From the time that The Bribie Islander began the “Islander Extraordinaire” features over two years ago, the majority of those who have appeared in this very popular section have been either retired or not far from it. As a way of keeping everything on an even scale, the Islander Extraordinaire for August is a well-known business owner and extraordinarily community spirited Victoria Nicholson. Victoria moved from the New South Wales border towns of Albury Wodonga to Bribie with her mum and dad in 1991 and has been a member of our community from that time.
Featured Image(above): I only own work clothes and pajamas
She told me that she has been athletic from a very young age. ‘I became involved in equestrian sports when I was only six years old and that was mainly in show jumping and gymkhana. I was playing in A grade ladies netball at thirteen and I became a coach of senior ladies netball at a very young age,’ said Victoria. ‘I guess that I grew up in a competitive environment,’ she remarked.
After coming to our beautiful part of the world, Victoria worked for some time as a fitness instructor in local gymnasiums until what was a defining career change resulted in her taking a position with Ray White Real Estate as a sales agent. I guess that her determination to succeed became known to many during her time there and that was the catalyst for an approach from the Remax group who told her that they needed to have an agency on the island and would like her to start the ball rolling.
‘We commenced with a small office at Woorim six years ago and, as the business grew, we began operating from our Bellara premises,’ Victoria explained. ‘The Woorim office is still operating as well,’ she added. In many of the articles that I have written in previous issues, I have drawn attention to the situation regarding the generosity of people within our community and there is no doubt that our August Islander Extraordinaire can be included in that category.
Not only has Victoria been a sponsor of the ladies events at the Bribie Island Golf Club for the past two years, through her agency she has been a major sponsor of the Charity Golf Day which is held at the Woorim course in aid of the school Chaplaincy. When talking about her involvement as a sponsor of various causes and events, Victoria pointed out that she is especially passionate about being involved in helping with children’s education. ‘I believe in making sure that they all have an equal opportunity and I want to do what I can to prevent kids coming to school without shoes or with no food,’ she told me. ‘This is when cycles can change,’ she said.
As well as being obviously kept busy with her real estate agency, Victoria is also dedicated to her role as a wife and mother, has four adult children and two still at primary school. She described to me how her three eldest boys all have businesses on Bribie Island, two as carpenters and one as a roofer. Her daughter Demi works with her at Remax. The desire to be of help with children’s education has also been taken up by Victoria’s husband Stephen who, after working as a research scientist at the Bribie Island Aquaculture Centre, has made a career move to become a teacher in special education at the Bribie Island Primary School.
Since commencing that role, he has been instrumental in involving the children in the school gardening program and sourcing funding for the mulching machine “OSCA”. During the weeks leading up to Christmas last year and after thinking about how to make the season more enjoyable for those who are struggling, Victoria came up with a plan to give out Christmas hampers. ‘I promoted the idea on Facebook and also visited the Bribie Island and District Neighbourhood Centre to ask them to let people know about what I was doing. Orders were taken online,’’ said Victoria.
‘We got together over two hundred hampers and gave them out on the day at our office. There were people lined up for miles and we will definitely be budgeting for it again this year,’ she added. Whilst still on the subject of sponsorship, hampers, children at risk and other generous activities that she is involved in Victoria said that being able to do things such as this is her way of giving back to the community that has enabled her to be successful in her business.
A family moment with daughter Demi
‘There is a need out there and I honestly believe that businesses, in general, should do more to help. Although I can’t help everybody, I would encourage any group or person who does need assistance to contact me’ Victoria said. A very true observation points out that none of us knows exactly what’s in store for us and a life-changing event two years ago has reminded Victoria Nicholson of just how pertinent that saying is. ‘In the past, I suppose that I have always taken life for granted, as one does when they are young.
During 2016, I started to become unwell and this was unusual for me as I’m normally healthy,’ Victoria explained. ‘After a visit to the doctor and some tests, I was diagnosed as having a tumor on one of my kidneys and all I could think about was the fact that I have a business with quite a number of employees and a family at home and here I am stuck in a hospital. Fortunately, after them removing that kidney, I am doing okay now and I admit that I was so thankful for the support that I received from both my family and the team at the agency,’ she said.
Illnesses such as the one which Victoria experienced are always bound to alter certain parts of our lifestyle and for her, it meant not being able to pursue her passion for CrossFit exercise so now Victoria just makes the most of the outdoors, enjoys visiting family and the occasional chance to go cycling. She reflected that among those who know her, there is a rumour which she really can’t say isn’t accurate. ‘People say that I only have two sets of clothes, work clothes, and pajamas,’ Victoria said with a sigh.
The opportunity to interview this successful businesswoman and to learn about her commitment to the community that she loves has left me with no doubt that Victoria Nicholson is an extraordinary asset to Bribie Island.