Helen and Wayne Davenport arrived in Australia from Wales with their three daughters in 2009. Wayne was sponsored by MC Surf to work as a surfboard shaper, but for Helen, although she had a business degree, the future in Australia was less certain.
She found her first job in a resort in Byron Bay as a cleaner and worked her way up to receptionist and then manager. When she took on the management role Wayne joined her at East On Byron and the pair shared the task of looking after the entire establishment for the next few years, a role that included management of bookings, building and equipment maintenance, cleaning and customer service.
Helen spent eight years at East On Byron but when it changed hands it was time for the couple to move on. They then took a job managing a resort in the Cook Islands, but due to family circumstances they returned to Lennox after six months. When they returned they started working for Byron Bay Luxury Homes and Wayne continued to fly back and forth to the Cook Islands to help the locals develop their maintenance skills. When they saw the position advertised for Absolute Beachfront Apartments in their home of Lennox late last year they were keen to apply.
There were 80 applicants for the position. It is one of the only accommodation houses on the North Coast that enjoys direct ocean views and beach access, so the Davenports are confident they will be able to maintain the high occupancy rate the 18 units already enjoy. This, plus the fact that they have a license to use the lawn out the front for weddings and events, means that the place will continue to thrive.
Still they plan to make their mark by upgrading shared facilities, renovating the office and supporting owners to maintain high standards, as Air b’n’b continues to make inroads into traditional holiday accommodation.
In Lennox Head they are surrounded by a network of friends, including many from their home town of Mumbles in Wales.