President Christine Veenhuizen
Secretary Joyce Emslie Vice President Keith Darke
Treasurer Roger Williamson
Click on Committee Members name to read more.
President Christine Veenhuizen
Tel: 0412 492 333
I’ve been fortunate to have lived in Healesville with my family for the last ten years. During this time we have found a great community, established a wonderful circle of friends and have been fortunate to build a successful accommodation business.
My past extensive and varied professional employment has been a huge contributing factor to our business success today. I have a social work degree working with children in foster care and with adults in the state correctional system. I moved on to establishing and running a very successful painting career, teaching adults for many years at my retail shop and studio.
Brentwood Accommodation in the Yarra Valley is now my passion. Brentwood B & B Apartments, Brentwood House and Brentwood Cottage have all been extensively and lovingly renovated maintaining the old world charm and history that is identified with the township of Healesville. We are extremely proud of our achievements but also thankful for the support we have received along the way. I have been fortunate to be part of the TNYV committee for the last four years, the last two years as President. I’ve been humbled by taking on the President’s role and am supported by an incredible gifted group of local people who are just as passionate about tourism in the Yarra Valley as I am.
Vice President Keith Darke
Tel: 03 5962 1669
After a teaching career of forty years Keith and his wife Christine were exploring what to do next. Previous recent work in Healesville schools and a period living in Healesville many years ago, brought them back. The initial plan was to downsize but instead they bought a one hundred year old house in two acres of garden, spent a year restoring it and opened what is now Graceburn Gardens where they offer bed and breakfast accommodation.
As a local person, growing up in Seville and teaching in the region, Keith has witnessed first hand the re-emergence of the Yarra Valley wine industry and associated tourism. Joining the industry has been challenging, exciting and rewarding. As beginners Keith and Christine availed themselves of the industry programs run by TNYV. The information provided at these events was very helpful in the early days of the business and TNYV remains a starting point in answering business questions that inevitably arise. When invited to join the committee Keith took the opportunity to put his many years of committee experience to use to help TNYV develop its networking and information goals.
Secretary Joyce Emslie
My husband and I lived and worked in Canberra and often came to Victoria to visit our son and family who live in Gippsland. Our daughter and family settled in Healesville over 7 years ago, so when we retired in 2014 we made the move. We both love the area and always happy to show it off to our overseas family and friends and look forward to working with the TNYV to help promote our local businesses, beautiful picnic areas, walking tracks and many other attractions our valley has to offer.
Treasurer Roger Williamson
Roger first lived in the Yarra Valley for twenty five years before moving to the gateway of the Yarra Valley at Lilydale where he has been for the past ten years. He has worked in voluntary roles for thirty years working with youth and community wellbeing.
Roger has served on numerous executive committees including Board of Management for Anchor which administers the region’s foster care programs and those at risk of homelessness.
He has been with the Dandenong Ranges Tourism group for the past six years and has now joined Tourism Network Yarra Valley. Roger owns the local accommodation supply business Yarra Valley Trading in Coldstream.
Tel: 0400 319 862
I am the proprietor of deVille@healesVille. We first came to live in Healesville in 1988 and bought the current business property in 2004. We have a family history of having properties in the Dandenong Ranges and living in Sassafras, so I have a long established relationship with the environment of the Yarra Valley and the Dandenong Ranges. I have a genuine love of the area with a keen passion to introduce it to others to experience the wealth of what it has to offer people with vast and varied interests. My professional experiences include being a Social worker, nurse and artist.
I look forward to being part of a positive, like minded group of business owners who share their time, expertise and enthusiasm for the area. I am keen to create a better place and spaces to visit with increasingly unique experiences. I am committed to working in innovative ways through TNYV committee to achieve this. I see the role as supporting, networking and inspiring other businesses who come to the area to be as successful as they can be. I care about the economic and environmental impact we have on this awe inspiring part of the world.
John Annison has been a member of Tourism Network Yarra Valley since 2004 and a committee member since 2005 apart from a short break several years ago. He was Vice-President for some six years and is still a committee member. He also served as TNYV nominee to the Yarra Ranges Tourism Board for a year.
John is proprietor of The Gatehouse at Villa Raedward, a 4 ½ star-rated self-contained bed and breakfast on the Melba Highway in Yering, behind the Yering Primary School. The Gatehouse was purpose built when the main residence was built in 2002-2003 and comprises two units designed to accommodate a couple in each. He and his wife, Sandra, saw the huge tourism potential of the Yarra Valley when they built and decided to include a B&B in their plans. In their early days of operation dining choices were very few for guests staying other than Friday and Saturday evenings but this is now no longer an issue. In the years since they opened they have also seen considerable growth in the number of wineries in the Valley and the development of other attractions such as Alowyn Gardens and the Chocolaterie. John also remembers the excitement when Yarra Valley Regional Tourism Association (as TNYV then was) installed Bookeasy in the Healesville Visitor Information Centre it then operated.
Today he sees the Valley continuing to grow and prosper and recognises the expanding influence of digital marketing on his business and the significant growth of the Melbourne get-away market as well as the major development of the Valley as a wedding venue of choice for more and more couples. The unification of marketing efforts under YRT is really starting to pay dividends after a somewhat uncertain initial focus on overseas markets to the exclusion of focus on local, intra – and interstate marketing. With 4 – 5 million potential visitors to the region living in Melbourne, YRT’s efforts to lure them our way is making for a very busy time for John in his business.
Tel: 0417 829 670
Deanne has been the owner/manager of Strathvea Guesthouse for the last nine years. It is one of the few remaining guesthouses in the valley. She and her husband Toby live on the twenty-acre property with their two boys aged nine and seven.
As well as being a tourist operator, Deanne is a teacher, an artist (painter) and spent many years performing in theatre. She and Toby lived in Europe for two years before coming to the valley in 2008. They see the guesthouse as not only a wonderful place to spend your weekend or get married, but as a place which can inspire people on a creative level.
Since joining the TNYV committee, Deanne has found the network to be an enormous benefit to her personal growth, particularly when it comes to keeping her finger on the pulse of the ever changing culture of tourism. It is an area which moves very quickly particularly in understanding the needs of people. If we are to provide a quality product that not only meets our visitors’ needs but can also guide them towards a wholesome lifestyle, then we as tourism operators will help maintain the enthusiasm that is present within the Yarra Valley.
Tel: 0409 009 094
Ralph and his wife Helen have owned and managed Yarra Gables Motel in Healesville for the last 3 years. Prior to moving to the Yarra Valley, Ralph, spent 20 years working for a variety of State and Federal tourism agencies. Ralph is in his second year on the TNYV committee and has been a skills-based director on the Board of Yarra Ranges Tourism for one year.
Ralph joined the TNYV committee because he thinks it’s important that the local tourism industry have a strong and effective industry organisation that can represent and advocate for what are mostly small businesses. He also thinks it’s important that all local tourism operators work together to offer quality visitor experiences to the many people who visit the region every year.
Tel: 0409 528 292
Ross has served on the TNYV committee in various roles for the past seven years. Ross and his wife Alison run The Barn at Charlottes Hill in Chum Creek, a self contained four bedroom property. Previously Ross was involved in Yering Gorge Cottages which is now run by The Eastern Golf Club.
Ross is passionate about local tourism and has a local business called Tourism and Business Australia.
I am married with two daughters and four grand children. I migrated to Australia from the UK in 1967.
I have run a B & B in Mount Evelyn for the last six years and have worked in the local Tourist Visitor Information Centre in Upper Ferntree Gully as a volunteer for two years.
I am currently a Committee Member on the Tourism Network Yarra Valley and was the Secretary for the past three years. I am also the President of the Dandenong Ranges Tourism Network and a Director on the Board of Yarra Ranges Tourism.
I am very passionate about Tourism in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges, believing it capable of becoming one of the top tourist regions in Australia and will work hard to ensure or region achieves its rightful place.
My husband and I run a bespoke tour business called Tour the Valley and our motto is “Yarra Valley tours designed by you, for you”. We offer an itinerary from wineries, cider and beer halls, gardens, art galleries and adventure tours plus of course gin, chocolate and cheese.
We have lived in the Yarra Valley for over forty years and in Healesville for the last eighteen years. I joined the TNYV committee as I wanted to be part of a tourism network team and meet other people in the industry.
I’m Reggie Clark, Director of Art at Linden Gate, Gallery & Accommodation just outside Yarra Glen. My husband Stuart and I manage the three cosy mud-brick cottages with long views over vineyards to the mountains that our guests love. The business has grown well over the last four years, thanks to online booking sites and Yarra Valley weddings.
Exhibitions in the gallery change every six weeks and often showcase local artists including emerging, youth and established artists, group or solo shows. I’m also Secretary of Yarra Valley Arts and Toolangi Sculpture Trail which are both busy positions.
We have appreciated the support and social opportunities that TNYV has provided during our early years of running the accommodation business so now it feels a good fit to be involved in TNYV and add the Arts point of view to the committee.