Deb and Peter Hahnemann moved their young family to East Gippsland from the Mornington Peninsula at the end of 2013.
“I spent my childhood holidays at Metung and I have very fond memories of spending time on the water fishing and water-skiing,” Deb reflected. “We talked about moving down here for a few years as we used to come down here and visit family friends. I thought how nice it would be for the kids to have a bit more space.”
They started scouting for a place to bring up their two children, and settled on Forge Creek for its proximity to both services and leisure.
Since moving to the 75-acre block, the Hahnemann’s have set up a successful egg producing business; Forge Creek Free Range.
“We wanted to utilise the property and, although previously stocked with cattle, we knew that there wasn’t enough land to make a living from that alone.
“We thought of having chooks and more and more we liked the idea,” Deb laughed.
The business has gradually grown to more than 650 chickens, and Forge Creek Free Range’s eggs have won numerous awards, including Gold Medals at the Australian Food Awards.
“Support for this little business venture has been fantastic and we proudly supply a number of local businesses,” Peter said.
“The part I love about this business is that Deb comes back with good-energy stories about local people who are invested in their businesses and their community.”
“It’s also great to have a business that is so well supported locally – all our eggs are sold within 10km of home,” Deb added.
Deb and Peter have joined the Romawi Landcare Group and have partnered with Trust For Nature to rehabilitate a portion of their land.
The family enjoy exploring their property, spotting the two wedge tailed eagles, which nest in the bush and following echidnas down to the creek.
“Before moving I thought that the lakes and the bush would be my favourite thing about living here, but it’s the people, and sense of community,” Peter said.
Deb agreed; “I’ve never felt more at home and our friendships here are stronger than ever.”
Both Deb and Peter still maintain other professional interests - Deb’s background is in landscape gardening and horticulture, and Peter’s in land development and surveying.
“For the past 3 years I have been with Gippsland Ports in the role of Hydrographic Surveyor,” Peter said. “I think it’s an important message to get out that there are opportunities for professional people in the region, and while you might geographically be making a sea change it’s still possible to pursue your professional career.”
To learn more about Forge Creek Free Range visit www.forgecreekfreerange.com.au