1. How long have you lived in the area and what brought you here?
Since 2000. I used to go prospecting with a mate around here so knew the area and said I would buy land if it became available. When something came up I couldn’t believe it had a house on the land given the price, but we checked into it and here we are.
2. What’s great about living here?
The clean air, the area, the freedom of having space to move around. It’s handy having Ballarat nearby, easy to access. It’s great that I can operate a business here, that’s part of the freedom – it lets me work on the land.
3. What do you feel passionate about?
I love work – getting things done. I like making things by utilising old stuff to turn it into new stuff. I like creating things from scrap. And I’m also passionate about my chooks.
4. What do you find joy in doing?
Most things, I enjoy getting things done – and then standing back and looking. I like getting it finished.
5. What is your current pet project?
Getting the kennels updated & improved to make things easier. Otherwise just stuff around the place, I’m right into solar – all our power comes from it and it’s all self done.
6. What community groups are you involved in and why?
Dereel Men’s Shed – to teach others & pass on skills. Also supporting men’s health, opening up more
7. Tell us about your best community experience.
The fire recovery. We made a few mistakes but also did a lot of good. The people that were helped far outweighed the mistakes made. I learnt a lot from that experience.
8. How could you see more of this happening in Dereel?
The challenge is getting people out of the bush to take part in things. We have tried lots of different approaches but it’s always a struggle. Some of the big events have drawn people out, e.g. Christmas events & the Spring Festivals, but we need more participation.
9. Describe a future vision of Dereel that you would like to see.
I’d like to see a shop opened. It’s unlikely we’ll get a petrol station. I’d like to see opportunities for local employment, perhaps an industrial area or something like a courier company. If we could keep water in the swamp then it could be made into an attraction, with paddle boats and a kiosk.
10. What would we do as a first step to realise that dream?
We have to entice people out of the bush. Other towns in the area seem to have people active in the community. Examples like Turtle Bend in Teesdale which transformed the space – they have fantastic festivals there now. It comes back to taking ownership. The community needs to take charge and show the council that we care for our space.