News & Events

Jan is in her forever home at Leith Park

December 13, 2020

The moment archaeologist Jan Bailey stepped over the threshold of the new Leith Park apartment she was inspecting, she knew she had arrived home.

From the warm, light-filled, north-facing apartment, with its great balcony overlooking treetops, the beautiful kitchen with plenty of storage, an office and a large bedroom, Jan could see the potential and in her mind, she was already placing furniture and belongings into the space available.

One year later, and Jan could not be happier.

“This is my forever home. A place where I can come and go as I please, lock up and leave, be surrounded by people and be private,” she said.

As Victoria emerges from its second lockdown, Jan is looking forward to reconnecting with her extensive network of family and life-long friends and equally to meeting and making friends with her Leith Park neighbours.

“Many of the people I met when I moved in are in similar circumstances to me – getting older, supportive, helpful and friendly. It is going to be fun when we return to some sort of normality and enjoy a few drinks and many chats in this beautiful environment,” Jan said.

However tedious lockdown was for Jan, it was never dull.

She has been kept busy through her passion for archaeology and her many connections with Turkey, a country she loves. The two ‘loves’ combine in her editing work on archaeological findings.

For Jan, archaeology is important because it is the story of everyone.

“It is the story of where we came from, how we got this way, and who we are now. Not every author gets it right, and not every archaeologist has made the correct assumptions when coming upon the ruins of an ancient city, or digging up a pottery jug, or trying to interpret rock art,” she said.

“There have also been well-documented incidences of fraudulent activity, fake “finds”, falsified scientific data, and deceptive reports, all of which, no doubt, were the result of individuals trying to achieve a spurious type of fame, because there is also no doubt that fabulous finds capture the attention of the whole world.”

The importance of her work is seen through the books she helps to edit where archaeologists share ideas and compare findings to help draw together the threads of history, and to give life to people long gone.

“It is important to pass on this knowledge to students, the future’s archaeologists. In this technological age, there are huge websites containing academic reports which almost anyone can access, but students, through their universities, are able to find this information freely, enabling them to write theses.”

Jan did not begin her professional life as an archaeologist. She spent several stints in the advertising world before finding her niche in teaching vocational education to disadvantaged people from across the spectrum – struggling teenagers to the long-term unemployed.

“I found great joy in my work, always leaping out of bed in the mornings to get the day started, and I helped many to realise their potential, after slipping through the cracks of our education system,” she said.

That same enthusiasm is evident in Jan’s love of retirement.

“What’s not to like? The prospect of endless travel, I hope, as well as my family, friendships, and my writing,” she said.

The last four months have been spent writing in her Leith Park apartment office. Her current work is a memoir of her travels. She has written about 70,000 words, and there is still more to come.

In the meantime, there is a meal to be cooked, a drink to be poured, and a balcony to sit on gazing over Leith Park’s tree tops.



Leith Park is a wonderful place for single older women because of the community and the age-friendly accommodation. I don’t think I have ever felt as safe as I have here.

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