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Dereel People: Julie Avery-Donaghy

Julie Avery-Donaghy
Julie Avery-Donaghy

1 How long have you lived in the area?
Since December 1992. We came up from Melton because we wanted to move to the country and have horses. This was the first one we looked at, and it had town water!

2 What’s great about living here?
I like the weather and the soil to grow plants in (we have lots of sand). The kids went to school in Rokewood and the people are friendly, plus it’s easy to get to Ballarat.

3 What do you feel passionate about?
Quilting and gardening – any sort of quilt and I enjoy doing classes and learning new things. I am also a qualified gardener and I used to teach at SMB (now FedUni) and I was head gardener at Blythwood Grange in Sebastopol. We also had a nursery here, a herb nursery called Unicorn Gardens until the drought brought us undone.

4 What do you find joy in doing?
Quilting and gardening.

5 What is your current pet project?
I am in between projects at the moment, apart from trying to get the phone tower…

6 What community groups are you involved in and why?
Not anything at the moment. I was a founding member of the Golden Plains Tourist Association and the Golden Plains Business Association but the Council sort of lost interest which is why they folded. I’ve been involved in many things over the years and I received an International Women’s Day Award from Golden Plains Shire Council.

7 Tell us about your best community experience.
This is both the best and the worst – the fire. I helped the recovery centre at the hall. We helped people – everyone I knew and I got to know new people. The fire itself was the worst experience.

8 How could you see more of this happening in Dereel?
I would like to see more houses, less pine plantations and more controlled burns.

9 Describe a future vision of Dereel that you would like to see.
My magic wand stuff: the hall being redeveloped (which is happening), a sealed walking path to Grassy Gully Rd for fitness, of course the phone tower and better area wide Wi-Fi.

10 What would we do as a first step to realise that dream?
Working together. All being on the same side is a great start..

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