Our Peo­ple - Kathy Octi­gan

She is a lady who lives life on the run in busi­ness, com­mu­nity and fam­ily

Mansfield Courier - - FRONT PAGE - Weekly pro­file on our peo­ple by Courier jour­nal­ist Pam Zierk-Ma­honey pzierk-ma­[email protected] ne­me­dia.com.au

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.

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