Married to Rohan McDonald
Mother of Keira and Paddy
“Never Ever Give Up”
How did you end up at Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park
Go with the flow!
If only it was that simple.
After we had run the Lorne Country Club in Lorne for 13 years we were told by some members that we lost our heart and soul for the business. At first I was stand offish and pretty angry. We gave our heart and soul for that place for so long. Now looking back they were probably right. Any way, one of the members offered us a management position at his caravan park in Tasmania. After we flew down for the night we decided not to. Two reasons. The lady said she finished ironing every night at 9pm and also we had to move out every 3 weeks for relief management to come in. Didn’t sound practical to me with two young children attending school. We decided to sell up in Lorne, buy a caravan and travel around Australia to buy our own park. All this happened in Oct 2011 and at Christmas 2011 Rohan showed me the park he found for sale online, which happened to be in the same town as were we married in 2000. Halls Gap, Grampians.
What was your first impression?
It was Boxing Day 2011. We were celebrating Christmas with Rohans uncle in Halls Gap. Lets go for a quick drive, I want to show you something! ….. Seriously… I thought he was out of his mind! It was one of the most run down parks I had ever seen. He kept telling me to see through it. Well, that day I discovered one of my biggest weaknesses. I clearly have no vision. And on that note, one of Rohan’s strengths…he has such good vision, he can see through things and make it work! I suppose opposites attract!
When did you take over?
I’ll never forget! 23 March 2012. The management residence was declared unlivable and there was no availability in the park, not even to put a tent up due to Easter! So what does Rohan do… he puts a tent up in the residence. Tadaa… livable. It was an interesting period of my life, I battled on, but it didn’t come easy. I never regretted, but I felt pretty hollow at times. It was very hard work, with the two young kids in some miserable conditions. Where did the time go? I remember a very happy moment, when Rohan and I were walking Chatauqua peak and we got a phone call from the bank manager that we were able to borrow the money to purchase the freehold. A very memorable day!
Where we you born?
Oss, Noord Brabant, The Netherlands
What does the Grampians mean to you?
A very wholesome loaf of European bread! It is nutritious, substantial, it makes you feel good!
What makes you smile?
When a friend from the past unexpectedly walks through the front door of the reception!
What is your favourite treat? (Just in case people want to leave a present for you!)
I recently discovered Cuvée chocolate. I case you are curious…
They do sell online!
What is your favourite quote?
“You don’t get into something to test the waters, you go into things to make waves!”
I LOVE quotes. I have framed over 50 quotes and hung them all around the park. It prickles your mind, makes you curious and inspires! Follow our blog to see my weekly quote!
As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
A nurse. My dad was a policeman and my mum used to look after the mums and babies after birth. In Holland it was common to deliver your baby at home so for 7 days afterwards, my mum would come in to assist with the running of the household. I was called a “kraam verzorgster”. It was only natural for me to work in human services. But as I grew older I decided I wanted to work with kids and studied Social Work. I finished this degree, but studied Humans Resources after that and worked for 1 year assisting disadvantaged youth back into the workforce. But, with the urge to travel, I left Holland and met Rohan whilst traveling for a year in Australia. This was Jan 99 and in Oct 1999 I migrated.
How would you describe yourself, 5 words?
Caring, giving, direct, down to earth, goal kicker.
What will you be when you grow up ?
I love people, I really do. And I love helping people. But I have also realised I enjoy a commercial challenge. My own personal challenge is to be proud of what I do and achieve. One day when I grow up I’d like to be able to be a business mentor/life coach.
How do your colleagues describe you?
Apparently I am the boss since I pay the wages. So, they won’t say too many nasty things about me. But if they could they would say the following: (too) direct, blunt, upbeat, friendly and caring.
What languages do you speak?
Dutch and Australian
If you were to get some time off, what do you like doing?
I had a lengthy conversation about this the other day with one of my friends. For the first time in a very long time I had time away from the park.
The old cliché what is your favourite dinner
Nasi Goreng with sate skewers & prawn crackers.
Your absolute favourite walk in the Grampians?
Boronia Peak. 360 degree view over the Fyans Valley and the Grampians rock formations. Great place to take a good book!
As a local what is your that secret little thing you don’t really want to tell people about, but you are!
Deidre’s restaurant at Laharum. Yam yam!