Otway Life spoke to Bambra local, Di Schulze, about her life, love and passions:
I’m a Geelong girl, born and bred, growing up on a small chicken farm on the Torquay Road where my parents ran a thriving shop supplying eggs and poultry to an enthusiastic regular clientele. Following my mothers’ footsteps into nursing as a very innocent 17 year old provided me with the spring board to a fabulous and adventurous career. My experience in emergency nursing and midwifery gave me the groundwork to spending eight fabulous years in Western Australia as a flight nurse with the RFDS. Thinking it would be impossible to top such an amazing work experience, I saw an ad headed “Come nursing in the Arctic”. It had a picture of a polar bear. No brainer. I spent the next five years working as a community nurse in the remote community of Pond Inlet, Nunavut, way above the Arctic Circle on Baffin Island. What an incredible experience of life lessons and finding the beauty of silence in nature amongst the wonderfully welcoming Inuit.
However, I knew that I couldn’t keep nursing forever, and it was coming time for me to return to the fold. I had long dreamt of starting a holiday accommodation business and had spent some time searching for the right spot. With impeccable timing, my lovely sister in law discovered that Countrywide Cottages in Bambra was on the market, just as I was saying my goodbyes in Pond Inlet. Just half an hour from my family home and incredibly, immediately next door to the School Camp, which, as an Oberon student of the 70’s I was always too shy to attend! With a few weeks of travel still to be done before coming back to Australia, on my accountants’ insistence, I purchased the property sight unseen while still in Nunavut. Luckily my first impressions of the place fitted the bill and it’s been an adventure ever since! 26 acres, 16 of which is bushland and housing four holiday cottages. Having never lived on a property, I had NO idea of the amount of work it took to manage.
It’s been over 11 years now, and I am still delighted with the change in my life – even more so to be able to work in the business full time now. Running a business adds fabulous new challenges to life, and I have loved my time here thus far. There is a huge sense of community in the area, lovely neighbours, I am close to family and have made many great new friends. I love the connections with the tourism business community that has built over the years of working with the Otway Harvest Trail and have seen so much growth in the amazing product available for tourists in the area since first in the business.
Now, with my partner Stuart here full time, life is good! We both love the business and seeing the joy it brings to our guests. I wouldn’t be anywhere else! And so far….no sightings of the infamous Black Panther.