this area. I'm also very lucky to have found very meaningful work at the Buttery which is a fantastic organisation. It gets a lot of support from people in the community.

"I've been at the Buttery for two years and I've got to know a lot of the residents as they go through their journey to recovery.

"After the residents leave the Buttery, many of them start a new life here. I often bump into them at the shops or I see them at the beach and it's great to see that they're doing so well. That's the sort of thing that adds to my experience of being part of this amazing community here."