COVID Safe Cuppa and Chat with SCA President Simon Hof.
Last week I had the pleasure of catching up with SCA President Simon Hof. Simon has been a driving force behind the Sarsfield Recovery and has led our community in creating a vision for a future Sarsfield. Simon’s energy, determination, consistency and leadership has been amazing over the past twelve months, and I was privileged to hear the story behind Simon Hof.
Simon grew up on a small acreage in Stratford on a property neighbouring the Knob Reserve. His Dad had emigrated from Holland and was an oil and gas worker, whilst his mum had been a nurse. Simon lived an outdoors life taking over the Knob Reserve as an extension of his own back yard. He built cubbies in the scrub, scrambled up and down the steep tracks, played on the riverbanks and tunnelled through the thick blackberries. Simon attended Gippsland Grammar through Primary and Secondary school and academically favoured the Sciences. He loved sport, playing cricket with Stratford and football at Sale and displaying the same determination that we see in Simon today.
Expectations were for Simon to head to university, although a couple of stints studying Environmental Science at Latrobe were interrupted by work at the Mt Hotham snowfields and local supermarkets, picking vegies on the river flats and time as a roustabout out the “Back of Bourke”. After dropping out of Latrobe Uni, Simon travelled overseas as an Aussie backpacker.
On his return Simon completed many training courses to gain operators tickets and secured jobs with big companies. He worked as a Hydrographer (monitors Rivers) and continued to train and study during that time.
Simon’s life blossomed after a trip to Bairnsdale and a burger and beer.
After a hamburger from George’s and a stroll into the neighbouring bar, Simon met Tiana who was working behind the counter. Long chats led to a romance but soon after Tiana moved to Kiribati in the Central Pacific Ocean. At this time their romance survived through the “lottery of the coconut wireless”. Whilst Tiana was away, Simon worked diligently to complete a Civil and Environmental Engineering Degree. His final study project with the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority secured him a job with a consultancy firm where he worked for 10 years.
Simon and Tiana settled in Drouin, married, welcomed Henry and Nina into their family and an employment move to Bairnsdale saw them eventually purchase a tree-change property in Haggars Road Sarsfield.
Both Simon and Tiana have immersed themselves into their new community. Simon is President of the Sarsfield CFA and Tiana is on the School Council at Tambo Upper Primary School.
In the aftermath of the Black Summer bushfires Tiana and Simon immediately stepped up supporting the community from day one. Tiana was active in the Sarsfield Recovery Committee but in November 2020 a family baton change saw Simon elected President of the Sarsfield Community Association. Tiana has remained as a positive, active community member and has been instrumental in the wonderful Sarsfield Snaps project.
Simon is proud of the Sarsfield Community Recovery and is inspired by the passion of the people who have driven the work. He has been overwhelmed and encouraged by the resilience of the community and extremely optimistic for future Sarsfield.
During his “spare” time, Simon loves to be with the kids and family, enjoys early morning weekend river explorations in his new kayak, and family trips to Suggan Buggan.
A huge thankyou to Simon, Tiana and the many other Sarsfield Community members for their energy, expertise and personal sacrifice during these challenging times.