‘Nature girl’ Masters gets into EP life

I was able to call Eyre Peninsula ‘home’ from the day I was born. Treasures like the smell of mallee scrub, beautiful trees and rock formations and the rolling hills of farming country that meet the salty goodness of the beach have always made me feel so at home.

I have been a ‘nature girl’; a bare foot, tree climber, who was completely at home on the back of a horse or middle of a haystack. Yet the most notable part of my story is created by the amazing people I know.

I am the eldest of two girls and two boys. There are six years between myself and our youngest sibling. With the four of us under the age of 7, circumstances drew us to life away from the Eyre Peninsula. I recall the long drive in our Nissan Patrol to New South Wales where Dad was to begin a university degree. Dad then gained employment in Port Lincoln, so we were able to move back to Eyre Peninsula.

When I was 11 years old, we embarked on the journey of homeschooling. We were living at ‘The Old Strawberry Farm’, an old fauna park, strewn with tumbled down animal enclosures, overgrown areas and two acres in the waters of Little Swamp – heavenly.

The next seven years were filled with great moments of schoolwork around the kitchen table with my siblings, Heidi, Luke and Joshua, horse riding, fun times with our close friends and cousins, church, raising joeys, rowing the dinghy (and other forms of invented boat-like vessels that got us into plenty of trouble) on the swamp, reading books as a family, camping and the chores around our property.

When I finished my schooling, I worked full time for a year at Glen Forest Animal Park as a tourist guide, animal carer and vineyard worker.

I had my heart set on teaching, so relished every moment of the Bachelor of Education that I began in 2000. I loved living with my great grandmother Pearl during this time, who was still sharp as a tack at 96.

Toward the end of my course, I fell in love with the most amazing young man, Brett Masters. I definitely experienced the old adage, ‘swept off my feet’. We were married in the Strawberry Farm garden in the same year that I graduated. My grandmother joked that I got my ‘bachelor and masters’ all in one year. Brett and I lived in the South East for two years and enjoyed experiencing life in a different part of the state.

We had fun exploring the lower South East and Western Victoria. I gained some experience teaching in a number of primary schools in and around Naracoorte but the Eyre Peninsula was calling us home. I was lucky enough to get a position at Cummins Area School.

We moved to Port Lincoln eight years ago. I taught at St Joseph’s School for one year and then was offered a permanent position at Navigator College in 2010. It has been an incredible experience to witness the growth of a new school. I learn so much from my colleagues, the students and parents. This is truly a vocation of collaboration, where no one person is the hero. Brett loves working with farmers as a soils consultant and reporting on science-based innovations. We love travelling to different places in our beautiful country, listening to music, gardening, passing time together and enjoying time fishing and walking in the beautiful national parks of Lower Eyre Peninsula.