Julia Mammone, along with her husband and business partners, scoured the country looking for the perfect place to invest into a caravan park. From Queensland to South Australia, they investigated possibility after possibility, until they found Khancoban. Two years later, she said she knows she made the right choice.
“For raising kids, it’s perfect,” she said.
“It’s how I grew up! You just don’t get that in suburbia, kids are so sheltered. Here at the caravan park, it’s a different experience. They’re out there, running around, doing donuts with their bikes, playing on the play equipment. If there are other kids around, which more often than not there are, they just pick up so quickly. They’ve got a new best friend every day!
“Everyone knows everyone. If you see a kid, you know who’s kid that is. You can be removed, or you can be as involved as you want to be. You’re not in the hustle and the politics of big cities.”
There are things she misses about living in a bigger town, having moved from Albury to buy and upgrade the Lakeside Caravan Park. But she also thinks people in larger towns don’t know what they’re missing out on – and it’s about time they found out.
“The lake has magnificent views. People love to sit by the lake, it’s what brings people here,” she said.
“Day trips are so accessible to see the wilderness of the National Parks without having to stop and start, stop and start.
“There’s a lot here, but it’s a little bit hidden and it needs a facelift. The pool is getting an upgrade. A pool in a small town! Fantastic. There’s tennis courts, they’ve been resurfaced. There’s a golf club, you can go and play golf. What! Who knew there’s a golf club in Khancoban?
“It’s not advertised, and that needs to happen. People only see what they can see from the road, because the town is not marketed.”
That’s why she got involved in the Snowy Valleys Up Close initiative, a council campaign to promote the shire through the eyes of the people who live here. She’s featured in one of their videos – albeit reluctantly.
“Initially I said no to being the one to talk in front of a camera because I don’t like doing that, but then I am very passionate about tourism,” she said.
“There’s so much that needs to be brought to light, and no one else wanted to do it, so I thought ‘bugger! I guess it’ll be me.’”