Making Friends

Jane Donaghy loves Hobart. It’s a vibrant city with lots of character and she can’t think of another place where you can live in the country and work in the city. It’s her ‘forever home’ and she’s not moving again!

I think she’s serious about it, she’s been everywhere man! Born in Brighton, England, she’s lived in Greece, India, Cyprus, Spain, Brazil and a couple of Australian cities before settling in her partner Tony’s home town of Ellendale, two years ago. She appreciates better than most, what it’s like to make connections in a new place.

This year she started Hobart’s Newcomers’ social group 40+. A networking group aimed at 40 – 60 year-olds who are starting their Tasmanian life in their mid-life. People who have moved from interstate or overseas, or Tasmanians returning after living away for a time. Jane describes the target audience as ‘sea changers, tree-changers or expats.’

Jane and Tony

“Tony and I have a hobby farm in the country but wanted to establish new friendships. Most people we have met who have remained in Tasmania have established networks and friendships. Tony and I do not have children and feel that can also be a disadvantage to meeting other people our age,” Jane said.

“It can be a little more difficult to connect with new friends a little later in life.”

There are two social events each month. The first Thursday of the month is the introduction meet up held in a relaxed bar environment in Hobart. The mid-month meet up is a more recent addition and it normally involves a restaurant dinner somewhere. Jane tells me that so far they have been to Taj Palace, which was one of the better Indian curries she has had since arriving in Hobart, Jam Packed for brunch followed by a scroll around the Salamanca markets and Mezethes Greek Restaurant, a favourite which never disappoints.

The first group, held in January this year, was a little structured – there was a round circle with introductions and tell us why you moved to Hobart. Now attendees sit around informally with a wine and chat. If you want to stay longer, you can order a meal, and the group disperses among the tables to eat and talk more intimately.

When This Girl spoke to Jane the count was 55 members, mostly between 45-55 years with a sprinkling of retirees. Jane notes that the group has got its fair share of people who have moved to Tasmania and on to hobby farms.

I still remember what it was like establishing a social network in Hobart when I arrived here in my mid-20s. It’s not hard to understand why Newcomers’ social group 40+ is so important. Friendships are firmly established by the time you get to your mid-life. Add living in the country to the mix and you realise how difficult it can be to make connections as you get older.

A group like Newcomers’ social group 40+ doesn’t just happen. After a short conversation with Jane, I take my hat off to her. The group takes a significant investment on her behalf and she knows what she’s doing.

“I set up the Goiania, Brazil Internations social group, when in Brazil and held a monthly get-together event, often with 40 people attending. When I moved back to Perth I set up the Internations professional network and this had about 20 members attending to each of the monthly get-togethers,” she said.

Jane facilitates but she doesn’t hand hold. She welcomes new members joining on line and she will introduce you to others when you turn up. There’s encouragement to stay involved. She takes the RSVPs and she makes the restaurant reservations. But you’ll need to talk to other people when you get there. There are somethings other people just can’t do for you.

Here are some reviews the group has received:

“This is a great group so far having a blast,” Anita on March 24, 2017.

“Really good start,” Betty on April 7, 2017.

“First impressions very good; looking forward to the Greek restaurant!” Tony on May 7, 2017.

“I’d love to meet again,” Joanne on April 6, 2017.

Newcomers social group 40+ is another example of what makes Hobart so awesome. People like Jane and Tony. They love Hobart and they want a more connected community. They’re willing to go out and help make that happen, reaching out to other people in the process.

You can find them on Meet Up and there are heaps of awesome networking opportunities to get involved in. If you’re new or returning to Tasmania however, Newcomers social group 40+ might be for you. Why not make contact with them?

Here’s their link – Newcomers social group 40+

Check out the other awesome networks on the site.

Jane asked me for restaurant tips – I said Landscape, Peacock and Jones, Templo and Fico, just for starters. Check them out too.

One thought on “Making Friends

  1. We came to Hobart 18 months ago from Sydney. I am originally from London. We have joined some Meet up groups and would like to make some new friends.

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