Peta Rolls recognised for service to tourism

Peta Rolls helped establish some of the key tourism boards in the region and left an impression on many in the accommodation sector. Picture: MIKAYLA VAN LOON.

By Mikayla van Loon

Peta Rolls has been an instrumental part of the tourism industry in the Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Valley for 30 years.

Her achievement was recently recognised when she was presented with a 30 years of service award at the Yarra Ranges Tourism Industry Summit in June.

Beginning her career at the Rhododendron Gardens in Olinda, now known as the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens, Ms Rolls then moved into the accommodation space.

“We went on to buy our first property in 1991. It was a rotten, old guest house that was falling down,” she said.

Although needing lots of repairs, Ms Rolls said “I loved it” for all its faults and idiosyncrasies.

Managing numerous places over the years, it was about eight years ago when Ms Rolls helped develop a group of accommodation options, truly turning into a management business.

“We managed 35 properties and I did that for six years until I got quite ill. I just didn’t like working at that pace anymore, so I stepped away but my staff took over,” Ms Rolls said.

Until February, Ms Rolls was still managing two properties of her own in Olinda but made the decision to retire.

“I’m kind of lost without doing it. I love to help people. So I’m hoping that I’ll be able to continue mentoring people who want to get into the industry.”

Continuing to attend industry events like the summit, Ms Rolls said she likes to keep up-to-date on what is happening even though she is slowly pulling away from the industry.

Not only has Ms Rolls run many successful accommodation properties, she has also been a key figure on advisory boards and tourism boards.

“I’ve always been in tourism and I’ve worked on various tourism boards. I produced maps and guides with a friend years and years ago, way before Yarra Ranges Tourism and Dandenong Ranges Tourism.”

Ms Rolls said the 30 year award came as a “huge surprise” and it was something she never expected to receive but it “was very lovely.”

“Accommodation really suited my personality. I love meeting people, I like making sure they’re comfortable and cared for. I’ve made some wonderful friends and it has been lovely over the years to watch the industry grow.”