Some of Hughenden's residents are professionals who have come to town to work for corporate companies, such as the banks and stock and station agencies, or to work for government agencies such as teachers and nurses. Often they transfer to Hughenden to fast track their careers. Many stay for longer than their intended 3 to 5 years; some transfer away, only to return within a few months; and others stay for the long term, settling to raise families, start businesses and enjoy the country lifestyle.
Vivian Finlay is one such example of the professionals who live in Hughenden. Twenty-four year old Vivian has been an Agribusiness Analyst for nab in Hughenden for two years, working alongside the local branch's Agribusiness Manager.
Vivian transferred to Hughenden from Toowoomba where she had started with nab's graduate program after graduating from the University of Queensland's Gatton College. The new position in Hughenden is a step-up career wise. "Professionally it has been a big step, with a big learning curve. It's a great opportunity and it's good to work in a small branch where you are exposed to a wide diversity of situations. I enjoy my job and have the added advantage of a great boss and it's also a good region to work in, with great support from the other Agribusiness Analysts," said Vivian.
The diversity of Vivian's job sees her doing everything from opening new accounts for clients to assisting the manager to establish finance arrangements for large grazing properties. "I really enjoy working with beef cattle producers and enjoy learning about their businesses. It's great to have clients that I can relate to since I have a rural background. It hasn't taken long to feel part of the community. Even work clients invite you to social events and get you involved", said Vivian.
Vivian not only takes advantage of the many events held in and around the Flinders Shire, she also travels to neighbouring communities, making her social calendar very full. Last year's social highlights were the Hughenden Show, Hughenden Kindergarten Games Night Fundraiser and the Matron's ball in town. And out of town, the Saxby Round Up, Muttaburra Sheep Show, Richmond Field Day and Races and the Cameron Downs Melbourne Cup day. "I'm originally from a rural background so moving to Hughenden wasn't too foreign to me. I already knew the benefits of a country lifestyle. One of the best things about living in Hughenden is the social life," she said.
This year Vivian has got even more involved with the community, becoming one of the organizing committee for Hughenden's new event, "The Basalt Bash" – a ball run as part of the Hughenden Show. Vivian said "It's a good feeling to be involved in this event; like you're really contributing to the community".
Vivian Finlay, NAB Agribusiness Analyst, 16 Brodie Street, Hughenden, phone 07 4741 9067
Hughenden residents Sally and Steve Reddie operate one of the many privately owned Retravision stores throughout Australia. The Reddie's purchased the Retravision franchise in December 2007 and relocated the business to its current premises on the corner of Brodie and Gray Street. "The new premises has allowed us to display more stock," said Sally.
The Retravision store which employs one full time and one part time staff member stocks a large range of domestic electrical appliances. These include audio visual, cameras, computers, communications equipment, cooling and heating, health and beauty, kitchen and small appliances, laundry and floor care, garden care equipment and televisions.
"Most of our goods are freight free so our prices can be competitive with city stores," said Sally. This helps the business to fulfil its advertised promise of "more than just the best price". "If we don't have them in stock we are happy to order in appliances for customers."
The business not only supplies appliances throughout the Flinders Shire but also out west as far as Richmond and Julia Creek utilising the services of a local daily freight carrier.
According to Sally, the choice to purchase the business was largely based on having the flexibility to earn an income while raising their young daughter Allison. "Hughenden has a quieter lifestyle and is a safer community compared to the city and these things make it a great place to bring up children," said Sally.
Steve and Sally Reddie, Hughenden Retravision, 58 Brodie Street, Hughenden, phone 07 4741 1625
Graham and Rosie Sealy have only owned Hughenden Agencies for 12 months but they have already made a positive contribution to this already successful local business which the previous owners had for 22 years.
"The Agencies" not only supplies Hughenden's newsagency needs (such as newspapers, magazines, stationary, ink, office supplies, gifts, cards, parties supplies, key cutting and books) it also provides a wider range of services. The business also includes an independent toy and sports store and travel and freight agency for Greyhound Coaches and REX (Regional Express) Airlines.
"In our first 12 months of business we think we have experienced some growth, at least based on the previous figures. We are excited to have made some big changes already with a new computer system for inventory control and point of sale and a refit of the entire shop. Both of these things will make the business and the work-space function better", said Graham.
Both Graham and Rosie enjoy running their business and said that knowing 90% of the people in a small town makes business easier, allowing for personal service. "I know exactly what papers people buy and can almost meet them at the door with it", said Graham. "The business has turned out to be what we expected and we both enjoy it", said Rosie. "I had forgotten how much I actually do enjoy customer service."
Together with their teenage daughter Maddie and young son Douglas who help out on holidays and after school, the Sealy's operate the business with three part time staff. "We are so lucky. We have great staff; they are efficient and friendly", says Rosie.
"We class Hughenden as our home town and we choose to live and run a business here mostly for the kids. The country is a great place to raise kids and Hughenden is a safe community for them to grow up in. The kids look out for each other and other parents watch out for your kids", said Graham. The Sealy family previously managed a cattle station for Rosie's parents and say they also enjoy the social life that living in Hughenden allows.
Graham and Rosie Sealy, Hughenden Agencies and Sports Depot, 49 Brodie Street, Hughenden, phone 07 4741 1230.
Steve and Jaki Spencer and their children Ryan (10) and Jessica (8) live and work at Gilgunyah Station, 100kms from Hughenden and right on the Flinders Shire boundary. Assisted by the whole family, Steve manages the 60,000 acres property for the Slack family who are based in southern Queensland.
The job includes all aspects of property management from maintenance to cattle work. The day-to-day tasks include fixing fences and yard building, running bores, planning and executing three rounds of mustering per year, putting out lick and organizing feed supplies, weaning and tailing out weaners, moving cattle and checking waters and fences. Steve says, "I enjoy this type of work. It's a lifestyle choice and it is work you can be proud of. We've made a lot of improvements around the property since we've been here."
What was originally a 12 month stay has turned into 14 years for Steve and Jaki. "We moved here from Gayndah after doing some contract work on the property for the owner and manager at the time. The then manager moved on and we were offered the job. We were a very young couple at the time" says Steve.
"It was abit of a shock at first… the distance, the heat and the isolation, but we're still here. Once we got settled and used to it, we now enjoy it. It takes a while to get used to simple things like stocking up on food and the planning involved with infrequent trips to town. Living here has meant all of my skills are better. I'm a stronger, more capable person. It builds your confidence." Jaki says.
"Even though the property is remote we don't miss out on anything. The kids do school of Distance Education which caters really well. They go to pony club, play football, go to birthday parties and stay over with friends. And Hughenden caters well for most of our shopping needs (as long as you are organized)" says Jaki.
Jaki advises, "It was important to get involved at the start so we could meet some people. The Flinders Poppy craft group was the first group I joined and by joining, I met my neighbor who lives 24kms from us but 100km from town."
Steve and Jaki especially enjoy the close family connection that comes from living and working on a property. "We do so much together as a couple and as a family. Family time here at Gilgunyah is good. The work is flexible too. We can always go to school sports or local event s and make up for this by working weekends, especially when it's full-on at mustering time" say Steve.
Steve and Jaki Spencer, Gilgunyah Station, HUGHENDEN, phone 07 4741 7169
Wesley and Lyndsey Schultz, both 25 years old, love their Hughenden lifestyle. For them, spare time is spent riding motor bikes and horses, fishing, skiing, pig chasing, catching up with friends and getting involved in the community. But for Wesley and Lyndsey, Hughenden not only provides them with a fantastic lifestyle, it has also provided a wonderful business opportunity.
The couple has operated Hughenden Tyre Centre for just over 12 months, with the business going from strength to strength. Together with their valued employee Jeffery Cairns, Wesley and Lyndsey have grown the business to include tyres, hydraulics and batteries, and sales, services and repairs both on and off site. Servicing a large portion of North West Queensland, the business travels from Julia Creek to Croydon and south as far as Corfield and Muttaburra, handling everything from small vehicles to earthmoving and agricultural machinery.
The business stocks a wide range of tyres including Dunlop, Bridgestone, Maxxis, Michelin and BF Goodrich to name a few. They are a Dunlop Super Dealer, a Repco and Century Batteries dealership and a Fleet contractor. More recently the business has become ‘hose doctors' with Enzed Hydraulic Solutions, which includes a fully equipped Enzed service truck, as part of the business.
After a hectic 12 months starting up their business the couple still have expansion plans to put in place. "We'd like more space, for storage and expansion. And at some stage we'd also like to add a wheel alignment service to the business", say Wesley.
Wesley says he enjoys the business because "it's good to be your own boss. You tend to be more motivated. You can take everything into your own hands and do things the way you want to." He also gets satisfaction from providing a local service and networking with other business owners and reps. "We've met a lot of new people through the business", says Wesley.
Both Lyndsey and Wesley enjoy living and working in Hughenden for the inexpensive lifestyle and the close and friendly community. "It's still close enough to the city, but you can buy almost anything you want from here anyway. And there's always something to do" says Lyndsey.
The couple believes that taking on their business was all about timing and seeing the opportunity, but they also believe there are still plenty of opportunities out there for people in Hughenden.
Wesley and Lyndsey Schultz, Hughenden Tyre Centre, 5 Richmond Hill Drive, Hughenden, phone 07 4741 1803
A childhood past time and some teenage intentions have turned into one of Hughenden most successful businesses for Robert and Bronwyn Wearing. Hughenden Motorcycles' owner Robert Wearing rode his first motorbike as a young boy – a 1960s Honda scooter that his dad got going for him to ride before the time when many young boys had pee wee 50s. As a teenager Robert planned a motorcycle shop in Hughenden, but had to put in the "hard yards" gaining the required skills in Townsville and Charters Towers before returning to Hughenden to start his business.
Ten years later, and Hughenden Motorcycles is still achieving consistent growth. But this business is no fluke. Robert's hard work and careful planning have ensured that his identification and assessment of the opportunity has lead to success.
Robert and Bronwyn's Hughenden Motorcycles includes sales, repairs, services and accessories for both motorcycles and power equipment (which includes lawn mowers, generators, chainsaws and wiper snipers). The business not only has an extensive workshop but also an attractive retail showroom which houses products from the Kawasaki, Honda, Stihl and Cox dealerships.
"Getting the Kawasaki dealership has been a big step for our business. To be approached by a Japanese company and asked to be a dealership is a great thing. This gives us further confidence with our expansion plans for both the workshop and showroom which will give us more space," said Robert.
The business employs six staff including three mechanics, one of which has just finished his apprenticeship and another who is a second-year apprentice. Customers are from as far west as the Northern Territory, and north into the Basalt, and as far up as the Gulf.
"We choose to locate our business in Hughenden because we felt that the position is good in terms of its central location – to service the region and for freight. In addition to that, the real estate was affordable. For our business, population density isn't a factor and we knew that the grazing businesses in the region relied on the machines we sell, repair and service to operate their businesses."
"Hughenden is not only a good location for our business, but it's also a great place to live. It's a safe community with low crime rates. And I appreciate the freedom – there's not much traffic and no traffic lights. It's a good lifestyle," said Robert.
Robert and Bronwyn Wearing, Hughenden Motorcycles, 5 Richmond Hill Drive, Hughenden, phone 07 4741 0100