When Louise Tremper arrived in Australia as a single backpacker from Wales 19 years ago she had no idea how the wide brown land would shape her life.
‘‘I was in my 20s, and I came on my own and I wanted adventure. In Sydney I loved the beaches, I loved people’s sense of humour — I found Australians welcoming and embracing,’’ Ms Tremper said.
She married, started a bio-technology consultancy with her husband and went on to have two children.
Today they all live in Dookie — a place Ms Tremper thinks is a good springboard from which to launch herself into the Shepparton district’s arts community.
‘‘It’s such a lovely town. There’s a strong arts community and a lot of people have encouraged me,’’ she said.
She has now taken on the challenging role of general manager of the 2019 Shepparton Festival which launches its packed program next Friday at Longleat Winery in Murchison.
‘‘It’s my job to liaise with the media, and the major supporters — council, Creative Victoria, La Trobe University — and make sure everything is as it should be.
‘‘My skills in project management through business consultancy are easily transferable. I was ready for something different,’’ she said.
She said this year’s festival is themed ‘Story Bowl’’ which draws on Greater Shepparton’s longstanding label as the food bowl of the region.
‘‘The theme tries to draw on stories from the past and the present — as well as looking forward to the future of Shepparton,’’ she said.
Ms Tremper said although her family had lived in Dookie for five years, she relished the opportunity to get to know the Shepparton community on a deeper level.
‘‘It’s a really great way of immersing myself into Shepparton. I really love it here and I want to be part of it,’’ she said.
The 2019 program lists 60 events including the ever-popular Converge on the Goulburn community gathering at Victoria Park Lake.
Ms Tremper said the rest of the events will include theatre, music, literature, food and art shows which will remain under wraps until next week’s program launch.
Meanwhile, Ms Tremper aims to immerse herself into the Shepparton arts scene on a personal level.
‘‘I enjoy playing piano, so hopefully we’ll get a band together,’’ she said.
Next week’s program launch is a ticketed event through Eventbrite.
The evening features special guest, comedian Damian Callinan and a showing of his film The Merger about a footy coach who returns to his home town after his career comes to an abrupt end.
Doors open at Longleat Winery at 7pm. A bus will depart from Shepparton Library at 6.30pm and will return about 11pm.
There is limited space and registration through the website https://sheppartontickets.com.au/event/8652 is required.