Bernie O’Sullivan, the new chief executive of the Macedon Ranges Shire Council, grew up in Pastoria East. He spoke with Oliver Lees.
What is your connection to Sunbury and the Macedon Ranges?
I have a really special connection to the shire, having grown up on a property east of Kyneton in Pastoria East. My grandfather Bartholomew O’Sullivan was mayor of the Shire of Kyneton 1948 and my father was a councillor.
I went to Our Lady of the Rosary Primary School and Sacred Heart College before heading off to Ballarat from year 9 to year 12. I’ve also always been involved in the Kyneton Agricultural Society.
What do you enjoy about the area?
In terms of spending time in Macedon Ranges, it is an absolute delight to take my family to the family farm east of Kyneton, so they can feel the connection with the land. They get to have a glimpse of where their food comes from and to pitch in and be part of a team.
I have so many fantastic memories in this area, including family visits to Hanging Rock. It’s a very special place in my family memories and I’m aware it is for our broader community, including our First Nations people.
That was one of the things that really attracted me to the role, it allows me to make a positive difference to an area I am really passionate about.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m from a relatively large family being the sixth of nine children. That certainly enables you to learn a lot about teamwork, pitching in and doing your share. I personally have four children of my own with my wife, Belinda.
Growing up in the shire, I was connected to local activities like Pastoria East Fire Brigade.
I was also involved in local landcare groups.
Previously my family lived in Sydney but we decided we want our kids to grow up in Victoria.
What would you like to achieve while working for council?
When I think about some of the key issues facing the shire, I think about ensuring we continue to support the community in rebounding from the pandemic and supporting our new council to plan for sustainable growth.
We’re having lots of interest from people living in the city that want to move to the Macedon Ranges, which we welcome, but we need to protect our landscapes.
It’s a privilege to be in this position. My first day of work, being able to pull off the highway to Kyneton and to start working in the town I grew up in was very special. I look forward to contributing to how the council can have a positive impact on people’s lives.