Committed to the community

Whether it is serving her country or her local community, new Southbank resident Tracey Allen has always enjoyed getting things done.

Having grown up in her family’s general store in country Victoria, the importance of community and hard work is something Tracey has always valued highly.  

So much so, she began her career serving in the Australian Navy as a navigator for six years, a role which she said had been incredibly character building.

“That was pretty tough going into a male-dominated environment,” she said. “I’d describe it as high-highs and low-lows.”

“When it was great it was amazing. I did some incredible things but when it was bad it was really bad!”

“It was a bit hard to find work once you’ve been in defence as to how those skills translate. But I’d just been giving some admin assistance to a commander based in Sydney and I enjoyed that so I decided to become a personal assistant.”

Since leaving her post in the navy in 2000, Tracey said she had become somewhat of an “admin guru”, having served in a host of office and human resources management roles.

After originally moving to South Melbourne with husband Brett in 2002, Tracey launched her own business from home Extra Edge, which specialises in providing career guidance to job seekers, assisting with everything from resume writing to interview coaching.

However, she said it was during her time serving in the navy when she discovered her true passion for reading, that had led to much of her success.

“I just started to read more, I read a lot of crime when I was still in the navy as a lot of us were into crime novels. It just seemed to be what we read,” she said.

“I read 65 books last year and I read more than one a week. I’ve read 51 so far this year and I’ve got a Good Reads target and I’ve participated in a number of reading challenges.”

Having completed an arts degree in literature at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Tracey continued reading books both on and off the ocean.

Since leaving the navy, Tracey launched her book review blog Carpe Librum, which features new book reviews, giveaways, author interviews and literary news.

Tracey’s site has developed a mass following, having interviewed some of Australia’s most noted authors including Honey Brown, John Safran and Ken Duncan.

In the last three years, Tracey’s site has attracted the attention of significant publishers, including Simon & Schuster, Pan Macmillan Australia, Scribe Publications, Hachette Australia, and Allen & Unwin.

She now also writes paid reviews for Boomerang Books, has edited and proofread two books in print and is on the review lists of many Australian authors and publishers all thanks to her blog, which she said had come a long way.

“As my site improved and became more popular things just started to snowball,” she said.

“I remember when I was just getting 30 hits a day and I was thinking that’s amazing and they can’t all be my friends! Now I get anywhere between 7000 and 11,000 a month.”

“All my personal leisure time is books and reading, interviewing authors, liaising with publishers and it gives me a real buzz.”

Since moving her home and office to Southbank this year, Tracey hasn’t wasted anytime getting involved in her new community either.

As well as being active within her own building having recently worked with the owners’ committee to establish an inaugural Halloween event for her fellow residents, she has also jumped straight into the role of secretary of the Southbank Residents Group following the group’s AGM in October.

Less than three months after moving to Southbank, she also demonstrated her credentials as a community watchdog by having a man arrested for breaking into vehicles at a nearby property.

“I saw him from my balcony breaking into cars in the car park at Eureka and made two reports to police who arrested him in action,” she said.

“He was wanted on two outstanding warrants, pleaded guilty straight away and went to jail.”

“The best part was that the victims had all of their personal belongings returned,” she said.

Having had their hearts set on living in Southbank for a long time, she said she and Brett were very much enjoying their new location and looked forward to many more years living in the area.  

“We looked for over a year and Southbank was just very attractive for its proximity to the city, the views and public transport,” she said.

“I just like vibe down here it seems more creative and more friendly.”

To read Tracey’s blog visit

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