Our people

Martin Shew

operations & marketing director

Previously responsible for the day-to-day operations of boutique accommodation ventures Lascelles and Lyon House, Martin Shew brings extensive experience as a technology and marketing strategist to the Vera team – resulting in an offering which is leading-edge in its business management systems and pristine in its delivery.

David Cook-Doulton

design & experience director

Bringing 30 years of work as a senior creative executive to the team, David Cook-Doulton has worked with some of the world’s leading tech, lifestyle and fashion brands. With an intuitive talent for innovation, design and the unearthing of opportunities, his conception of Vera came in response to an emerging niche seeking bespoke lifestyle accommodation in Ballarat.

Derek Boath & Underbar

Culinary Director & Chef

Chef Derek Boath has a passion for fine dining and brings his extensive culinary experience to Underbar Ballarat. Derek’s culinary career spans more than two decades, with experience gained at some of the world’s top restaurants, including three Michelin star New York restaurant “Per Se”. Derek has a keen focus on high quality ingredients and works with many wonderful local purveyors and natural ingredients foraged from Ballarat and the surrounding areas to inspire his menus.


Head of Guest Experience

to be announced

Vera’s Head of Guest Experience has an unrivaled passion for delivering personalised customer service, ensuring guests receive the highest degree of hospitality during their stay.


Pitch Architecture

With a mission to make unique architectural design more attainable, Pitch Architecture was tasked with the ambitious job of re-imagining the Vera mansion, adopting a considered approach which retained features of the original Victorian building while proposing a marked rejuvenation. The result was a series of unobtrusive and minimal modern insertions that integrated seamlessly with the fabric of the heritage space – creating a stunning sense of contrast and transition between old and new.

Studio All
lighting design
Studio All is a lighting design studio that harnesses the latest technologies, paired with pure creativity to provide lighting, design, engineering and energy solutions. Led by managing director Liam Petrie-Allbutt, the practice has worked on high-calibre restaurants, museums, galleries and hotel resorts across Liam’s 11 year career in lighting. For project Vera, Studio All has curated the visual experience and narrative of the theatre to complement David’s art direction. The lighting design complements the hotel’s brief of sustainability with a fully automated lighting system, while also designing special ‘moments’ for guests as they move about the property. The result is an immersive and ephemeral visual experience celebrating the story of Vera’s past, present and future.
PC Whitehall

PC Whitehall prides itself on applying a purposeful and modern approach to construction. The builders were entrusted with transforming the Vera dream into reality, harnessing the company’s traditional values to complement the spirit and vision of the project. Their approach was based on a firm commitment to maintaining the integrity of the existing building – delivering on the design intent without compromising quality and detail.

Lightning Thief
lighting and solar power solutions
Drawing inspiration from the rugged Australian coastline, Lightning Thief are boutique purveyors of lighting and energy solutions, working on residential and commercial projects country-wide. Serving alongside Studio All for the Vera project, the team was able to supply and install the especially unique luminaries and solar services that adorn the hotel.
Fifteen Trees
sustainability partner

Founded by Ballarat’s Colleen Filippa, Fifteen Trees is a social enterprise which joins forces with businesses to execute tree-planting projects and reduce their carbon footprint. Through its partner with Vera, the organisation has been able to plant 250 trees across the region, with many more set to be planted following each guest booking.

josh d. creative &
Explore Ballarat
visual content producer
Explore Ballarat’s Josh Driscoll hates harping on about himself. What he does enjoy, however, is creating media that showcases Ballarat and encourages visitors to fall in love with the city. As Vera’s visual content producer, he has documented the entire hotel build and will continue showcasing its splendour through engaging video content.
Stoke Design Co.
digital solutions

Creating crisp, engaging and innovative brands and websites while delivering personable and ever-friendly service – this is the Stoke way. Led by husband-and-wife team Leigh Ericksen and Emma Fortescue, the Ballarat-owned business has worked diligently and passionately to bring Vera’s graciousness to life online.

Vreeland Media
travelling contributor
With more than a decade of experience as a journalist and travel writer, Della shares her love for regional Victoria and her hometown of Ballarat through her role as Vera’s travelling contributor – unearthing all that lies in the region for the benefit of the hotel’s guests.
brand identity
Founded by award-winning graphic designers Rory Langdon and Rebecca Lorraine, langdonlorraine is a team of creative thinkers. The fashioners of Vera’s brand, they have loved working with David and Martin to bring the hotel’s essence to life through visual communications.