Business and lifestyle opportunities filter through to all in the Cootamundra-Gundagai Shire
After meeting in Ireland in 2008, Ossie Campbell spent four years chasing Diana, the girl of his dreams, around Europe; cleverly disguised as working and travelling. Eventually, they settled down together in Krakow, Poland; Diana’s home country.
Now married and living in Australia, Diana and Osborne (Ossie) Campbell own Cootamundra’s Dusty Road Coffee Roasters (DRCR) and have been delighted with their Country Change to the Riverina. They are especially excited about the ongoing potential of the region for their family and business.
Brewing up a dream
Having both worked in hospitality, Diana and Ossie were keen to continue their careers in this field while they lived in Poland. Diana continued to work in restaurants and Ossie was drawn to further develop his love and knowledge of coffee, and landed a job in a coffee roastery in Krakow.
Growing a new crop in Australia
When the couple moved from Poland to Sydney’s Northern Beaches in 2012, Ossie continued to add to what is now more than 25 years of experience in the coffee game. With Diana in hospitality supply and Ossie working as a barista and coffee machine technician, the pair spent many long hours in traffic. “It wasn’t out of the question for it to take an hour-and-a-half just to go 30 kilometers,” Ossie recalls of his city commutes.
Sydney living was a considerable drain on their resources. Due to the high demand for housing, purchasing a property in their preferred area was out of the question and instead, they endured continual rent increases.
The birth of their first child, Josephine, in 2014 got the couple reevaluating their city-based lifestyle and when Ossie’s mum moved from the Northern Beaches to Cootamundra, a seed was planted. When their second child, Frankie, came along in 2017 there had already been many trips to the Cootamundra-Gundagai shire to holiday and visit family, so they were familiar with the area and their seedling had started to put down roots.
“We fought against the rising costs for a couple more years,’” Ossie said, “but the financial pressures and amount of travel time made us wonder if we should just jump in and make a tree change. We wondered if we should just give it a go.” And in 2018, that’s exactly what they did.
Ossie explained, “A lot of people get stuck in the feeling that they can’t change but you just have to decide that’s what you want to do – make a mental shift – and then do your due diligence to make sure you’ve found a place that suits.”
A tasteful balance in Cootamundra
Before they moved, the couple put their feelers out for work in the region and Ossie secured a position in nearby Wagga Wagga, around 45 minutes drive away. “My employer was great,” Diana added, “I was able to stay with the same company and work remotely from our new town,” she said.
Once settled in Cootamundra, the Campbell’s built themselves a coffee cart from a single horse float and shared their passion for the bean with locals and visitors at markets, fairs, and sporting events. It was so well received and customers were always wanting to know where they could find their coffee on non-market days that Ossie and Diana decided to pursue a bigger dream. When a premises in Cootamundra’s ‘CBD’ became available, they took the leap and opened their own roaster and cafe. Now in their third year, they haven’t looked back.
Dusty Road Coffee Roasters is housed in a lovely vintage shop on Wallendoon Street. Although there has been another tenant in between, the shop was previously owned by a barber (named Oz) and it still features one of the shop’s original hairdressing mirrors.
Once again a hub for the community, many locals recall themselves or relatives having haircuts and swapping stories there. “We get lots of local support from our regulars,” the couple said, “It’s not unusual for a customer to have four or five different conversations before they even get as far as ordering a coffee!” Diana exclaimed.
On a mission to provide excellent coffee and professional coffee services in the Riverina and beyond, Diana and Ossie have been delighted by the community support that has allowed their family to thrive since their move. “We love sharing our products and hope to keep the business growing organically,” Ossie said. “Everyone here has been really welcoming. Although there are a lot of places in town where you can buy a cup of coffee, people here are happy to share their wealth around and we all benefit from that,” he added.
Something for everyone
With two small children, the Campbell’s have been excited to find such a diverse range of activities on offer in the Cootamundra-Gundagai Shire. With swimming, tennis, golf, craft workshops, a library, parks, and playgrounds, they are spoilt for choice when it comes to keeping everyone entertained. “And you’re only five minutes from everything!” Diana said with relief. “In the city it took so long to get anywhere, here it’s so easy to take the kids to different things.”
Give it a go
The Campbell’s are just one of the many families that have chosen to leave the city and make the Riverina their home, and they couldn’t be happier. “We hope to encourage others to make the Country Change for a better quality of living and prove you don’t need the big smoke to live in a thriving and cosmopolitan environment,” Ossie said. He added, “There are great opportunities to start up a business, especially if you want to have a brick-and-mortar storefront. The rental options are great in country towns. There are just so many reasons to give it a go.”