PASSION: Antonija and Ralph Monckton from Kilkivan Bush Camping and Caravan Park got the Small Business of the Year award.
PASSION: Antonija and Ralph Monckton from Kilkivan Bush Camping and Caravan Park got the Small Business of the Year award. Scott Kovacevic

Gympie award win after 'spur-of-the-moment' decision

WINNING the Gympie Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year was the Kilkivan Bush Camping and Caravan Park, owned and run by Ralph and Antonija Monckton.

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The couple said the spur-of-the-moment decision to purchase the business and move from the Sunshine Coast to Kilkivan nine years ago was an effort to reduce the levels of stress on the couple with their successful but physically and mentally demanding jobs.

"This tourism-based business offered an opportunity to spend more time together as a family and work together at a less-demanding pace," Mr Monckton said.

"Our children have enjoyed having a more rural lifestyle and having their parents more available."

The park has been steadily growing since the couple and their nine children moved in. They also employ three staff members to help them run it.

Winning this award is a significant achievement for the Moncktons, who had never been tourism operators before.

"We had absolutely no experience in this industry and really had no idea what we were doing, however our mindset was that we would build and establish it based on what our family would enjoy if they were coming here.

"Winning this award is more rewarding than just simply having a trophy to display in our office.

"It is an acknowledgement from business peers and other professionals of the sheer effort that we have dedicated towards the growth and development of our business," Mr Monckton said.

The win has inspired the couple to continue moving forward with their dream.

"We still have a passion for our business and have many more great ideas and fun events that we would like to achieve in the next few years, and find inspiration in networking with other like-minded business people to keep our enthusiasm alive," he said.

SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR FINALISTS:

Kilkivan Bush Camping and Caravan Park - Winners

Your Realty Gympie & Cooloola - Runners-up

Jessie & Co

The Madhatter & Co