NEWLY elected Mildura Rural City councillor Jill Joslyn, her husband Mike and their two young children Sally and Mat arrived in Mildura a week before Easter in 1979.
It was a “baptism of fire” and they were thrown in the deep end with their mission to manage Apex Park Caravan Park at the height of the busy season.
“The park was in a very run down condition, it needed a really good ‘scrub up’ and a lot of TLC,” Jill said.
“As soon as we were appointed managers, Mike resigned from the Victoria Police Force, we sold the house in Melbourne, bought a ute and a ride-on mower, loaded the kids, two Siamese cats and drove to Mildura.
“It was a long and cramped trip.
“We spent eight years at Apex, experienced one flood and one very high river – not good for business, but very character building.
“You find qualities within yourself that set you up to deal with situations and life in the future.
“At the time, it was a most confronting and upsetting situation.
“The water level was just below floor level in the house – upstairs – and the shop below was a very effective yabby trap.
“We were very fortunate to have our friends Shiela and Robert Lock at the Palms Caravan Park take us in for the nine-week duration, and then it took another eight weeks to restore the park for the Christmas re-opening.”
Sally and Mat were educated at Mildura West Primary School and St Joseph’s College.
Mat still lives in Mildura and has one child, Matilda, while Sally and her partner live on a property at Tol Tol, just outside Robinvale. They have four children, Charlee, Stephanie, Karri and Jake.
“After our time at Apex we developed a gourmet delicatessen in Langtree Avenue in the Bendigo Bank building,” Jill said.
“It was really hard work, but I so enjoyed it and after five years I felt I needed a weekday job with weekends off.
“I then went to work for Sunraysia Ethnic Communities Council, as it was known then, and my role was to provide access to aged care services for older ethnic people in our community.
“It was very rewarding work, and I learnt a lot about the services that were available and the gaps in service that we endeavoured to fill.
“This role led to my appointment as a community development officer in the aged care department at Mildura Rural City Council (MRCC).
“In 1997 I took on a 12-month project with the aged care assessment team at Mildura Base Hospital, breaking down barriers to aged care assessment for older ethnic people.
“In 1998 I was appointed co-ordinator of School Focused Youth Service (SFYS) with Mildura Rural City Council, a position I held for 15 years.
“I worked with schools both state and private across the municipality, including Robinvale.
“The position was funded by the Victorian Government as a result of the Kirby report into youth suicide.
“The main objective of this role was to increase the resilience and problem solving skills of all young people 10 to 18 years of age.
“My years in SFYS highlighted the fact that all young people may be vulnerable at some time during their adolescence.”
For more of this story, purchase your copy of Tuesday’s Sunraysia Daily 06/11/2012.
DETERMINED: New Mildura Rural City councillor Jill Joslyn.Picture: Clancy Shipsides
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