SHE’S BACK HOME AFTER EMBARKING ON A SPONTANEOUS SEACHANGE, BUT KATE HAS LEFT A PIECE OF HER HEART IN VANUATU
Igrew up in Ipswich. I came to the Gold Coast to study environmental science majoring in eco-tourism at Griffith University and that’s where I met my husband Justin.
We actually met in chemistry class, which is kind of cute.
I thought he was a bit of a dork but he had a car and I only had a bike so he won me over.
I started my PhD after we got married but I never finished because we started having kids.
I don’t think you ever realise how much kids change your life until you go through it. I suddenly went from being a really busy, sporty, career-driven person to being essentially housebound in the Gold Coast suburbs.
It was quite isolating and Justin could see I was bored so we decided it was time to do something different.
I hopped on Google one night and found this resort for sale in Vanuatu.
We decided that’s what we’d do. So we packed up our son Eden, who was about one at the time, and headed for the islands.
Once we saw the resort we realised it wasn’t for us, but we found a nightclub for sale. So we bought that instead.
Justin’s always been the entrepreneurial type, we’d already started and sold an eco-tourism company on the Gold Coast, but this was a little bit different.
The nightclub is for locals, not tourists, and they just loved it. We actually did make money from it.
It played mainly reggae and R&B but it was Justin who was hands-on. He was there every Friday and Saturday night while I’d take one for the team on the weekend days and get the kids out of the house so he could sleep.
By that time we had a daughter, and later we had our third child. They all grew up on the island, learning three different languages and just living a simple life.
We all loved it. Justin and I had the week days to ourselves. We’d surf together, go get massages together. It was awesome.
One of the best things we did over there was introduce AFL to the islanders.
Justin always loved it and we both used to umpire games on the Gold Coast. Then one of the other umps said I should play as well. I played for the Surfers Paradise Demonettes and it was so much fun.
It was full on, there was always an ambulance pulling up and carting us off the field but we loved it.
When we got to Vanuatu they had never heard of AFL so Justin taught them. The kids were just addicted to it and eventually we set up AFL Vanuatu.
The highlight was when our team of nineyear-olds was invited to play one of the halftime games at the MCG, I think it was between Collingwood and Carlton.
Just seeing their faces as we landed at the Melbourne airport was amazing. They were just gorgeous kids.
We finally came back home in 2013 after seven years over there. It was sad but we decided our kids needed to go to an Australian school. The education system just isn’t the same over there.
We’ve all actually settled in really well to Gold Coast life. We love the school the kids are at and we run our own real estate agency now. I think we’ll always be trying new things.
I’ve just started umpiring for my son’s AFL club, it’s great to continue that.
We still own the nightclub in Vanuatu as well, we could never completely give up our island life.
“ONE OF THE BEST THINGS WE DID OVER (IN VANUATU) WAS INTRODUCE AFL TO THE ISLANDERS.”