Committee

Executive:

President Keith Darke

Secretary Caroline Brown    Vice President Deanne Eccles

Treasurer  Roger Williamson

Click on Committee Members’ name to read more.


Committee

Joyce Emslie         George Van Graas   

Prue Van de Linde        Sarah Rees    

Mary Wiking          Joan Lloyd     Ed McGettigan

Click on Committee Members name to read more.


Keith Darke

President  Keith Darke
E: info@graceburngardens.com.au
Tel: 03 5962 1669  or  0418 378 751

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 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.

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Vice President  Deanne Eccles

E: strathvea@gmail.com
Tel: 0417 829 670

Deanne has been the owner/manager of Strathvea Guesthouse for the last ten years. It is one of the last remaining guesthouses in the valley. She and her husband Toby live on the twenty-acre property with their two boys aged ten and eight.

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.

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Secretary  Caroline Brown

Mobile: 0437 773 223

Caroline grew up in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne and after finishing her schooling she moved to Bairnsdale to study an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Resource Management. Nature and open spaces were always a drawcard, but a relationship brought her back to the city where she then spent the next 15 years bringing up 4 children and working in various administration roles. The pull to the country was finally realised in 2010 when the family moved to Healesville after Caroline accepted a position working in hospitality administration. With nature on the doorstep, so many attractions to keep both adults and kids entertained, yet still so close to suburbia & family, meant Healesville was the perfect place to settle.

In early 2017, Caroline and her husband Anthony took the plunge and purchased their first accommodation property “Healesville House” in the heart of the Yarra Valley. They increased their portfolio late last year, adding a second property and expanding the business by offering private tours and transfers around the Yarra Valley to their guests. Joining the TNYV has not only increased their network and started new friendships but has opened up a world of opportunities and greater knowledge of the region and the tourism industry. Caroline is looking forward to working with the TNYV team, putting to use her organisational and administration skills as Secretary.


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Treasurer  Roger Williamson

E: roger@yarravalleytrading.com.au

Mobile: 0402 259 236

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 seven years and joined Tourism Network Yarra Valley in 2017 taking on the role of treasurer. Roger owns the local accommodation supply business Yarra Valley Trading in Coldstream.

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Committee :


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Joyce  Emslie
E: jkemslie@gmail.com

Mobile:0434 308 540

Joyce and her husband lived and worked in Canberra and often came to Victoria to visit their son and family who live in Gippsland. Their daughter and family settled in Healesville over eight years ago, so when they retired in 2014 they made the move.
They both love the area and are always happy to show it off to overseas family and friends. Joyce’s aim is to work with TNYV to help promote our local businesses, beautiful picnic areas, walking tracks and many other attractions our valley has to offer.

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George Van Graas

E: drivenindulgence.com.au

Mobile: 0409 325 687

George’s involvement with the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges dates back over 50 years, as a long term resident, primary producer and horticulturist. His family emigrated from Holland and settled in Monbulk in the early 1950s. They cleared bushland, built a home with the on-site timber and successfully established a thriving bulb and cut flower farm with products to the Australian nursery and florist industry.

As the business (and family) expanded over the years, a second farm was established on the northern side of the Yarra Valley in Toolangi to produce not only flower bulbs, but also the boutique vegetable known as Witlof or Belgian Endive. This was grown, packaged and supplied to the vegetable industry nationwide and also for export.

Changeable consumer and home gardening requirements saw the family collectively exit farming and follow individual pursuits. Being agriculturally inclined with a passion to be active in this beautiful region with its many tastes and experiences, providence guided George into the Yarra Valley tourism industry.
He now operates Driven Indulgence as a private, small group, bespoke tour driver and guide.

He feels suitably placed with his wealth of area knowledge and rural industry skills to assist the TNYV committee with its regional networking aims.

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Photography by Rick Liston

Prue Van de Linde

E: admin@alowyngardens.com.au
Mobile: 0407 266 916

Prue and John Van de Linde were living in Box Hill in 1995 when they began their search for a country property to develop as a tourism venture. Prue was an Occupational Health and Safety Consultant and John a Landscaper contractor of 35 years’ experience.

After two years of searching all over Victoria for a property, they discovered the Yarra Valley.  A run down horse stud, “the worst house in the best street” property beckoned  to them and so the project began. With only five trees on 53 acres, they was plenty of scope to develop and build something interesting and unique. In 2008 they won the Gardening Australia, National Garden of the Year, which was a great thrill. In 2013. Alowyn also won the Tourism Ministers’ Encouragement Award for an up and coming tourism venture.

New to the tourism industry, and to the Yarra Valley,  Prue and John joined the TNYV to meet other tourism operators from all parts of the industry, learn from their experience and start the steep learning curve. Many members provided great advice and ideas on how to develop Alowyn Gardens as a destination for tourists and to move forward in its development.

The gardens opened to the public at weekends and public holidays for a few years initially, then, wanting to make a lifestyle out of it, the gardens were then opened every day from 10.00am to 5.00pm. As a TNYV committee member, Prue is keen to  assist others  in the continuing development of this wonderful tourism area.

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Sarah Rees
E: sarah@myenvironment.org.au
Tel: 0438 368 870

Sarah Rees has lived in Murrindindi and the Yarra Ranges for the last 20 years and her family  have owned farms in the district since 1975. She has a background in media, marketing, design and e-learning with a focus on environment, business and community. Sarah is a prominent strategist, negotiator, educator, fundraiser and advocate for the environment and has received several awards for these roles.

Sarah has owned several businesses in the region and currently runs her own communications consultancy with a range of clients from all over Australia. Sarah mentors students, is the mother of two, avid nature adventurer and photographer.

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Mary Wiking

E: mary@yarrarangescountryapartment.com.au

Mobile: 0419 582 410

Mary is married with two daughters and four grandchildren. She migrated to Australia from the UK in 1967.

She runs a B&B in Mount Evelyn for the last seven years and worked in the local Tourist Visitor Information Centre in Upper Ferntree Gully as a volunteer for two years.

Mary was TNYV secretary for three years and also the  President of Dandenong Ranges Tourism Network and a Director on the Board of Yarra Ranges Tourism.

She is 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.

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Joan Lloyd

Joan and her husband run a bespoke tour business called Tour the Valley and their motto is “Yarra Valley tours designed by you, for you”.  They offer an itinerary from wineries, cider and beer halls, gardens, art galleries and adventure tours plus of course gin, chocolate and cheese.

Joan and John have lived in the Yarra Valley for over forty years and in Healesville for the last eighteen years. Joan joined the TNYV committee in 2017 as she wanted to be part of a tourism network team and meet other people in the industry.

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Ed McGettigan

My wife, June, and I were both born in the UK, but emigrated to Australia in 1987. We arrived in Healesville in April 2014, after 7 years in Western Australia and 19 years in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. June worked as a Midwife for 30+ years but has now retired. I was employed as a Chemical Engineer for 30+ years, but now only practice as a consultant on a casual (and occasional!) basis. We have 3 children, all in their 20s – two of whom live in inner Melbourne, the other lives near Ballarat.

Our business is Ingleby Cottage, which we operate as boutique self-contained accommodation. This is our first venture in the Hospitality industry and we have now been operating for 3 years. The cottage is an early 1900s two bedroom Victorian weatherboard cottage located close to Healesville Hospital. We operate the cottage on a single let basis i.e. the guest(s) book the whole cottage but have the option of using only one of the bedrooms at a reduced tariff. June carries the workload of material procurement and laundry services, while I manage bookings and property maintenance. We share the cleaning workload between us.

We are very happy with the way the business has been going, but still value the opportunities that TNYV provides for networking with our colleagues in the local industry: as relative “newbies” to the industry we are still on the learning curve. We have benefited from our membership of TNYV for the last 3 years and I would like the opportunity to contribute to the management and ongoing development of the organisation.

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