There are countless stories of young professional couples who come to the Bundaberg Region with the intention of only staying a year or two. They fall in love with the place and before they know it they’ve started a family and bought a home. The Mason family is no exception.
Brittany Lanam and Sean Mason met working at a backpacker hostel in San Sebastian, in Spain. After the pair started dating, Sean followed Brittany home to New Jersey in the United States. Sean, who lived on a yacht for the first seven years of his life, convinced Brittany to come to Australia.
“We flew into Sydney and did all the usual touristy things,” Brittany said. “We went to Adelaide to visit Sean’s friends and then flew to Alice Springs. With a ute loaded full of furniture, plants and three dogs we drove through the outback to Nhulunbuy in Arnhem Land via Borroloola, where Sean grew up. Sean was very vague. He didn’t explain or prepare me. I’d always lived in a city, so I was nervous but I knew that the untouched bushland was something even most Australians don’t get to see. We immersed ourselves in the culture and it just felt so alive.”
Sean’s dad bought a property at Pine Creek, south of Bundaberg, and the pair agreed to help him set it up. Before long Sean had established his own plumbing business, Combined Plumbing and Gas, and Brittany had landed a job as a youth worker at Impact Community Services. It’s only since having Aussie kids, Bruce and Molly, that Brittany now feels like she’s earned her stripes to call herself an Australian-American.
Despite the fact that COVID-19 has so far prevented Brittany’s family from meeting Molly, Brittany said there’s nowhere she and Sean would rather be raising their family than Bargara. “We are really lucky to be living in Australia; in regional Queensland,” she said. “And not just because it’s safe. When you’ve travelled a lot you realise it’s the people that make the place. It’s beautiful here and underrated; a hidden gem. We spend every weekend at the beach, and it takes 12 minutes to get to all the amenities we need.”