NOT all that long ago, Heathcote was just a place I drove through on my way to and from Melbourne to my girlfriend’s house in Deniliquin.
As we passed through, we always used to say how beautiful the footy ground was, grab a quick bite on High St and venture on.
Other than that, I can’t say I gave the town much thought.
In the short but sweet time I’ve been employed by McPherson Media though, I’ve got to know the town and some people in it — and I love it.
I grew up in Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, it’s a bigger place than people think — around 60,000 people.
I loved it there because it still had that country feel about it, despite being pretty populated, and I still refer to myself as a country boy.
All my education was in Wagga: I went to Henschke Primary School and then Wagga High School.
After completing my HSC I was pretty confident I knew what I wanted to do. I’m a keen sportsman so Melbourne automatically appealed to me as the ‘sporting capital of the world’.
I loved being able to break sports down, chat about them all the time and debate until the pub shuts its doors.
So the Media and Communications degree with a Sports Journalism major at La Trobe University was my choice.
I lived on campus at Glenn College at La Trobe for two years, I met some great mates that I’ll know for ever and I also met my girlfriend.
It was a great time of my life and we made some memories I’ll never forget.
After that period, I moved into a house with three good mates in Thornbury in the northern suburbs of Melbourne.
I battled through the final year of my course — we probably distracted each other a little more than we should have — but we got through.
For myself and my housemate Tate Spiteri (he did the same course as I did), the end of our course meant the beginning of an intimidating job search.
We knew we would be set apart from most journalism graduates because we were pretty much open to going anywhere, rural or city.
That didn’t stop us from worrying about the “there’s no jobs in journalism” speech though.
This stress resulted in us applying for jobs almost everywhere. That we were in such a rush seems silly to me now.
With no success after an interview or two, I was pretty set on staying in Melbourne for another year.
I loved my house, had my mates, I was entering my third year of playing footy with the Coburg Lions in the VFL and my girlfriend was there, so it didn’t seem like the worst option.
But then I got a call from McPherson Media group editor Andrew Mole: he wanted me in Echuca for an interview in two days, and then offered me the job.
The job was in news reporting, not sport, which was a little scary for me but the transition has been fine.
Originally all he said was the job was based in Kyabram, so I had a month to get myself sorted and ship off.
Once I arrived here, I realised that I would be covering that small town with the beautiful footy ground and lengthy main drag through The McIvor Times, and I’ve realised how much the town has to offer.
I’ve been covering Heathcote for around two months now and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve chatted to lots of locals at the cricket, fun days, Australia Day activities and other events. The town has been really welcoming.
I’m looking forward to continuing to tell the stories of Heathcote locals and build a trusting relationship with the town.
Please don’t be afraid to come up and chat to me if you see me around town — and if you have anything you think is newsworthy, or know a local who has an incredible story that’s worth telling — contact me!
I can be reached on 0437 268 119, or you can email me on [email protected]