Michelle and Michael Waters tenure managing the Wee Jasper Reserves has officially come to an end.

After six years in charge, the couple feel comfortable knowing they have made significant and everlasting improvements to the Wee Jasper Reserves.

“When we went out there, it was multiple paddocks, we had very little equipment, and we had very little help.

“We’ve left it in a much better place!” Michelle said.

Regarding the annual fireworks and bonfire fundraising event “Duncan’s Legacy Ignites Hope”, which commemorates the life of their son Duncan who passed from testicular cancer in October of 2014, they said the event would be moving to a new location, should it go ahead this year.

“We are in early discussions with a new location,”

“Watch this space!” Michelle said with a menacing grin.

The event has been the highlight of the Waters’ time at Wee Jasper, which from humble beginnings in 2016, has gone on to raise nearly $80,000. They would like to thank the community for all their support over the years.

“We have a huge group of family and friends that come in to support us,” Michelle said.

A tough few months with bushfires and the pandemic at the beginning of 2020 exacerbated the pairs decision to call it quits.

“From the 18th of December 2019 to the 31st of May 2020, we had five weeks of trading, which really knocked us about,” Michelle said.

Whilst they both admit it was not easy to walk away, spending more time with their family and more time in their own home was very attractive.

“We haven’t had a weekend off in six years.”

“Time for us now and our family,” Michelle said.

As for advice for future managers, Michael offered his insight into what he believes should be done.

“We’ve taken it to the point where it’s back to the 21st century.”

“Whoever takes it on now just has to prolong what we started, keep nourishing it, and put their own spin on it,” he said.

Photo credit: Micalong Creek Reserve Wee Jasper @rosedravit

Among the notable changes made by the pair were brand new office spaces, new shower and toilet blocks, barbeque shelters, as well as potable clean water supply installed at each of the reserves within Wee Jasper.

The couple noted that whilst they have experienced more than their fair share of tragedy from the roads surrounding the Wee Jasper Reserves, some of their fondest moments come from meeting with the families of the people they had tried to help save.

“Throughout one period, we had three emergency helicopters come in three weeks.”

“Their families would keep returning and were always incredibly grateful for our efforts,” Michelle said.

As for why they believe they were so successful, Michelle believes it was their diverse skill sets that enabled Michelle to run much of the internal business operations, whilst Michael had more of a project management and general groundskeeping focus.

“Our jobs were so different.”

“We were really reliant on one another because we worked out that after six years, we didn’t really know what the other one actually did,” she said.

As for the future, the pair expect to return to work in Yass and aim to continue Duncan’s Legacy.

“The best thing for us is that we’ve left the Wee Jasper Reserves in a better place, but we’ve also left on a happy note, and I think ultimately how lucky are we?’ Michelle said proudly.

The Yass Valley Times would like to thank Michelle and Michael Waters for the incredible work they have done to improve and maintain the Wee Jasper Reserves over the years.

Max O’Driscoll

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