Nicole Pelet from Bauple learning English and also growing licorice plants. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Nicole Pelet from Bauple learning English and also growing licorice plants. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle Alistair Brightman

Rollercoaster ride from snowy Switzerland to boiling Bauple

NICOLE Pelet spent most of her life looking out her window at the snow-covered Swiss Alps, but now wakes up to the rolling green hills of Bauple.

After moving to Australia 13 years ago, Nicole lived for two years in the Northern Territory before moving to Talegalla Weir where she runs a 40 acre liquorice farm.

"The heat is what really got to me," Nicole said.

"I was really sick and would cry all the time because it was so hot for me to be in the bush."

She said she was still learning how to handle unwanted wildlife coming into her house.

"The snakes and the spiders aren't so good," she said.

"And feral dogs attacking our sheep, it was especially sad the first time."

Since moving to Bauple, Nicole has faced raging bushfires, flooding rains and serious drought.

"I think with every challenge I'm starting to be a real Aussie," she said.

With her husband flying to Western Australia to work in the mines, and her two young children often at school, Nicole said she felt trapped and isolated from the community because she could not speak fluent English.

"You feel very alone in the bush," she said.

"It's hard to connect with other people when you just know the basic words to use."

To improve her English skills, Nicole signed up for the Australian Government's Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) eight months ago.

"I really needed to build my confidence in talking to people," she said.

"And I met other migrants who understood what it was look to come here from somewhere far away, it was a breath of fresh air."

TAFE East Coast lead vocation teacher for language Anne Kettle runs the program through Maryborough's Tafe campus and said she was so proud of how far Nicole had come.

"When she first came to class she was shy and unsure of herself," Anne said.

"We are all very proud of how far she has come and where she is going from here."

Nicole's ambition to start up her own liquorice business; selling plants she grows on her property lead to her story being written in the Australian Hort Journal.

"As part of my assessment I wrote up my story for the article," Nicole said.

"That was a big moment for me."