Tri State Safari’s crew members come from all walks of life. With previous occupations ranging from small business owner to law enforcement to child care, the one thing they all have in common is a strong passion for the Outback. Our team is dedicated to showcasing this unique and inspirational land to the very best of our ability. It is our hope that you fall in love with it as much as we all have.
But before you travel with us, let us introduce to you the people who work behind the scenes, to create and lead the award-winning tours that Tri State Safaris has become renowned for.
Clark Barrett – Driver/Guide
Outback artist, teacher and photographer, Clark, may be new to Tri State team, but he’s been travelling our outback roads for decades.
After first arriving in Broken Hill, a sense of curiosity and wonder led Clark to begin travelling the local dirt roads sometimes travelling as far as 300kms. Fascinated by “the laser bright intensity of the outback sunlight and the way it makes colour vibrate”, Clark has spent the past 40 years taking inspiration from local landscapes to create his renowned artworks. Travelling through stations and sleeping in shearers’ quarters, Clark would often knock on the doors of nearby homesteads hoping to meet the people who lived in this fascinating land. This curiosity led him to meet and befriend some of the incredible outback characters, amass an enviable collection of memories and stories and gain valuable insight into life in the ‘bush’.
Clark’s passion for adventure and his seemingly spiritual link to the Outback did not go unmissed by friends and colleagues who eventually began to seek his guidance on their own remote journeys. For the past three decades, he has regularly taken visitors to some of his favourite outback haunts – including the lucky passengers of one of our recent tours!
When he is not conducting one of our tours (or on an adventure of his own), you’ll find Clark painting or taking photographs for the next local exhibition.”
Janine Gowenlock – General Manager
With an extensive career in project management and business marketing, Janine found herself falling in love with Tri State Safaris, after originally operating as the head of marketing for ‘Out of the Ordinary Outback’ – a tourism group that operates a variety of iconic outback destinations, including Tri State. Originally based in Sydney, Janine migrated West to Broken Hill looking for a new “adventure” away from the city commotion.
When the opportunity to join the Tri State Safaris team arose, Janine made the ultimate decision to move to Broken Hill with her partner and toddler looking for a sense of “adventure” and a balance of work and life away from the Sydney commotion. Trading in her Sydney home on the northern beaches, our beloved beach-dweller found a home beneath the far-reaching blue skies of outback Broken Hill in February 2017 – and has loved every minute of it.
Janine sees the vision of Tri State Safaris and recognises the potential for Broken Hill to grow in tourism. It is her hope that as Broken Hill continues to grow as a tourism hub for outback Australia, that Tri State Safaris is able to play a major role in providing travellers with high-quality, eco-friendly and unforgettable experiences in the diverse region that it calls home.
Irving Blundell – Operational Manager
Irving’s combined love of travel and the Australian Outback is what originally led him to Tri State Safaris, where he first began his career as a tour driver and guide. Throughout the six years that followed, his passion for this remarkable country only grew. In 2017 his dedication and experience led to his appointment as operational manager, when founder Michael McCulkin retired from the role.
Irving first moved to Broken Hill in 1995, with wife (and local artist) Andrea Blundell. Soon after arrival, Irving began work at popular local restaurant Alfresco’s, were he was manager for over 15 years. During this time he found himself driving the Bush Mail run with passengers, for just over a year. Irving has always believed in giving back to his community, and since 2005 he has been a retained with Fire Rescue NSW.
A real country boy at heart, his interests and hobbies include fishing, camping, boating, bush walking, tennis, tour driving and travel.
Geoff Spangler – Driver/Guide
Beginning his employment in 1999, Geoff is one of the most experienced tour driver/guides working for Tri State Safaris today. His vast knowledge of the Outback, its environment and its culture, always keeps our passengers sitting on the edges of their seats. While his quick wit and intellect ensure there is never a dull moment.
Geoff is a passionate stock and station agent. He is also a mining veteran, working in “processing-exploration” for a great chunk of his mining career. To this day he maintains a mining position, working in mine site rehabilitation with CSIRO – when he’s not off leading great Outback adventures that is!
Outside of work, Geoff is a competitive tennis player. His hard work and tireless effort earnt him a silver medal at the Masters Games in 2013.
His hobbies and interests include tennis, geology and Australian Outback travel.
Mark Sutton – Driver/Guide
Mark is our senior local indigneous guide. Prior to joining the Tri State Safaris team over 10 years ago, he was a former Aboriginal Heritage Sites officer with NSW National Parks.
Mark holds a Diploma in Adult Education and a Certificate IV in Assessment and Training. Over the years, one of Mark’s roles has been to ensure all of our staff have an exceptional level of knowledge and caring to conduct tours to places such as Mutawintji National Park, and the other areas of cultural significance that we visit.
Phil Stubbs-Mills – Driver/Guide
Phil has been working with us since the mid 1990’s, after he and owner Michael worked together as instructors at the NSW Police Driver Training School in Sydney. He has travelled to just about every town in the country, and has a great knowledge of everything Outback. Phil is also a qualified 4WD instructor and when not on tour he may be somewhere around the country conducting 4WD courses.
Sara-jayne Mullins – Office Administration
A country girl through and through, Sara-jayne has spent most of her life living and working in the rural Australian Outback. Born in South Australia, Sara-jayne spent her early years growing up on a sheep station before moving to Woomera where she spent the remainder of her childhood. Entering adulthood, Sara-jayne moved to Innamincka where she worked as a housekeeper, waitress and barkeeper at the Innamincka Hotel.
Her later travels included cattle station work near Windorah and Roma. Falling in love with fellow country boy Shane, Sara-jayne fell pregnant and they settled down in Murray Bridge for a couple of years. In 2007 the Mullins family moved on to Broken Hill where they fell in love with the abundant opportunities the old-fashioned community had to offer to a young family. Five children later, Sara-jayne began work again as a waitress at the renowned Palace Hotel, before we were lucky enough to claim her!
With a plethora of experience working and travelling through the regional Outback, Sara-jayne’s personal knowledge of many regional communities and outback roads is a massive resource to our customers. She’s also known for her big smile and friendly advice, so make sure to pop in and say hello!
Danika Sartori – Marketing and Administration Officer
Born and bred Broken Hill local, Danika is one of our booking specialists and general office “all-rounder”. Admidst the general duties of administration she also works on maintaining the Tri State virtual presence through websites and social media, writing editorials and helping the oldies operate their computer systems. She enjoys meeting all of the interesting personalities that we take on tour with us, and the opportunity to work with such talented and passionate staff as those of the Tri State Safaris family.
Danika is a qualified child care worker, and has dabbled in both fictional and non-fictional writing since she was a teenager. She has worked in the Tri State office for over six years and has loved every minute of it. So much so, that upon her relocation to Adelaide in January this year, Danika retained her role at Tri State Safaris, as a remote employee.
With a thirst for adventure and two young boys in tow, Danika LOVES to travel! The only thing she enjoys more than planning her next holiday, is helping you to plan yours!