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The Examiner spoke to Kim Seagram about her move from Canada to Tasmania, what kept her in our island state and why she loves life here.
Where do you live?
Kim Seagram: Launceston, only a five-minute walk to the CBD. I am so lucky.
When did you move to Tasmania?
KS: I moved here from Canada in 1992
Why did you choose to come here?
KS: No choice involved, I fell in love with a handsome Tasmanian chap, who was born in Germany from a Chilean Dad and American Mum, when he was on a ski holiday in Canada. I was working at the Chateau Lake Louise in the Rocky Mountains and he lured me to one of the best places on the planet – Tassie.
What drew you to the area/community you ended up living in?
KS: My husband Rod already had a cafe, Ripples, and was establishing a small vineyard north-east of the city so after applying for a sales job at the Casino - they hired a used car salesman because I couldn’t get here until a month after they needed someone - and being turned back I decided to join Rod in his businesses and have not looked back. We are serial entrepreneurs now, I do the marketing and PR and he handles the finance side of things, we are a team. From Stillwater and Black Cow to our new Abel Gin Co and gyms, lots to keep us out of trouble and we work with fabulous young people.
MY ISLAND HOME STORIES
Did you buy or are you renting?
KS: We are ‘restoring’. We have had a couple of heritage properties we have owned and lived in, which we have lovingly returned to their former glory, love saving these beautiful old buildings. We also had the privilege to restore Ritchies Mill when we created Stillwater on the ground floor. The next project is adding seven high-end suites above Stillwater, tucked into such a special building with fabulous views over the Tamar and access to some great Tasmanian food experiences.
What does your home look like?
KS: Currently an 1870s four-room cottage we restored and added a great room and master suite with hydronic heating in the floor. I don’t mind winter anymore. The valuation in 1910 listed the property as worth only 10 pounds, it would have been a pickers or shepherd’s cottage, it was a great challenge but so much fun to transform it.
Do you have a family with you?
KS: I moved from my small family of four with one sister into my husbands family, he is one of six siblings so I went from a family of four to one of 12. I was 28 when I moved here, newly married and gave birth to our own Tasmanian devil in 1995 and although born, raised and educated here he speaks with a Canadian accent. Although our little family has many international connections and family around the globe Tasmania is home, we are so lucky.
Since moving here, how have you found the community/lifestyle?
KS: Could not have chosen a better place to move to, love the sense of community and the fact people truly care for each other, and everyone has time for a chat. The lifestyle is amazing and as a community we aren’t afraid of a bit of hard work to make things better for everyone. People are real, experiences are authentic and we know what is important in life, and how to have a bit of fun too.
Is it what you were looking for? Why/why not?
KS: A sense of community is part of the DNA of Tasmania and has been lost in much of the rest of the world. Many outside Tassie are 'turning inward’ and only focusing on themselves and ignoring neighbours and the wider community. We also love getting together for a good party, particularly around our great food and beverage offerings and I think there is pride and an appreciation of the quality we do have at our fingertips! I loved helping the team set up Harvest Launceston Farmers’ Market, what fun that was! The Launceston Film Society has been a great treat for me seeing a foreign or arts film when I can get away from work early enough and the new Star Theatre in Invermay is fabulous.
What does a day in your life look like?
KS: Currently my feet hit the floor in the morning and I’m off, either a walk with girlfriends or a session with Emma at Health and Fitness is a great way for me to clear your mind and start the day with energy. I am not a morning person so try to avoid really early meetings but do love evening time when things get quiet again and I can tackle more things then. Each day is different from meetings to progress one of the exciting projects I am involved in to workshops, brainstorming, marketing, mentoring, giving advice, day to day operations in one of the businesses I am lucky to be involved in to trying to keep on top of a raft of emails that continue to try to drown me. Home, Stillwater office, Hobart, Harvest my work takes me all sorts of great places around the State and no two days are the same, I love it!
How do you find the climate and how does it compare to where you came from?
KS: I love the temperate climate of Tassie, Canada is COLD in winter, temps down to -25C or below are not unusual and a blanket of snow over everything including your car, driveway, footpath for months on end...and here I can grow cos lettuce in my garden in winter. As long as I have a warm home and office I enjoy the brisk mornings and sunny days of winter here and summer is just amazing and for lasts so long! Summer in Canada is July and August, two months of good weather, if you are lucky, here in Tassie we can have up to 5 months of great summer weather!
What’s your favourite place in Tasmania that you’ve discovered so far? Why?
KS: The East Coast of Tasmania…there is nothing as satisfying as a hard week at work and hopping in the car and seeing the Hazards at Coles Bay as you hit the East Coast. Bushwalking, fishing, beach walking and friends around the table at night sharing a drink and a meal caught that day…nirvana!
What has surprised you the most since moving to Tasmania?
KS; How I recalibrated what is important in life…family, friends and living each day to the fullest!
Do you think you’ll stay in Tasmania?
KS: Silly question, YES I’m here to stay, I am Tasmanian…with a funny accent!
Anything else you’d like to add?
KS: When I arrived here I made it my mission to tell everyone in the world how magic this place is, I might be a bit quieter now, I just kinda like it the way it is.
- Kim Seagran is the co-owner and marketing manager of Stillwater and Black Cow Bistro, The Abel Gin Co, vice president Harvest Launceston, and chair and driver FermenTasmania.