Photographer – Tim White
Bechora's family sacrificed a lot to send him to a good school, but he had to leave at age 13 to work as an apprentice chef. Starting off in Beirut, he worked at one of the busiest hotels in the Middle East. His mother cried for weeks knowing he wouldn't be able to travel back often to see his family.
After moving to Sydney in 1967, he cooked at the Lebanese Embassy, the Kings School, and for the Maronite Archbishop Ignace Abdo Khalife – a role that took him all over the world. After marrying his wife, Sybil, the couple took over the restaurant in the West End Hotel in Pitt Street for three years before moving to Mudgee.
Running the general store, they introduced the locals to food from all over the world, with a strong focus on fresh Lebanese cuisine. They now own and run Deeb's Kitchen as well as host functions. As they get older, they find they can no longer keep up with major events. Instead, they pick and choose the functions they will cater for.
Bechora has a real passion for food – 'You have to treat the food gently' – and for making guests happy.
Christine grew up in Sydney and went to art school at age 16 in the 1950s – she always wanted to be an art director but that job description didn't exist back then! Christine met her husband when she was 23 and he was 19 – they were married a year later.
Christine and her husband frequented the art scene in Sydney in the 50s and 60s, which eventually led to a life of PR, advertising and photography that took them to London and all around Sydney. They moved to Mudgee when Christine was 61, where they started another PR company.
Christine's husband passed away two years ago, and after so many years of not driving she is now learning! Once Christine has her licence, she plans on putting her social skills to work by visiting older locals who maybe don't have the same level of contact with other people as they once did.
Ian hails from South Australia, graduating from his winemaking course at Roseworthy College in 1961.
He moved to Mudgee to build and manage a new winery called Montrose, at the same time establishing his own business in Miramar Wines, which received several gold medals for the wines he made. In his office at the winery he built in 1975 remain plans for many major wineries still in production.
Ian and his partner, Carol, are now looking to their retirement. Ian's riesling grapes now go to another Mudgee winery as a major part of the wine that won the Best Riesling trophy in the 2017 NSW Wine Awards – clearly he still has what it takes!
Ian maintains a passion for creating. From his earlier career in designing wineries through to building his own winery from scratch (designing electrical boards, building tanks and even his own grape press), he now enjoys creating sculptures from objects remaining in the winery, making the most of the trophies for the 2017 Mudgee Wine Show – an eclectic mix of slivers of oak barrels, wine stains, glass and steel.
Doc and Sheryl
I was contacted by Doc and Sheryl after Sheryl saw publicity about the project. 'When I look in the mirror I don't see a 60-year-old woman, I see a strong, fit, healthy woman who is now a runner,' she told me. 'I didn't start running until my fifties.'
Sheryl and her husband, Doc, now regularly take part in running festivals. Doc is a triathlete who competes in the Australian lronman and has done so 12 times. Sheryl says he's an inspiration, 'He's the most amazing person I know. When others say I can't, he always says, you CAN.'
Together they own a small cafe in the medical centre in Mudgee.
I arranged to meet Sheryl and Doc on their morning run at 6am on a Tuesday. Watching them laugh as they both tried to get in front for the photograph was hilarious – the energy and inspiration they get from each other is obvious, and clearly drives them both to be all that they can be.
Simon moved from England in the 1950s as a young boy. His father was sent here to start a factory to make Ryvita and Westons biscuits. Simon went on to become a teacher and worked in Sydney.
Simon met his wife, Angela, when they were both at a postgraduate teachers training course. Their romance blossomed on the first day when, after sharing a train home, Simon kissed Angela goodbye, out of the blue and perhaps a little inappropriately. He apologised the next day when they met on the train, saying something like, 'I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done that.' To which Angela replied, 'Are you really? That's a shame.'
They haven't looked back since.
Simon and Angela later moved to Mudgee where they renovated and managed the Parkview Guesthouse and tea rooms. For the last three years, Simon, Angela and her sister have run Artisan Cafe, with home-style meals, regular exhibitions of local artists covering the walls, and an eclectic feel that is a physical expression of their personalities.
Simon found that moving to the country changed his scope of opportunity and enriched their lives. He looks forward and sees a life with lots of living left to do.
Ross and Liz
Ross and Liz met at a Bob Dylan concert in Sydney in the 1970s. In 1981, after returning from travelling for a year from Kathmandu to London, they moved to Mudgee to manage a farm with their family before taking over a local agricultural company until 2006.
Since then, they have run a bicycle tour company, and worked in customer service, a library and a cellar door – but what really drives them is planning travel (at least one trip per year but trying for two!) and community work.
Amongst other things, Ross has been involved in the NSW Farmers Federation and the local land council. He’s on the board of Pioneer House (a local aged care facility) and has been an active member of Cooks Gap Rural Fire Service for 26 years. He’s also involved in a local school garden. Liz is involved in the National Association for Loss and Grief counselling service and is a weaver.
They draw inspiration from other people who live life to the full, and you get a real sense they will make the most out of every opportunity that comes their way.
Tim has had several careers, with a background in science followed by working for software companies. He is now a winemaker in Mudgee and spends just as many hours taking photographs as making wines. His photographic work is mostly centred around natural subjects: nature, landscapes and other local scenes from Mudgee and surrounds.
'At the core of my personality I try and see the beauty in all things, whether that’s a person, a bird, a flower or a scene. If I can capture some of that in an image then that’s what counts!'