Recent Hinterland treechangers, Que and Jules Neale, are sisters in their twenties who believe they have found the perfect place to settle, the ideal vibrant and creative community and the perfect business that will help them grow personally. This outgoing pair have opened a new restaurant off Maleny’s main street simply called, 2 Sisters.
Why did you come here?
Jules: Well, we discussed different areas in Australia that we’d both like to settle and for me the Glasshouse Mountains has always had a beautiful sense of energy and community. When I was living down at the Coast Que would often come up here and eventually we both felt it was the place we wanted to be. You get a sense of the small town living in Maleny, Montville and the whole area and I love the cultural life here.
Que: I think we had both hit a dead end. We originally came from a large farming family on the Darling Downs. For a few years I had been in business development of small to medium size businesses or large corporations. Jules had been travelling, doing her art and studying. Then I said to Jules, I love what I do but I don’t want to walk away when the job’s done anymore. I want something to be proud of that’s our own. So, with our combined skills, this restaurant was just perfect.
What did you have to change in coming here?
Jules: For me it was staying grounded and having a focus so that I could put my energy into the business, rather than putting my energy into where I am going to travel to next? So, being a cook still allows me a creative outlet, and in a sense I can still travel through my cooking . I can also continue with my artwork
to help change this place and make it more attractive.
We had a big family and I have always loved cooking and trying new flavours. But it wasn’t until I started travelling that I studied herbalism and now I use herbs a lot. For instance, when I was living in an isolated village in Guatemala it was a case of picking your food from the tree, picking from the dirt, and that really started to open my mind to how you can enrich flavour by using herbs and seasonal foods, and not using artificial preservatives to find your flavour.
I must say when we first started this business I found it a little claustrophobic being in the kitchen all the time. Anyway, Que and I spoke about it and we do share the chores in the kitchen. But for me if I can keep changing the routine I am fine. I go for a walk in the park every afternoon for 20 minutes and that just grounds me.
Que: I love promoting and talking and getting people to love what they do. And the major change for me was to switch from looking at someone else’s business, and do a 360 view on our own business. It’s very different because you’re emotionally involved rather taking an outsider’s point of view. It’s exciting of course, but you can get stuck in the “doing” and you don’t always get time for that outside look.
Jules: In the end we really know who we are as individuals. And that’s come from both of us travelling. Change is very liberating because it throws yourself into something where you have no support, no friends and family around you so you have to fight for yourselves … whatever that might be. Being your own person and being an authentic person is very important in this kind of business.
Que: What we’ve really found since coming to Maleny is just how quickly a lot of locals have supported and got behind us. Even just letting us know who they are is just incredible.
What would keep you here?
Que: I think that we are over that constant movement we’ve both experienced over the past eight years. Even the house we have now, we really love. But we had to sign a year’s lease, and signing up for a year would usually scare the living daylights out of both of us. But we both said, let’s sign up for a year because we don’t want to move.
Jules: One of the major things is we have grown up being very independent so we were never needy on our parents. We both left\ home fairly early and gained our own life experiences. So at 27 I have come to a place where I want to stop and build a home, and in a place that has flair and has culture. What keeps us here would be to have a sense that we’re part of this community, to experience growth in our business.