I would recommend Wangaratta in NE Vic. We lived there for 3 yrs until this October. It is 3 hrs drive to Melbourne, but doesn't feel heaps far. It's 4 hrs drive to Canberra (where my family live), so you can still visit your friends for a weekend if you want.
It is super family friendly, though you do have to put a bit of effort in to 'break in' to the community.
Housing is super cheap. Cost of living is super cheap.
If you moved there, there are heaps of welcoming new to the area groups.
Sent from my GT540 using BubHub