Midweek Interview

Midweek catch-up with Mary Valley Rattler’s Linda Barry

This week we caught up with the general manager of Mary Valley Rattler, who told us that the train she was sitting in was not named Thomas, much to our dismay.

What’s your main goal for this year?

To re-build our market after two really crippling years – first because of COVID, and then because of the floods earlier this year.

I have a simple message for the market – we’re back on track! We want even more visitors to experience the romance of steam trains because the Mary Valley Rattler provides such a fun, special experience.

What’s your favourite thing about working in the travel industry?

Being able to share in the experiences of our guests. It is so satisfying to wave our guests goodbye on the platform knowing that they are about to have a great time and then welcoming them back with huge smiles on their faces.

The other aspect that makes my job so rewarding is that the Rattler is largely a volunteer-based community enterprise, so whatever we achieve here benefits the whole community.

How do you like to spend your free time?

Rebuilding the operation after such a difficult period doesn’t allow me a huge amount of spare time, but I love to cook, entertain and travel when I get the opportunity.

Have you managed to do any travelling since restrictions began to ease (domestic or international)?

We have had a weekend away in Brisbane, and last year had a week on the Murray River on a houseboat, but what makes this region so attractive is that we are surrounded by beautiful destinations such as Hervey Bay, the Sunshine Coast and South Burnett, giving us so much to explore locally.

What’s your favourite travel company, besides the one you work for?

Too many to choose from as they all offer a different experience and play a different role in helping plan a trip.

More broadly we are immensely thankful to Tourism Events Queensland for helping build our reputation and that of the Gympie tourism region.

If you could invite three famous guests (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would you choose?

Michael Bublé, Maggie Beer and Julia Roberts. It would ensure great food, music and entertainment!

What’s something positive you’ve witnessed or experienced since the global pandemic hit?

Travellers now want far more meaningful travel. They want to get beneath the surface. At the Rattler, we enable adults and children to interact with volunteers who have lived and breathed the Rattler, making the experience far more memorable.

What’s your advice for others in the travel industry on coping with the global pandemic?

Think creatively, do things differently, be prepared to change and work collaboratively

What book and/or TV show can you not get enough of lately?

I am currently listening to local girl Lisa Millar’s book Daring to Fly. And I have just finished watching the last season of Ozark – dark but beautiful scenery.

Do you have any travel goals for 2022?

I’m still getting my feet under the table at the Rattler, so discovering our regional towns during weekends is my initial goal, but later in the year I’d love a holiday in Fiji.



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