William Cowper said, “Variety’s the spice of life that gives it all its flavour.”
This could be motto thus lived by Catrina Scatena who, in her roles as a senior chemist, metallurgist, wine maker, competitive horse rider, small business owner, wife and mother has truly experienced the flavour of life.
Born in Esperance in 1974 Catrina (Tina) is the daughter of Pat and John Lalor and sister to Michele and Ben.
Now living in Dongara with husband Adrian, son Owen (10) and daughter Aerin (7 ) Catrina compares the lifestyle of that small, close-knit beach-side community with her happy childhood memories of growing up in Esperance where her family spent a lot of time around water, camping, fishing and playing beach cricket.
Catrina attended Esperance Primary School where she and friend, Kellie Martin shared the athletics championship honours most years.
She led a full life participating in music, ballet, jazz and tap dancing, tennis, hockey, gymnastics, basketball and horse riding.
At eight years of age Catrina learnt to ride on a gentle pony, Taffy.
With sister, Michele and close friend Jane Lukis she joined the Esperance Pony Club, learning to ride under the expert tuition of instructors such as Lorraine Mc Donald, Henrietta Mackenzie, Graham Patroni, Amanda Sproule and Helen Johnston and always supported by her Mum who drove her and her pony all over the state for competitions.
After graduating from Esperance Senior High School in 1991 Catrina studied at Curtin University where she completed a Bachelor of Science in Applied Chemistry (Honours) in 1995 and was then employed as a Senior Chemist for Portman Iron Ore on Cockatoo Island.
Catrina recalls: “The flight over each swing was truly spectacular and made even more exhilarating whenever the pilot would allow me to fly the little plane for a few minutes once stabilised!
Landings and take-offs were somewhat scary on the island as the runway was short, with bush at one end and an open pit at the other.”
Although life on the island was idyllic Catrina found the work monotonous and having developed an interest in Metallurgy decided, in 1997, to begin a post graduate diploma in Extractive Metallurgy at the Kalgoorlie School of Mines, while at the same time working at Kanowna Belle Gold Mine as a Metallurgical Technician.
After graduating she moved to Mt Isa to work at Mt Isa Mines and while enjoying the lifestyle, when the opportunity arose in 2003 to work for Robe River Iron she grasped the chance to return to WA and worked fly-in fly-out at Pannawonica and Cape Lambert before becoming site Metallurgist at the West Angelas mine site.
When Robe River was purchased by Rio Tinto Catrina became Superintendent of the processing plant, in 2006.
In the meantime she had met her future husband who also worked at the West Angelas mine and they married in November, 2005, continuing to work on the same site until they left in 2008 to prepare for the birth of their first child.
Pat and John Lalor moved to Dongara from Esperance back in 2001 and proposed that Catrina join them in purchasing a block where John could grow wine grapes and Catrina could make the wine.
Thinking this a wonderful idea, while still working on mines, she began a post graduate diploma in Wine Making and the first vintage was produced in 2004 under their own Irwin River Vineyard label.
The operation expanded and thrived but unfortunately ceased after the 2012 vintage due to family health reasons.
Meanwhile, in 2008 Catrina and Adrian purchased the Dongara IGA, including liquor store, with a business partner.
Over the years the business has become so successful that they, and the community, are eagerly anticipating the opening of a new store in August.
Throughout her busy home and working life Catrina has maintained her interest in horses and is currently Secretary of the Dongara Horse Riding Club where she organises events which attract competitors from near and far, while still competing and imparting her skills to Aerin.
With both children loving school, music and sport the family lead a busy, fulfilling life but Catrina is looking forward to a time when life is a bit simpler and she and Adrian can start making wine again – even if it’s only for their own consumption!