Hard work pays off for migrant couple

19 October 2017
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Walburga and Rom Kurlavicius are bearing the fruits of their labour, and they’ve reached a special milestone with Southern Cross Care’s Riverside Retirement Living.

The couple, from Germany and Lithuania respectively, were the first to join Riverside Retirement Living and are proud to be part of its 10th birthday on 17 October 2017.

They enjoy Riverside’s elegant, peaceful and quiet surrounds, giving them  peace of mind and a stress-free life.

And their journey to this point is a heartwarming story of Australian migration success.

They married in Germany in 1949 and within days they were on a boat and off to Australia to start a new life, and their thoughts on the land of opportunity were fascinating to hear.

“When I arrived I thought, beautiful! It was heaven on earth,” Walburga said.

“But before that, Rom said to me, we got nothing here (Germany), we got no money, no work, let’s get married and go to Australia!”

“I said, Australia? It sounds like the end of the world.”

Rom said besides knowing it as a ‘British colony’, there wasn’t much else they knew about Australia.

Rom worked at the Australian Rail Track Corporation workshop in Islington and Walburga worked in office administration and waitressing, both of which was for a minimum 2 years as part of their migration agreement.

But it proved to be perfect for Rom as he worked there until retirement and Walburga worked a variety of part time roles.

Their hard work ethic couldn’t be doubted though, as they built seven houses themselves.

“Working with him, oh when you work, you work. But he’s a good worker and a hard worker,” Walburga said.

“All of the houses at the start were completely made by us two, the bricks, building, everything, except for the foundation contractor because it’s a big job we couldn’t do, and the plumbing,” Rom said.

Rom said it was as simple as when they wanted to move, they’d ‘build another house, and then another’.

Living in Victor Harbor for 20 years, they wanted to live in a retirement village, and once they saw a Southern Cross Care display sign for the Riverside Retirement Village, Rom put his name down ‘straight away’.

Whether it’s a relaxing walk around historic Goolwa or playing the piano-accordion, Walburga and Rom are enjoying life as they should at Riverside.

Riverside retirement living villas, located in the beautiful coastal village of Goolwa and set on the banks of the Coorong, are close to shops, cafes and restaurants and much more.