Living The Good Life

Mignon left war-torn South Africa in 1981, and she’s never looked back.

Mignon Guthrie was born in South Africa and grew up in Southern Rhodesia (now called Zimbabwe) during one of the most tumultuous periods in the country’s history.

When she finished school, Mignon became a teacher, eventually moving on to become an Air Hostess for Air Rhodesia, where she spent the next eight years working.

“We went through a period [while I was working for Air Rhodesia] where no one wanted our Rhodesian passports, so that limited our travel significantly,” she said.

Most of Mignon’s work on Air Rhodesia revolved around flying up to Blantyre in Malawi, down to South Africa and the Mozambique Coast. But due to political sanctions placed on Rhodesia, Mignon never got the opportunity to travel overseas for work.

“But when we went on holidays we got to travel on other airlines at a reduced rate, and we managed to do Europe and Japan”, she said.

In 1981 Mignon and her husband moved to Australia and settled in the Atherton Tablelands, North Queensland, where they bought a corner store. They then went on to grow carnations outside Yungaburra. But her reasons for coming to Australian were much more than just simply wanting a new adventure.

“It was a very unpleasant place to be. The terrorist war got quite intensified, [and] we lost my mum during the troubled times, so that made up our minds and we realised we needed to get out of Africa,” she said.

“We were some of the lucky ones,” she said.

Since moving to Australia, Mignon and her husband John have only returned to South Africa once to visit friends, and she says apart from that trip, they’ve never really had the urge to return again.

“Because I lived in Rhodesia and all my cousins and family members lived in South Africa, there wasn’t a lot of visiting, so I didn’t get to know them very well. Which made the move easier for us because we didn’t feel as though we were leaving anyone behind,” she said.

So, after spending eight years in North Queensland, Mignon and John moved down to Hervey Bay, before settling on the Sunshine Coast in 1992.

In 2004 they moved into the Allora Gardens village, and Mignon says it’s the best move they’ve ever made.

“It’s just easy. There’s no hassle. It suits us down to the ground actually. We have no responsibilities with children or grandchildren like most of our friends, so John and I can really just live our lives as we please, which is lovely,” she said.

Over the last 14 years, Mignon has been an active member of the Allora Gardens village community, and still plays tennis every week.

She is also an amazing cook, but if you ask her, she’ll tell you otherwise.

“I’m only good with the sweet treats,” Mignon said with a chuckle.

“I love to bake. So I bake cakes and other treats for the staff here in the village, and they really enjoy them which is lovely,” she said.

But that’s not all. Mignon also bakes cakes and other delicious goodies for village functions, including resident birthdays. But it’s cake decorating where her true talent lies.

“I have a real knack for cake decorating, so whenever anyone needs something done I’ll always put my hand up to do it,” she said.

Both Mignon and John like to keep busy, but they really love the freedom and flexibility Allora Gardens offers them, and they couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.