From meat to please you …. to pleased to meet you!
Tour guiding is my second career and it is something I have wanted to do for many years. My grandfather was a natural storyteller and he instilled in me a deep curiosity about my environment and my heritage.
I was a butcher for 30 years (I started at 15) and this gave me excellent skills in communicating with people, training staff, customer service and business development. Throughout my life I have been involved in team watersports such as canoeing, dragon boating and outrigging. I have been fortunate enough to be able to coach teams in Western Australia and South Australia from young children to adults. This has given me the technical skills to assess people’s individual needs and assist them to achieve more than they think they can, this has been especially useful with the Segway tours as many people are apprehensive the first time they try it.
In 2010 I was lucky enough to go to the National Association of Interpreters (NAI) International Conference in Townsville. Whilst there I met some of the Australian and world leaders in interpretation and I attended a workshop with Sam Ham which lit a fire in my belly and helped me set my dream of becoming a professional tour guide. In 2011 I volunteered at the National Museums and Interpretation conference that was held in Perth and made contacts with Australia’s key interpreters, at last I felt like I had found my people and calling.
I met the Ryans from Two Feet and a Heartbeat later in 2011 and I joined their team as a guide. Although I was a little nervous at the start i have developed my story telling skills and I am now one of their most senior guides. I have a passion for history and the environment and when I am not guiding tours I am researching new and engaging stories and ways to improve my tours. I love my city and I get a huge buzz from revealing it to visitors and locals and helping to change their perceptions.
I have been working for Two Feet and a Heartbeat since 2012. I have delivered a range of walking tours in Perth and Fremantle that require in-depth knowledge of heritage and also contemporary development. The Perth and Fremantle Urban Adventures are two-hour historical tours that tell the story of settlement and development. The Eat Drink Walk Perth and Northbridge tours showcase the small bar scene that has been a key element in the revitalisation of Perth. The Fremantle Sailor’s Guide showcases the history of Fremantle’s West End and provides access to some of the most historic clubs in the Port City. I also provide hosting services for familiarisation tours for Tourism WA and conferences and I participate and guide in cultural events that promote the heritage of Western Australia.
I have worked for Segway tours WA since 2013 and I work in both the city at Barrack Square and on Rottnest Island. This role involves training people to use the Segway (a two-wheel upright electric scooter) and then taking them on either a sixty or ninety minute guided tour following the riverside cycle paths or off road tracks on Rottnest. The opening of Elizabeth Quay has provided a new focus of the tours and reduced some of the safety concerns associated with the need to use footpaths and cross major roads.
I train and mentor new guides for both companies and I enjoy nurturing new guides and sharing my knowledge. I am the Western Australian representative for Interpretation Australia and I have developed a Facebook page called Interp West that showcases innovations in interpretation. I believe I have the best jobs in the world and I am proud to be able to share my city and state with visitors and locals alike.
I have a strong commitment to growing my skills and expertise as a guide. Having been a butcher for 30 years it is daunting to have a complete change of direction and there are often concerns that you might not be as good as other guides. To ensure that I am confident in my ability and delivery I attend as many professional development opportunities as I can.
I regularly attend the State Trails Conference and FACET seminars, forums and conferences and other networking events with my peers, and this has exposed me to some of the world’s leaders in interpretation. I attended the 2014 FACET Interpretation Conference and hosted Tim Merriman and Lisa Brochu while they were in Western Australia. In addition to attending the formal workshops, I was able to learn from them one on one. I have also attended workshops with Sam Ham and John Pastorelli from whom I have learned an enormous amount about conducting tours, developing themes and engaging people. I have also built international connections through the National Association of Interpreters in the US and attended their 2016 conference in New Zealand.
Being a FACET Golden Guide finalist in 2015 and winning in 2016 has given me a great insight into who I am as a guide and the confidence that I have the skills and credibility as a guide and a professional in the tourism industry.