Neil’s pioneering mother Katherine Costin, a former city slicker, married a farmer and embarked on a green vision to re-vegetate cleared farming land and build the very first log cabin in the Otways. It was not so much a business adventure as a desire to attract like minded city folk to share the verdant beauty of what was, back then, a fairly little known ‘touch of arcadia’. It was a pioneering venture met with scepticism by the locals but Katherine got behind the formation of a local tourism organisation, the Otway Scenic Circle Association, and proposed that they put the word ‘Great‘ back into The Great Ocean Road. The rest is history!
Katherine started this venture while I was at university. In 1985 we formed a partnership. I was then building a career in theatre and was about to tour nationally in Cameron Macintosh’s celebrated production of ‘Les Miserables’. Together we purchased the neighbouring property, built two more cottages and I built the first mud brick house in the area using local materials and recycled timbers. I toured in several shows including “Evita” and “Oklahoma”, produced and directed “Busking with Brel’ in Melbourne and Sydney and appeared in a number of TV shows and movies including “In Pursuit of Honour” with Don Johnston & Rod Steiger. Here I am in “Killing Time” opposite David Wenham playing Barry Edwards, boss of notorious lawyer Andrew Fraser. I still work on the occasional show, write and play music and love a ‘good red’. As I write this I am waiting to reconvene an Australian/English co-production currently on hold due to Covid lockdown.
I would have to count my role as Barney in the Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of “Summer of the Seventeenth Doll” as my most successful role because that is where I met my fabulous wife and partner Bo.
I grew up on a West Australian sheep and cropping property in Moonyoonooka, boarded at St Hilda’s in Perth, trained as a teacher and then spent several years travelling through the Himalayas and the Hindu Kush. On my return to Australia I studied design at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts before venturing in to television and theatre production before joining a world touring production of Disney On Ice.
On returning to Australia I was offered a position with the Melbourne Theatre Company where I met Neil and have since adopted the Otways as my home. Here I can indulge my love of clothes, style, French champagne, country food, fresh flowers and country living and my precious little mini schnauzer “Dusty”!
I have to admit, I am slightly indulged. But I do my bit. Every morning I accompany Bo on a vigorous walk to check the sheep, feed the magpies, say hi to the occasional koala and wallaby and get a very healthy dose of fresh air. During winter I keep a vigil on the log fire and maintain a cosy curled up position on my rug. For the most part I live a pretty fabulous life, bark at the odd visitor and love sardines.
Amelio, Louie, Ballsy, Hugo & Pierre
Hi. We are ‘The Sheep’ and Bo named us after famous European fashion designers. We don’t know who they are but we like to think that it gives us a certain “je ne sais quois”.
Our job is pretty simple. We’re supposed to keep the grass down.