Fam­ily leav­ing the snow for the desert

Mansfield Courier - - NEWS -

IMAG­INE hav­ing your mail de­liv­ered just once a week, and by a small plane no less.

Imag­ine hav­ing no power un­less your gen­er­a­tor is run­ning, and no phone ex­cept by satel­lite.

And imag­ine go­ing to the su­per­mar­ket just once a month, and trav­el­ling 500 kilo­me­tres to get there.

For three gen­er­a­tions of the Scott fam­ily, it’s not a case of imag­in­ing it – it’s a case of liv­ing, and more im­por­tantly, lov­ing it.

Graham and Sandy Scott, to­gether with their son Tony and his wife Michelle, plus the four grand­chil­dren, have moved – not to Mans­field, like so many tree chang­ers, but to Mt Dare, in the mid­dle of no-where.

Sit uated j ust be­low t he North­ern Ter­ri­tory bor­der, with Finke 100 kilo­me­tres to the north and Ood­na­datta 250 kilo­me­tres to the south, few places are as re­mote as the Mt Dare Ho­tel.

“We’d been here be­fore as tourists,” Graham ex­plained.

“But that’s not quite the same as liv­ing here – it’s a chal­lenge and there are things we still have to get used to, but we are lov­ing it.”

With prop­er­ties at both Mer­ton and Molesworth, the Scotts de­cided al­most overnight to pack their bags and head off on the ad­ven­ture of a life­time.

“The plan has al­ways cen­tred on hav­ing three gen­er­a­tions up here – that’s part of the at­trac­tion.

“From the mo­ment we first talked about it, to tak­ing over the busi­ness, was about eight weeks.”

Graham and Sandy have trav­elled Aus­tralia wide, and while they have al­ways called Mans­field home, some­thing about the wide open deserts beck­oned them.

“We have done a lot of out­back travel and have al­ways felt strangely at home out here – the mo­ment we drove into this desert coun­try, we re­laxed – it just feels right.”

For Tony, his wife Michelle and the four kids, plus a foster child, the move to Mt Dare is as big an ad­ven­ture as they are ever likely to em­bark on.

With the kids cur­rently away in Alice Springs learn­ing the ropes of School of the Air, the fam­ily has set­tled into a new pace of life on the hard red sand.

“We drove up and had a look at Mt Dare first,” Tony said.

“But when my folks sug­gested we all go, we thought, why not?”

Tony has put his hand up to be the ho­tel’s res­i­dent chef, and so far has rev­elled in his new en­vi­ron­ment.

But when you are the only place to stop in town, there’s more to do than just cook.

The Scotts also run fuel, fix tyres, pro­vide on-site me­chan­i­cal re­pairs and ve­hi­cle re­cov­ery, ac­com­mo­da­tion, school, camp­ing, ho­tel, kitchen and ev­ery­thing else. “We are lov­ing it,” Tony said. “We are here for the ex­pe­ri­ence; we have no plans to leave any­time soon.”

Back in the bar and Graham is pre­par­ing for the lunchtime trade.

“We open at 8am, and are here till the last per­son leaves – they are big days and that can be a chal­lenge.”

The Scotts took over Mt Dare at the be­gin­ning of July.

They have quickly ad­justed to the change in en­vi­ron­ment, swap­ping snow-capped moun­tains for desert plains.

And de­spite lov­ing life in Vic­to­ria, they are con­fi­dent their new one in out­back South Aus­tralia will be ev­ery bit as good, if not bet­ter.

“We are look­ing for­ward to spend­ing a lot of time up here,” Graham said.

“We love it.”

PHOTO: Travel Out­back Aus­tralia

SWAP­PING SNOW FOR DESERT: Three gen­er­a­tions of the Scott fam­ily from Mans­field, have moved to out­back South Aus­tralia to run the Mt Dare Ho­tel. BUD­DING young in­ven­tors are be­ing in­vited to en­ter Ori­gin Energy’s ‘lit­tleBIGidea’ com­pe­ti­tion for a chance...

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