“I was born and bred on the island. My parents were both born on the island as well.
Growing up on the island was brilliant, camping with my family and extended family and friends, later years of schooling on the island with all my mates and just knocking off school on a Friday afternoon packing up our car with our swags and our eskies and surfboards, and then not coming home until Sunday night.
I moved away for two years from the island after I finished my schooling and lived in Cairns on a yacht in a marina, that was my house. That was pretty good as an 18-year-old kid.
I just didn’t know whether I was going to follow in my dad’s footsteps, so I went and did something different to get away from the island. Worked on boats as a deckhand, as caretaker of boats, fishing guide, I did maintenance on boats, spent three months up further north as a barra guide. So just stuff like that. After two years up there, I decided to come home and do my apprenticeship with Dad and then I moved away again when I was about 29 or 30, to Perth and spend 2 years as a fly in fly out as a diesel mechanic in the mines. I had the belief that it’s better to get off to see how other people live and also for me to get away to prove myself other than being in my parents’ footsteps all the time. It makes me appreciate what I have here too. In the mines the money was amazing but the lifestyle just didn’t suit me. Coming home to Kangaroo Island was one of the best decisions again.
This year I have taken on more of a role within the family business. I like spinning spanners and fixing stuff, with Covid and all the government things you have to do, sitting in front of a computer reading documents could do my head in. At the start of the year, I felt so helpless with the fires because we weren’t out there on the fire front helping our customers protect their properties, but I learned that we can jump on board and help in other ways, I have learned a lot about running a successful business. Kangaroo Island surprised me with its community spirit. I was very, very impressed. It reminded me of 20, 30 years ago of what Kangaroo Island used to be like.”