Tree change a winner
Care, compassion and cameras are the best ways to describe a Northcliffe resident’s impact on her surrounding community.
A mother, shire councillor, tourism advocate and photographer, these are just some of the roles of Wendy Eiby, who moved to the region more than 20 years ago for a job as the environmental and activities manager at Karri Valley Resort.
Originally from Queensland, Wendy decided to take the risk and move across the country from the Whitsunday Islands — where it was sunny almost all year round — to the Lower South West.
“They’re both beautiful locations though, which is why I’m still here,” she said.
“Beautiful landscapes, love the wild flowers season here which we don’t have over there.
“You don’t get cyclones here, which is a bonus, but we deal with bushfires instead.”
By the time she left Queensland, Wendy said she had been tired of packing up the resort every time there was a cyclone.
“I needed a change.”
For the next five years, Wendy worked at the Karri Valley Resort before she left to have her daughter.
While her daughter was little, Wendy worked for Pemberton Discovery Tours in addition to a couple of casual jobs.
After another seven years, Wendy started working at the Northcliffe Visitor Centre after the previous manager retired.
“I then started working as the manager of the Pemberton Visitor Centre as well, so I was managing both businesses and after about five years, I dropped the Pemberton Visitor Centre position because it became too difficult to run two businesses,” she said.
“I love my job. Because we’re not busy here, we get just over 45,000 visitors a year and I get to really engage with all the visitors that come in.
“It’s also such a lovely community here, we’ve got the library in here now as well, so I get to catch up with all the locals when they come in for that.”
It was about this time Wendy became a Manjimup shire councillor.
“I always thought it would not only be interesting to learn the process of why things happen the way they happen, but also be there to help with the forward planning,” she said.
“Having a daughter, I want the place to be as good as it possibly can be for her in the future.”
Wendy’s involvement in the community does not end with council, as she has been heavily involved in photography and is a founding member of the Southern Forests Photography Club.
Photography is a passion Wendy developed at a young age, when her uncle gave her one of his old Kodak cameras, which was really bad.
“None of the photos worked, they came out with really weird, distorted colours,” she said.
“Growing up, I was always the one who documented the family get-togethers.
“I rarely got into landscapes as a kid because it was really expensive to shoot film, so you take photos of what’s really important.”
When she started making her own money as she grew up, she started upgrading her equipment.
“When I moved over here, my equipment got stolen on my first day in WA,” Wendy said.
She went without a camera for a few years, until around the time her daughter was born and digital cameras became more prevalent.
It was about 10 years ago that she and a few other photography fans started up the Pemberton Photography Club, which later became the Southern Forests Photography Club, of which Wendy is the president.
Wendy is also particularly passionate about anything that can be done to improve the lives of our region’s youth, the tourism industry and creating a sustainable future for our region.
“You don’t want anything that’s going to destroy our region’s lifestyle, but we do need jobs because without jobs, the towns aren’t going to survive,” she said.
“But it needs to be done in a way that supports sustainable growth of the town, you don’t want something to boom and then not have the forward planning to see it continue.”
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails