Great Ocean Road

Ranger Profile

Aire River Mouth
Triplet Falls
Rainbow Falls
Station Beach
Will at home on the verandah in Skenes Creek,
Will Cox Parks Victoria Skenes Creek

Get used to seeing Will Cox around town because he ain’t going nowhere. The Parks Victoria Ranger in Charge, Great Otway National Park, has his dream job in his dream location. A Bay resident since 2001, life here for Will gets better and better, especially working in an organization that supports staff striking the balance between work and family life. That’s important to Will and his wife Michelle, who have three young children.

Raised in bayside Beaumaris, Will had an early affinity with the water and open spaces. To live on the coast in a house that overlooks the surf is the perfect, pristine environment to give his kids the kind of childhood he had, free of what he calls the plastic society. What do they say about wanting something and all the universe conspiring to make it happen? It seems that Will is the happy victim of a conspiracy that drew him here.

He can trace it back to the time in 1995/96 when he was working on environmental programs trying to find full-time positions for the long-term unemployed. One of those positions was as a ranger at Albert Park. Now that was a job Will thought he’d like himself, so he applied for the position and got it. So far so good, but notice the place and time. Albert Park, 1996. The first Grand Prix.

For Will it was a baptism of fire in an intensely political time. He couldn’t have been burnt too much because, after a stint working on the water as the ranger for Port Phillip Bay, he returned to the scene as Parks Victoria’s Albert Park Grand Prix Liaison Manager. That made Will the go-to man to make sure the Grand Prix corporation complied with the terms of its agreement to care for the park for the time it took over the public space.

With that behind him, Will took a secondment to Mansfield at the foot of the snowfields. That gave him a taste of small-town life in the bush. For Will and Michelle, who met overseas, if having kids meant that they wouldn’t be doing the travelling they loved for some time, then living in the country was the ideal alternative. It had an edge to it that took them out of their comfort zone.

When the position came up as the ranger in charge of the Otways, Will was in the right frame of mind to apply. In fact, given that his family had a holiday house in Anglesea, he knew the west coast well. Here was his dream job. Here the conspiracy was complete. All the pieces fell into place, even if it meant leaving the good life in Elwood behind.

Life is about timing: for Will it’s the perfect time to be here, with a government investing so much in the region to open up more public spaces and provide locals and visitors with world-class facilities. Just recently there’s been the trifecta of the creation of the expanded Great Otway National Park, the opening of the Great Ocean Walk and the re-opening of Triplet Falls.

Will is now excited by the prospect of creating an adventure market for the Otways and coast. The link to Little Aire Falls is one part of that, making Forrest the hub of mountain-biking is another. He sees this patch of coast, walks, forest and waterfalls as the ideal location for the growing sport of adventure racing. Already the outdoor clothing and camping company Anaconda has sponsored adventure races in Lorne. Will is looking forward to a three-day endurance race planned in 2007 from the Twelve Apostles to Torquay, with sea kayaking and mountain-biking among the tests and trials.

It’s a long way from Albert Park and the Grand Prix to adventure racing in the hills and sea, but here you can bet Will has found his perfect fit. You’ll be seeing him around the Bay for some time to come, certainly as a ranger and probably as an adventure racer.

Will or the team at Parks Victoria Apollo Bay can be contacted by calling the Parks Victoria Information Centre on 13 1963 (within Australia)
and please don't forget to mention Great Ocean Road Trip when you do.


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