Name Mary and Allison
Business devolver
Location Freshwater

What’s your favourite place on the Northern Beaches?
Mary loves Freshie, it’s her home! For me it’s Newport Beach where I grew up. And Cabbage Tree Bay – that place is amazing, an aquatic reserve right at our doorstep! How lucky are we?!

Is there something about you that would surprise people?
I’ve hiked to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania – the highest freestanding mountain in the world! It was many years ago now but I will never forget it.

What’s something everyone should do at least once?
Live interstate or overseas. It broadens horizons and gives perspective. Oh, and go on safari in Africa, it’s one of life’s all time great experiences.

It’s Sunday afternoon, where do we find you?
Mary would definitely be baking at home or at the nursey, shopping for new plants. And I would hopefully be outdoors somewhere with my family. For me, there is nothing better than being outside for the afternoon, even if it’s freezing cold!

If you were down to your last $50 what would you spend it on?
Good food and a ferry ride across the harbour.


How did devolver happen?  How long have you been operating?
Devolver started out of genuine concern for the amount of single use waste we all produce every day. We wanted to do something, anything, to play our part and to help the average person do better. It’s been hard but very fulfilling!
We have been up and running for about 12 months but very much in a trial space. We are really testing the waters at the moment to see where and how our system fits best.

Best business experience?
The excitement from businesses when they see that there is a solution and of course when people just ‘get it’.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
Probably trying to come up with some other way we could do out bit!

Best part of your job or most enjoyable part of your job?
Both of us feel like we are part of this huge, worldwide transition towards a sustainable, circular economy – that’s pretty special.

Most stressful part of your job?
The size of the challenge – we’ve become so accustomed to our convenient ‘throwaway’ lifestyle. Showing people there is a better way, means convincing them to change the way they do things, which is really hard.

What’s the best part of working on the Northern Beaches? Why’d you chose to work here?
You can’t beat the work/life balance when working close to home. As mums we have a lot to do so being able to fit all that in to your working day makes life itself much more manageable.


What would you rate 10/10?
We are similar in a lot of ways but also very different! Mary loves a sleep in and I love an early morning swim in the ocean. I swim all year round and whilst it’s pretty cold in winter, it’s still the best way to start my day.

What is the best advice you’ve received?
Regret is worse than failure.

Greatest strength?
Mary is really patient and I like to think I am a good listener.

Greatest weakness?
For me, it’s self-confidence. Sometimes it really holds me back and stops me from taking those risks that could actually be good ones. Mary says that saying no is her big weakness – she has trouble doing it!

Does anything scare you?
We are pretty worried about the state of the environment and our kids’ future. If we don’t fix things quickly, what sort of world are they going to be living in 50 years from now?

What’s your most treasured possession?

What’s your idea of absolute happiness?
Mary says a long lunch with close friends and family, nothing beats it. For me, it’s travel with my family.

Which two famous people would you choose to be stuck in a lift with?
Jimmy Chin, for all his experiences! I’d have so many questions he would be so sick of me by the time they fixed the lift! And someone to make us laugh – Michael McIntyre. That guy is hilarious.

How do you switch off?
Baking, cooking, coffee in the sun, glass of wine. We are pretty similar here.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
We both like cake – and red wine!

Who’s your personal hero?
I don’t really have a personal hero, I look up to a lot of different people. But Mary says it’s her Dad, hands down.

If you were an animal, what would you be?
A retriever and a bird – any type. I wonder if readers can guess who would be who.

How would you like to be remembered?
Kind, caring people who left the world a little better than we found it.