All posts filed under: Profiles

Kaine and Jade Hunt a.k.a Secret Chef Catering

Still high from the success of their first appearance at Eat The Street in Lismore, Kaine and Jade Hunt were brimming with enthusiasm and ideas to enhance to their fledgling catering business when I caught up with them recently. The couple run Secret Chef Catering from their 5-acre property in Clunes, where they grow coffee, fruit trees, herbs, vegetables and chickens. They’re about to begin work on a commercial kitchen next to the house. “It will be great in summer when it’s really hot, you can put your knives down and jump into the pool!” says Kaine. The impetus for moving out of Sydney to the Northern Rivers in 2014 was to have a quieter pace of life, work from home and enjoy their growing family. They have two cute-as-button children, Axle, 3 and Ryder, 1. “When we found out we were having our first child we set things in place,” Kaine says. “Secretly Jade knew all the time that this is where we were going to live, before we even met!”  Kaine worked as sous …

Vlad Kolas | Artist

Prize-winning painter, Vlad Kolas, is moving about his studio, brush in hand, music blaring, when I appear at the door one hot afternoon. Startled, he turns and jumps off the ground and walks over, wiping his hands with a rag. Music is a crucial element to Vlad’s artistic practice, giving him energy and inspiration. Today, as with other days, Led Zeppelin and David Bowie are on high rotation. “You know how you dance when no-one’s looking? I’m doing that with the paintbrush. Then you stand back and assess what you did, and make some adjustments. It’s a balance between those critical decisions and the intuition,” he says. Vlad’s white-walled studio is a relatively new addition on his Clunes property, where he lives with his partner, Jessica, and their four boys aged from 3 to 15. There’s not a clean surface in sight, with couches and office chairs spattered with paint, and entire tables serving as mixing palettes, covered in oils blended together in endless colour combinations. Growing up in Bondi Beach, Vlad loved surfing and …

Kevin Hogan | Politician

Kevin Hogan is a busy man. I meet him over morning coffee on his way to a radio interview, before he heads into work during a week when he’s not in Canberra. The Federal Member for Page has a lot of ground to cover, representing an electorate that goes from the QLD border to just north of the Big Banana at Coffs Harbour. For 20 weeks each year, Kevin is in Canberra attending parliament, and for the rest of the time he’s in the electorate. “This is seriously a 7 day a week job” Kevin says. On weekends there’s always an event to attend or a cause to support, but it’s also the time when a lot of people manage to speak with him. “They’re busy during their work week as well, so they can’t ring me up or come to see me, so it’s at those weekend community events that people do get access to you,” Kevin says. Kevin grew up in the regional town of Port Augusta, South Australia, before studying Economics at …

Gary and Pam Lovell | Leaving as locals

When Gary and Pam Lovell first came to Clunes in 1978, Bangalow Road was still a stock route for farmers taking their cattle to the dipping yards. “Old Billy Noble used to drove 100 head of cattle down there with his dogs, and no-one blinked an eye,” Gary says. The couple married in 1980, when Pam was just 18. “She was a child bride,” laughs Gary. “He was nine years older than me. Still is,” Pam teases. “Funny that!” replies Gary. “I was a… what do you call ‘em? Cradle snatcher? But we’re still here.” They both chuckle.  Gary knew the area from visiting on surfing trips with a mate from Sydney. “One thing led to another and Pam said she was going to do teachers college and I said, ‘well there’s a good one up the Northern Rivers.’ After finishing her studies Pam taught in Kempsey for a few years before returning to Clunes and retraining as an Indonesian teacher. She has just finished at Eltham Public School after 27 years there, and still …

The Buckleys | Musicians

Musical talent runs deep in the Buckley family. Mick, Sharon and their four youngest children have recently returned from the USA, where their family band, The Buckleys, played shows in Nashville, wrote songs with Grammy-nominated country music songwriters, and met with record labels. They played at the famous Bluebird Café, on the same stage where Bob Dylan and Taylor Swift have trodden. “For them to get invited to play there, that was cool, man,” says Mick. Sisters Sarah and Molly are out in front on guitar, mandolin, ganjo and vocals, while brother, Lachlan, plays bass and dad, Mick, keeps time on the kit. “We’ve been around instruments our whole life,” says Molly. “We’ve always been writing songs,” ads Sarah. The US trip was a dream come true for the girls, who love country music. “When I was 12 years old, I was going to get to Nashville by the time I was 16,” says Sarah. “So everything in the last 4 years has been leading up to that.” Lachlan prefers ‘70s and ‘80s rock and …

Thomas Rehbach | Educator, Carer, Hitchhiker

Thomas Rehbach has been a preschool educator, an administrator, a respite carer, a teacher, a courier, a soccer coach and referee. He’s lived in the area long enough to see kids he’s taught now becoming parents and teachers themselves. Tom was born in Australia to German parents and grew up in Rosehill. At age 9, Tom and his brother went to live at Dunmore House, a boys’ home in Pendle Hill. “We got into enough trouble that we had a choice to go to one of two boys homes,” Tom says. It’s a time he remembers favourably, being part of a large family unit with children of all ages. “I think that was the best thing that ever happened to us. I don’t hold any animosity towards my mum for making that choice.” After hitchhiking from Sydney to Cairns a few times in the early 1980s, Tom came back to the Northern Rivers and never left. He met his partner, Gail, through Clunes Preschool when they both had sons who were attending. The couple live …

Jim Richardson | Teacher, Librarian, Environmentalist, Volunteer

The son of a dairy farmer from McKees Hill, Jim Richardson started his education at a one-teacher school at Clovass. Since those early years, he has been fortunate enough to take advantage of the educational opportunities that came his way. They eventually led him out of rural New South Wales, to the city, and the wide world. Fast forward to the 1970s, and Jim was a scholarship student at university in Armidale. Originally aiming to become a marine biologist, Jim realised he wanted to be involved with education, so decided to become a science teacher instead. During university, Jim had been to the Nimbin Aquarius Festival in 1973, and it made an impression on him that would shape both his professional career and his environmental outlook. “I was right into this concept of needing to educate yourself and to free up education, do whatever courses you can as long as they don’t cost too much money”, says Jim. Contracted to take up a teaching post after graduating, Jim ended up in Bathurst, where he taught …

Nikky Morgan-Smith | Artist

Nikky Morgan-Smith lives in Eureka in a house tucked away on the side of an overgrown gully. It’s the house she grew up in, where her parents still lived, until Nikky and her then six-month old daughter, Morgan, moved back from Melbourne about 9 years ago. “We moved in and when it was apparent that we weren’t going to move back out, they moved out”, Nikky says, smiling.  Her parents now live in another house on the family’s 50-acre property, while Nikky and Morgan share the old house with their menagerie of dogs, cats and birds. Both Nikky’s parents are artists, and as a kid being dragged around to gallery openings, she wasn’t keen to follow in their footsteps. By the end of school, though, Nikky enjoyed art enough to enrol in a Visual Arts degree at age 18. “In a way I didn’t really have a choice because it was the one thing that I knew how to do the best.” Nikky transferred her studies to Melbourne and became involved in art therapy, volunteering …

Lauren Campbell | Potter

In a weathered, open-sided shed behind an old house in the middle of Clunes, Lauren Campbell is in her favourite place. A mud-strewn pottery wheel sits at one end, at the other are shelves laden with vessels in various states of undress. Finished mugs, bowls and platters glisten in the afternoon light, brightly coloured glazes dripping sea blues, lilacs and speckled creams over their earthy bodies. “Getting my hands dirty, sitting on the wheel, it’s just a place of calm,” says Lauren. Lauren discovered pottery about 5 years ago after being captivated by some beautiful ceramics while on a work experience placement with furniture designer, Mark Tuckey, in Sydney. “He had a big shop and had this ceramicist’s products in there and I fell in love with them”, she says.  Now in her second year of TAFE, studying the Advanced Diploma in Visual Arts, majoring in Ceramics, Lauren divides her time between classes, throwing clay on her wheel, teaching pottery workshops and taking care of the hidden necessities of being a self-employed businesswoman, under the …

Kylie Bridges | Artist and Collaborator

“We were all set up in Sydney,” says Kylie Bridges, shaking her head in slight disbelief at what she’s about to say. “I really didn’t think he’d walk away from it all, but he did and we’re here and we love it”, she says, referring to her husband, Mark, a self-employed bathroom renovator and musician, and their decision to move to Clunes 13 years ago. “I still actually go ‘wow, we really did it’, because we were in a really nice situation, in a little house, great friends, great street”, Kylie explains. A chance encounter between their son Josh, a toddler at the time, and a stranger’s playful dog on a Byron Bay beach changed their lives. The dog’s owner told them how he’d lived all over the world but had now settled in Clunes. “‘It was God’s country’, he said, and he told us to ‘do yourselves a favour and just go out into the hinterland while you’re up here’”, Kylie recounts. She never did learn his name. Now primarily a self-employed graphic designer, …