Ready for oncoming challenges

I was born in Meningie, lived in Hamley Bridge and moved to Streaky Bay when I was four years old, fortunately my parents fell in love with the place and I stayed until I had completed my schooling. Looking back it was the perfect upbringing; we were always busy with sports on weekends and I must have had great teachers as I loved school! This led to a good result in year 12 so I was encouraged to leave and study further as "I could always return"!

Of course I have not returned to Streaky Bay to live but it will always be home. At the time I was not sure what I wanted to do so I picked a course that was paid for by the government and guaranteed a job, dental therapy. To be honest I was not exactly sure what a dental therapist did and I must say my first day at uni was a real eye opener when I discovered I would be doing fillings and extracting teeth, but I successfully completed the course and have been working in the School Dental Service ever since.

It has enabled me to travel and I have worked in South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia. WA is also where I met Matt, my husband who was crayfishing north of Perth in a small town called Ledge Point. We spent a few years there until we decided to take a year off and travel. We were fortunate enough to have access to his parents yacht and spent three months sailing from Perth to Darwin, exploring the Kimberley region which was magical.

After getting our car sent up to Darwin we drove the rest of the way around Australia, detoured to Tasmania to hike the Overland track and then went overseas where we fell in love with Italy. We then finished up with a three month stint in North Carolina with Camp America. We got engaged just before we left so we arrived home four weeks before we were due to get married and start a "real" life again. We stayed in Perth long enough to have our first child, Cambell who was born in Fremantle in 2002.

Not long after we made the decision to move back to Port Lincoln where Matt had previously worked. My mother in law still has not forgiven me but has learnt to live with it! We went on to have Lucy and Angus (three under three years - yes a slow learner!) which made our little family complete.

Being a mum has been one of life's highlights so far. When our youngest was two it was brought to our attention that he had a limp and a was not using one arm. We finally discovered he had had a stroke and as a result had cerebral palsy. Although a surprise after spending much time at the Women's and Children's Hospital we felt very grateful as there are many people far worse off.

I do not remember ever talking about it but we never told Angus he had a disability, I am not a fan of labels and I did not want anyone making excuses for him. We just referred to his "dicky leg" which he regularly had in a cast following botox injections. Whether this was the right decision, we will never know but he is an incredibly resilient, strong child that continues to amaze us.

In 2005 fishing turned into tourism and in 2007 we established Adventure Bay Charters. To say the last 12 years has been the toughest thing we have even done would be an understatement! We have come up against many challenges and hurdles along the way and had my beliefs tested but somehow we keep surviving and are proud of the business we have created.

We are passionate about what we do and feel very grateful to go to work every day. Our next focus is trying to look after our country which has provided us with so many amazing memories. To teach our children not to be entitled and to be conscious of the effect they are having on our environment. This may well be our biggest challenge but one I think we are up for!

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