What is your job?
I am retired, and because I am retired I am available and because I am available I’m always ready to give people a hand. One of my current projects is tidying up a section of the river, removing debris from the river bank. I have received a $2000 grant from Vic Forests for some native plants to replace the weeds, and the Mt Beauty schools will be approached to help with planting. I am working with the Alpine Shire to formulate a plan as to how we can make this picnic spot more accessible to the public. The UKVCA has also donated funds for further facilities, and several other community groups have volunteered to contribute goods or services to support the project. It is a work in progress, involving the Shire, NECMA and DELWP.
Have you always wanted to do this?
I’ve done this sort of thing all my life. I am a life member of Apex and I have been district governor of Apex. My wife and I were both pri- mary school teachers for 26 years. We taught all over the Western District in country schools. Chris is off a dairy farm in Lavers Hill and I am from Portland.
How do you come to be in the Valley?
We always had this idea that we weren’t going to teach forever. We planned to buy a business where we could involve our two boys and their families. In 1988 we quit our jobs and we bought the Mt Beauty Holiday Centre, now called the Mt Beauty Caravan Park. After about 5 years we had managed to pay off the loan for the purchase of the business and bought the freehold, and after a while both the boys started to buy into the business. We wanted to do it the way the Greeks and Italians do it so well, keeping the family in the business. We brought a lot of administrative experience and handyman skills with us. We found this place advertised, came up to look and made an instant decision. This is not a 5-star caravan park but it has something that 5-star parks don’t have. Something about this place just makes people relax.
What did you love about the job?
To run a caravan park you have to be a people person. To me the best people in Australia are on the road with caravans and tents. They are here to relax and enjoy and have good memories, and if you can help them do that they will probably come back. Buying the Park was one of the highlights of our life. We risked everything and now we have our children and grandchildren here.