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Tuesday, October 24, 2017, 1:21 PM

Spotlight on Cr Rebecca Bowles


Ward: Cheviot Ward
Portfolio: Natural Environment and Climate Change

Tell us about what you do as a Councillor and in your private life?
When I am not working as a Councillor, I run my landscape design, consultation and revegetation business. I also work extensively with local landcare groups in weed control. I have a Diploma in Horticulture and a Diploma in Conservation and Land Management and have been in the industry for at least (OMG) thirty years, so I believe that I am good fit for the Environment Portfolio with Council.

What do you enjoy most about your role as Councillor?
It is a bit early to say what I enjoy most about being a Councillor as I have only been in the role since late 2016. So far I have enjoyed the camaraderie of my fellow councillors and I’m beginning to understand the how, what and when of the role of local government.

What surprised you most about your role as Councillor?
Nothing as yet has surprised me apart from how often I had to get my photo taken in the first few weeks on the job.

What do you love most about where you live?
As an extremely visual person I never get tired of the landscapes that I travel through every day in the area that we live in, from the sneak peeks at the Goulburn River, the green lush of winter to the wind blowing the golden grasses on our ranges in summer.

I adore living and working in this area; it feels like home, and I have lived and worked in many areas along the coast of Australia all the way to far north Queensland. It is the hinterland of Victoria’s North East that makes me feel that I have landed on my feet and I can’t be more grateful or content.

And the people are priceless – I love the homespun communities that look out for each other and the history of the place that I never tire of hearing.

What do you hope will be your legacy when your role as Councillor finishes?
I don’t actually think about legacy, as the word doesn’t mean much to me.

I am extremely humbled by winning the election and hopefully as my understanding of local government grows, I and my fellow councillors will be able to do the job that we were elected to do.

I hope I can meet the high expectations the community seems to have of me. I do hope that others will be inspired by my decision to run for Councillor to run themselves – this is the only way democracy works. Long live democracy!

What books are you reading?
Apart from reading an Independent Broad-based Anti Corruption Report, the 1989 Local Government Act and the various other articles that come my way via Council, I am a big fan of Lee Childs’ ‘Jack Reacher’ novels.

Everyone needs a hero and Tom Cruise didn’t do too badly portraying him in the film. My all time favourite novels are Cloudstreet by Tim Winton and The Incredible Lightness of Being by someone whose name I can never remember.

I collect Tim Winton books, Peter Carey’s (mainly because I lived in the hippy commune where Peter lived when he wrote Bliss. I know all the characters in the book, so have been reading him ever since), I also collect Paul Coehlo and adore Geoffrey Blainey’s History of Australia.

My bookshelves are overflowing so my husband Ian has to keep making me new ones.

How do you like to spend weekends? My weekends are usually spent at work, as a lot of landholders here are absentee, so the weekends are the best time to meet them.

Every third weekend I am in the op shop. However if I am not working, I buy The Age, The Australian, The Guardian and/or The Saturday Paper and indulge in catching up with the news over copious amounts of teapot-brewed tea.

Other than that I love gardening in my own patch. I also love spending time at the fishing club which is a priceless piece of real estate that I like to pretend I own – haha!

What is your idea of a holiday?
I don’t tend to take holidays, as they are a bit tricky for self-employed people, but I do take two weeks off during the Christmas break, in which I do no gardening at all.

Instead I spend the whole time at home hibernating and rejuvenating, where I clean the windows and the kitchen walls, go through our stuff and if we haven’t used it in a year, I give it to the op shop.

I read copious amounts till the early hours of the morning and then sleep till mid morning and catch up on DVDs etc.

In amongst all that self indulgence my son comes home, and he reminds me how much I enjoy his arcane sense of humour. It usually takes me a couple of days to get his humour all over again.

Who inspires you?
I would have to say and I hope it is not a cliché, but my folks are my inspiration. I’ve read books by Nelson and Winnie Mandela, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Marie Curie, Malcolm X, Barack Obama – all extraordinary people in our lives that made a difference.

But we don’t watch them up close as they live and strive and die. My husband, son and I spent five years as my dad’s carers when my dad was diagnosed with an incurable brain disorder known as Progressive Supernuclear Palsy (I’m an expert now).

My dad was one of those characters who pushed life’s crap under the carpet and just kept going forward. This used to frustrate the hell out of me when he was sick, although half of me admired him for believing there would be a cure in his lifetime.

Dad died on 10 January 2016 and mum had a stroke two weeks before Christmas 2015. Mum still can’t use her left side, but I watched her for a year strive to get back to the independent woman that she was and she is now living independently again.

She fought herself and the medical system (lucky she was a nurse for fifty years so she was way in front of them). Lots of aunts and uncles came to our rescue by going on a roster when she came home.

They were a godsend and I could never thank them enough. Mum truly is quite remarkable but I only tell her every so often otherwise she wouldn’t believe me.

Text & Images ©COPYRIGHT 2017 Kinglake Ranges News.
With Murrindindi Shire Council.

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