Our People - Kathy Octigan
She is a lady who lives life on the run in business, community and family
KATHY Octigan is not one for sitting on her haunches and letting life pass her by.
Apart from running a very busy family caravan park business on the shores of Lake Eildon at Bonnie Doon she is also very active within her own community and the Mansfield community.
Kathy was born in 1961 in Niddrie, Melbourne to parents Molly and Archie Sullivan.
She went to Doutta Galla Primary School and then her secondary education was at Ave Maria College.
Her career s t art ed out as a doctor’s receptionist at the top end of Collins Street (before moving out to Essendon Airport as a clerk with the refuelling station - mainly for emergency service aircraft.
It was while working at the airport that she met her husband to be David.
After they were married they moved to Kalgoorlie (WA) for a short while before moving back to Sunbury where they continued to work at Tullamarine - she with a car hire company and David in air traffic control.
In mid-1995 an imminent move predicted for both David and Kathy which they did not want, parents-inlaw Ray and Barbara Octigan suggested they buy a caravan park and run it as a family business - but it had to be within easy travelling distance of Melbourne still.
Kathy was expecting her second baby – Ellen now 21 years old and little sister to James now 24.
“The first two years at the new venture were fine with about 60-70 per cent water in the lake,” Kathy recalls.
But then the tides turned - they went out a long way - and Lake Eildon for the next 12 years was dry - at least outside their park.
When the lake re-filled Ellen and James saw water near their home for the first time.
“The kids thought that having to drive around to Kennedy Point or to Lake Nillahcootie to see water and do boating activities was normal – but when the lake filled it was very different,” Kathy recalls.
“The kids could bring their friends home and have days on the lake in the boat, and to stay over on weekends – it was lovely.
“Our lifestyle is so much more fun than it was in Melbourne - for a start no noise, except for the cockatoos.
“The first couple of years I asked myself ‘what have I done?’ but that has eased now.
“I usually st a r t my day a t 7.30am and shut the office at 8pm – sometimes later at the busiest times – but this is normal.
“The ki d s h a ve moved to Melbourne but still call Bonnie Doon home and come up often.
“We have offered them the chance to be part of the business and help run it full time but both have declined as they want their own careers.”
After 21 years Kathy is very much entrenched into the Bonnie Doon and Mansfield communities.
She is a regular spectator at the Bonnie Doon Football Club home matches and keeps busy and helps out wherever she can with catering and community projects.
She has a group of special ladies who she goes away with for weekends when she can - particularly the Opera in the High Country at Beechworth in summer.
“We rent a house and all take food and drinks and we just love the opera - the whole atmosphere is magical,” she said.
She has made some l i fetime friends and both her and David are involved in the Mansfield Community Radio Station being presenters for weekly programs.
“I love the radio - my first weekly program is music - my life revolves around music - and t he second program is with Emily Reynolds who I love dearly,” she said.
“I have been doing radio programs now for more than 10 years and I just love it.”
With such a busy lifestyle is there time to relax?
“My favourite time is sitting by a bonfire on the lake’s edge, with a glass or two of wine and watching the sun go down over the nearby hills,” she said.
“You can’t go past that,” she declares.
Now living a more laidback country lifestyle, Kathy says she is here to stay and when the time comes to retire, they may find a few acres preferably near their now beloved lake.
BUSY WOMAN: Kathy Octigan thrives in being busy and active in her community.