Steve Gar­diner

Alpine Observer - - News -

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.

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