Moving On…

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After a decade of managing the iconic Sylvan Beach Resort in Bellara, Hilary Mockridge has sold the management rights, left her beautiful apartment and commenced the next chapter in her life.

Hilary and her husband Ian came over from New Zealand in November 2010, ready to start running the Resort for the busy Christmas holiday season. Unfortunately, the Queensland floods stalled the takeover somewhat. They returned to New Zealand and spent Christmas with their only child, Claire. In the New Year, they returned to Bribie Island, settled into their apartment in the Resort complex and started running the business on 19 January 2011.

The Resort is located just over the Bridge on Sylvan Esplanade and overlooks the picturesque Pumicestone Passage. There are two and three-bedroom, fully equipped and serviced, apartments that provide the ideal accommodation for family holidays, reunions, get-togethers and special occasions. On Sandstone Point Hotel concert weekends, the Resort was always booked out. Hilary and Ian also provided longer-term corporate accommodation rates. In the beginning, the Resort was a thriving business. As onsite managers, Ian and Hilary were on call 24/7, so life was particularly busy. They joined the Chamber of Commerce where they met Hans and Petra Krumbholz from Hans Electrical Service. The two couples became very good friends. Hilary said the Chamber provided a network with other businesses and a platform to promote and advertise themselves. They were the only accommodation provider on the Island and surrounding area who joined the local Chamber.

In 2013, Hilary joined the Rotary Club of Bribie Island and remained a member until 2017. This is where I first met her and we have been friends ever since. Hilary enjoyed her time in Rotary but regrets she wasn’t able to give more time to community service because she was so busy running the business.

Sadly, Ian died in May 2018, just months before the birth of his first grandchild Oscar. Hilary continued to manage the business whilst grieving the loss of her husband and business partner. After three years of managing by herself, she decided it was time to move onto the next chapter of her life. Hilary sold her ownership rights and moved out of her apartment at the end of April 2021.

When I asked her to tell me about the highlights of running the business, Hilary said it was seeing the returning guests. She has seen teenage children grow into adults and the younger ones grow into ‘little personalities’. She loved seeing the Resort full of families and never tired of the noise and activities of the guests enjoying themselves in the pool. The positive feedback from guests who had enjoyed their stay(s) and said they would return was particularly heart-warming. As were the many thank you notes and gifts of wine and chocolates or just unused perishable goods such as milk, cheese and eggs. She said she made many friends through the resort and will cherish having known them all.

As with all businesses, there were downsides, such as complaints from some members of the Body Corporate. Numerous late nights caused by drunken, vomiting, loud, concert patrons were another negative. In addition, several disruptive guests damaged the units and upset owners and other guests. Plus middle of the night calls for minor complaints. Hilary said ‘there have been a fair few complaints about one thing or another as unfortunately for some people, no matter how hard you try it is never good enough. I think anyone in customer service can relate to this’. However, despite the disruptions and complaints, Hilary always saw the positive side and had several funny stories to tell – many that can never be repeated or names mentioned!

Hilary would like to thank the owners who trusted and supported her in the management of their units. She would also like to thank the following people for their support over the last ten years:
• Hans Electrical Services
• Lee from Bribie Locksmiths
• The Bribie Island Hotel
• QCS Group who looked after her internet and computer
• Karen Ahl of Web-Sta who designed and edited a wonderful website and online booking engine
• Specialised Cleaning Products
• Placid Water, On the Bay and other management rights owners who provided camaraderie.

I am sure all Briberians will join me in thanking Hilary for her contribution to our community and wishing her well in her next venture. She plans to remain in the area but is not ready for retirement just yet.