Ken Bell

Alpine Observer - - People Around Town -

What is your job?

I pub­lish ‘ Mt Beauty and Falls Creek – This Week’ which is a tourism news­pa­per started back in 1980. Be­cause we were an SEC town we were not all that wel­com­ing to vis­i­tors, so I tried to put in sto­ries about the lo­cal peo­ple so that vis­i­tors knew what a good town they had cho­sen to visit, and sto­ries about the vis­i­tors that made the lo­cals see how im­por­tant tourists were to the town. That is still the pol­icy and with­out the vis­i­tors our town wouldn’t sur­vive. I also run the laun­dro­mat which we took over in 2010. It had been closed for seven years, so we ren­o­vated the space and turned the front into an of­fice for the pa­per and to make it more wel­com­ing.

Is it some­thing you al­ways wanted to do?

No I didn’t re­ally think I would end up do­ing what I am. I left Mel­bourne in 1980 where I had been sell­ing boats for five years. The boat­ing in­dus­try took a dive when the OPEC coun­tries did the world over with the price of oil, and boats took a real hid­ing so I came to Falls Creek look­ing for work. I’d skied here since 1976 and en­joyed the life­style. I did labour­ing on the build­ing site of Sundance Inn, and I got a job park­ing cars. Work­ing with the lo­cal guys I found that there was a lack of in­for­ma­tion for the vis­i­tors. The man­ager at Sundance asked me to make a flyer which went out weekly and was pinned up on no­tice boards. That was the be­gin­ning of ‘ This Week’.

What do you love about the job?

It’s an en­joy­able po­si­tion, com­mu­ni­cat­ing with a lot of peo­ple. You have a pretty good han­dle on the com­mu­nity, though you don’t know ev­ery­thing. It pro­vides a life­style where you get to talk to peo­ple, go ski­ing and spend time on the High Plains.

What do you do in your spare time?

I’ve been a mem­ber of the ten­nis club since 1990, in­clud­ing a pe­riod as pres­i­dent. I’ve been a mem­ber of Ro­tary since 1996, in­clud­ing two terms as pres­i­dent. Ro­tary is a great or­gan­i­sa­tion, Bill Gates chose to sup­port Ro­tary in its po­lio erad­i­ca­tion pro­gram be­cause he knew all the money gets to the right place. I’ve been to Ti­mor Leste three times to work on schools and com­mu­nity cen­tres. I try and do a lot of vol­un­teer­ing; I sup­port the Kan­ga­roo Hop­pet com­mit­tee too and col­lect for the Sal­va­tion Army, things like that. For the last four years I have been work­ing in the Vis­i­tor In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre at Falls Creek where we’ve started do­ing guided walks. I’m also a mem­ber of the Falls Creek His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, and I vol­un­teer at the mu­seum up there.

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