Our People - Karen Oliver
From her time spent working at kinder to training and marketing manager at the cinema, it is evident that Karen loves meeting new people
CURRENTLY, Karen Oliver is the training and marketing manager at Mansfield Armchair Cinema, but she hasn’t always been a resident of Mansfield.
“The cinema has been open for nine years, and I’ve been here eight,” Karen said.
“Originally I was working a casual shift one or two nights a week, but I eventually moved in to other positions.”
While she works full time at the cinema, you can also find Karen in the comfort of her home knitting, crocheting, sewing or cooking. “I always cook,” she said. “I bake every day – I get up and bake.”
Before moving to Mansfield nine years ago, Karen had grown up in “a little country town” called Dublin in South Australia.
“My first job was waitressing at a local hotel,” she said.
“I enjoyed it – I got to meet lots of people. “I love people.” After finishing her education at Balaklava High School in South Australia at the end of year 11, Karen began work in the council office at Port Wakefield.
“I was there when the first computers came out in 1982 until my husband and I got married,” she said.
Karen and her husband have been married for 35 years, after meeting at her older brother’s work in Eudunda.
“We met in 1981 and were married in 1983,” said Karen.
The couple have three children – two that were born in South Australia, and one that was born in Victoria.
Her eldest son, Jonathan, works in the Coles and Myer IT department.
Her second child is Alicia, who is now 31 and living in Adelaide with the first of Karen’s grandchildren, Charles.
Alicia is working three times a week in a finance job.
Edward, her third child, was born in Victoria.
“He comes up more often because he likes to hunt,” said Karen.
He lives in the Yarra Valley and is a builder, but did his apprenticeship with Paul Richardson.
“When he finished that, it wasn’t long before he moved away,” Karen said.
“I don’t see them often enough, but a mum will always say that. “I love kids.” Karen and her family of five have also previously lived in Yea, after her husband decided he wanted to work on the land again.
“We lived in Yea for 18 years running another pastoral property,” said Karen.
“When we were in Yea I worked as an assistant teacher in the kinder for 15 years.
“My kids have this joke that I never graduated kinder because I was still there when they left.”
While Karen was very committed to her job at the kinder, she was also busy coaching netball.
“I used to play a long time ago,” said Karen.
“I also used to umpire and coach netball in Mansfield for the Eagles,” Karen said, referring to her time spent coaching and umpiring the U15 and B Grade teams here in Mansfield.
“We ‘retired’ from netball and football after over 20 years – we thought we’d done our time.”
When Karen and her family haven’t been busy with work or sport, they have enjoyed time away on holidays.
“We’ve been overseas a couple of times, but more recently was our trip to the Simpson Desert,” she said.
“We are planning another outback trek for next year, but for now we are just visiting our grandchild in South Australia.”
PARTY ON: Pictured are (back, from left) Karen’s sons Edward and Johnathon, (front from left) Karen’s husband Adrian and Karen Oliver celebrate their daughter Alicia’s (middle front) 30th birthday.