They come from very different backgrounds, but a chance meeting between TV executive Anne and electrician Rob has seen them become one of Breakfast Point’s most inspiring couples. Here, the pair talk sliding doors, survival and staying optimistic.


By Rachel Sharp

Anne Bottomley:  

 

“Rob and I have a meeting of the minds in that we’re both glass-half-full people. Every day we acknowledge how lucky we are and that we’re happy to have met, despite the challenges since then. I’m just glad it all happened the way it did. 

 

 

Rob is an electrician and he made an emergency visit to my apartment one New Year’s Day because I’d lost all my power. I watched him from the top of the stairwell as he walked up to the second floor where I lived. He was out of uniform, smiling and with his beautiful daughter Trinity, who was around 7 years old at the time. The instant feeling I had wasn’t a romantic one, but I just remember thinking, wow, this guy has the most fantastic energy, I really like him. It definitely was sparks at first sight. We had mutual friends too – the owner of a real estate agency Rob did a lot of contract electrical work for is married to a friend I worked with at [television station] Channel 10. Fast forward and we’ve just had the 10-year anniversary of our first date in April. Trinity is almost 18 now.

 

Rob’s mind works in a way mine never will and I love that about him. My dad is an engineer, a man of few words, but very practical, and after meeting Rob his first comment was, ‘He’s a very capable man’. Coming from my dad, that’s quite the compliment. I call Rob my MacGyver – he can fix everything and just sees solutions. 

 

 

Despite different cultural upbringings, we’re both very family oriented. Rob grew up in Earlwood, but his parents are Italian and from two very small islands off the coast of Sicily. I grew up in a lovely little country town just south of Hobart called Snug. His mum is one of 12 kids and his dad’s one of six. Rob and I are both the youngest of four siblings, so we both have small island culture and connection to family at heart. I think that really clinched it for Rob because family is so important for him. 

 

We talked about getting married from very early on but wanted to set ourselves up first. Rob was renting in Breakfast Point, so we bought a property here and moved in together. 

 

There was never any question about settling here – when you drive into Breakfast Point, it’s like invisible gates close behind you and you feel like you’re always on holiday. I walk around it every day and can see how well our strata is spent – there are gardeners here six days a week, no litter, no graffiti, the landscaping is so well thought out. We absolutely love it here.

 

Life was perfect and, unbeknownst to me, Rob was about to propose when out of the blue I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer at age 41. It was a complete shock – we have no family history and the genetic testing shows I don’t have the gene, but my beautiful cousin Michelle had been diagnosed with a different kind of breast cancer not long before and made me promise to go for a mammogram, even though I was still too young for government screening. I had no lump, nothing you could feel, but for a couple of weeks prior, I’d felt pain near my armpit that went down to my elbow when I stretched. I just figured I’d just pulled a muscle at the gym. Most GPs will tell you cancer doesn’t present with pain, but that’s absolute BS. Mine did – and it had already started to spread. 

 

 

There was no time to consider things like freezing eggs. I went straight into a double mastectomy, then a year of chemotherapy, then radiation at Chris O’Brien Lighthouse, where the care is amazing. And if I ever needed confirmation I’d chosen a perfect life partner in Rob, it was demonstrated then. He was incredible.

 

It’s funny, but now I’m in remission, I only have good memories of that whole time. I just feel so lucky to live in Australia with such incredible medical care and to be alive. I have a newfound respect for everyone in the medical profession and for the human body. That’s one of the reasons I’m studying clinical coding in my spare time. Every interaction someone has with a health service – whether it’s a GP or hospital or going to get a scan – must be turned into a set of codes and registered in a national database that informs vital things like government funding and research. It’s fascinating, but I only learned about it because of my experience with cancer.

 

 

Rob and I plan to get married on a boat next February on Sydney Harbour. All three of my chemo nurses will be there and I want one to be the celebrant. Sadly though, my wonderful, fearless cousin Michelle won’t be, as she lost her battle with cancer.

 

She loved Rob and is the reason I’m still alive, so I want to pass on the gift she gave me by telling all young women: don’t wait until you’re 50 for a mammogram. If I’d done that, I wouldn’t be here loving life in Breakfast Point today.”

“Life was perfect and, unbeknownst to me, Rob was about to propose when out of the blue I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer at age 41”

They come from very different backgrounds, but a chance meeting between TV executive Anne and electrician Rob has seen them become one of Breakfast Point’s most inspiring couples. Here, the pair talk sliding doors, survival and staying optimistic.


By Rachel Sharp

Anne Bottomley:  

 

“Rob and I have a meeting of the minds in that we’re both glass-half-full people. Every day we acknowledge how lucky we are and that we’re happy to have met, despite the challenges since then. I’m just glad it all happened the way it did. 


Rob is an electrician and he made an emergency visit to my apartment one New Year’s Day because I’d lost all my power. I watched him from the top of the stairwell as he walked up to the second floor where I lived. He was out of uniform, smiling and with his beautiful daughter Trinity, who was around 7 years old at the time. The instant feeling I had wasn’t a romantic one, but I just remember thinking, wow, this guy has the most fantastic energy, I really like him. It definitely was sparks at first sight. We had mutual friends too – the owner of a real estate agency Rob did a lot of contract electrical work for is married to a friend I worked with at [television station] Channel 10. Fast forward and we’ve just had the 10-year anniversary of our first date in April. Trinity is almost 18 now.


Rob’s mind works in a way mine never will and I love that about him. My dad is an engineer, a man of few words, but very practical, and after meeting Rob his first comment was, ‘He’s a very capable man’.Coming from my dad, that’s quite the compliment. I call Rob my MacGyver – he can fix everything and just sees solutions. 


Despite different cultural upbringings, we’re both very family oriented. Rob grew up in Earlwood, but his parents are Italian and from two very small islands off the coast of Sicily. I grew up in a lovely little country town just south of Hobart called Snug. His mum is one of 12 kids and his dad’s one of six. Rob and I are both the youngest of four siblings, so we both have small island culture and connection to family at heart. I think that really clinched it for Rob because family is so important for him. 

We talked about getting married from very early on but wanted to set ourselves up first. Rob was renting in Breakfast Point, so we bought a property here and moved in together. There was never any question about settling here – when you drive into Breakfast Point, it’s like invisible gates close behind you and you feel like you’re always on holiday. 


I walk around it every day and can see how well our strata is spent – there are gardeners here six days a week, no litter, no graffiti, the landscaping is so well thought out. We absolutely love it here.


Life was perfect and, unbeknownst to me, Rob was about to propose when out of the blue I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer at age 41. It was a complete shock – we have no family history and the genetic testing shows I don’t have the gene, but my beautiful cousin Michelle had been diagnosed with a different kind of breast cancer not long before and made me promise to go for a mammogram, even though I was still too young for government screening. I had no lump, nothing you could feel, but for a couple of weeks prior, I’d felt pain near my armpit that went down to my elbow when I stretched. I just figured I’d just pulled a muscle at the gym. Most GPs will tell you cancer doesn’t present with pain, but that’s absolute BS. Mine did – and it had already started to spread. 

“Life was perfect and, unbeknownst to me, Rob was about to propose when out of the blue I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer at age 41”

There was no time to consider things like freezing eggs. I went straight into a double mastectomy, then a year of chemotherapy, then radiation at Chris O’Brien Lighthouse, where the care is amazing. And if I ever needed confirmation I’d chosen a perfect life partner in Rob, it was demonstrated then. He was incredible.

 

 It’s funny, but now I’m in remission, I only have good memories of that whole time. I just feel so lucky to live in Australia with such incredible medical care and to be alive. I have a newfound respect for everyone in the medical profession and for the human body. That’s one of the reasons I’m studying clinical coding in my spare time. Every interaction someone has with a health service – whether it’s a GP or hospital or going to get a scan – must be turned into a set of codes and registered in a national database that informs vital things like government funding and research. It’s fascinating, but I only learned about it because of my experience with cancer.

 

Rob and I plan to get married on a boat next February on Sydney Harbour. All three of my chemo nurses will be there and I want one to be the celebrant. Sadly though, my wonderful, fearless cousin Michelle won’t be, as she lost her battle with cancer. She loved Rob and is the reason I’m still alive, so I want to pass on the gift she gave me by telling all young women: don’t wait until you’re 50 for a mammogram. If I’d done that, I wouldn’t be here loving life in Breakfast Point today.”

Rob Travia:

“I’m a wogboy, of Italian origin, my dad was an electrician and ever since I was 7 years old. I got two weeks off during the six-week summer school holidays, then four weeks at work with him. Up until the age of 13 I wanted to be a doctor, I also considered a career in architectural drawing but I am a hands-on kind of guy. After 13 years working for my dad, I left the family business and started my own, Angel Electrics – ‘In the dark, call a spark, we put the light back in your life’. I do electrical emergency work for many real estate agencies all over Sydney. It was through one of these agencies that I was called to visit Anne’s place and that’s how we met. It was a public holiday and my usual staff were on holiday, so I went with my daughter, Trinity, who I had for a month over the summer because her mum, my ex-wife, was in Italy. When I first walked up those stairs and saw Anne’s smile, there was just something there. I don’t want to be cheesy and say love at first sight, but there was that sense of calmness and warmth, like when sunlight hits your face.

 

 

About three weeks later, I went back to finish work on her place and that feeling was there again. I didn’t want to hit on her because she was a customer and that’s not my style but when I got home and realised she overpaid me $50 for coming on a public holiday, then refused to accept my refund, I suggested we use it on dinner or a movie. By our second date, I knew I wanted to marry her. In fact, I still get butterflies when I see her 10 years later. When I’m with her, I feel at peace. That’s why watching her go through cancer treatment absolutely killed me. I can fix pretty much anything – tiling, gyprocking, carpentry, bricklaying, concrete – but I couldn’t fix that. All I could do was try to support her and stay positive. On the day we got her biopsy results, her sisters came over and I opened a bottle of Veuve Champagne. No one felt like celebrating but I told them that we had to. We had to say cheers to the universe that we found the cancer because if we hadn’t, we all knew what she would soon be riddled with. We had to celebrate having a recovery plan. 

 

It was the same when her hair fell right after her first chemo. She’d be fine for a couple of days after every Thursday session, then by Monday it was like she’d been hit by a train, lying on the lounge. She could barely open her eyes, could barely speak. Her nails went black, but we said don’t be upset – this means the drugs are killing all the fast-growing cells, so they’re doing their job. Sometimes you have to dig deep to find the positive but it’s always there.

‘Sometimes you have to dig deep to find the positive but it’s always there.’ 

Anne is a person that sees the best in everybody. She never gossips, never complains. She is so loving and caring. When she meets you for the first time, she’ll give you a hug and really mean it. I wrote a poem once when I was young that went, ‘Here I lay, with deafening sounds of silence, because my circle is not complete without my centre’. She is my centre. She grounds me.

 

I planned to propose on our six-month anniversary in front of this massive tree at her parents’ house in Tasmania that I’d carved our initials into. She’d played in that tree when she was young and it was our special place. 

A designer from Poland made the ring for me. Then she got cancer, so I waited; the proposal deserved its own pedestal, its own moment, and I wanted her to focus all her energy on the recovery. Then Covid hit and we couldn’t travel, so I kept waiting. As soon as lockdowns ended and I could fly Anne and my parents there, I finally got down on one knee in front of that tree. We’ve renamed the field as Love Tree Paddock. You see happy endings do happen.”

Rob Travia:

“I’m a wogboy, of Italian origin, my dad was an electrician and ever since I was 7 years old. 
I got two weeks off during the six-week summer school holidays, then four weeks at work with him. Up until the age of 13 I wanted to be a doctor, I also considered a career in architectural drawing but I am a hands-on kind of guy. After 13 years working for my dad, I left the family business and started my own, Angel Electrics – ‘In the dark, call a spark, we put the light back in your life’. I do electrical emergency work for many real estate agencies all over Sydney. It was through one of these agencies that I was called to visit Anne’s place and that’s how we met. It was a public holiday and my usual staff were on holiday, so I went with my daughter, Trinity, who I had for a month over the summer because her mum, my ex-wife, was in Italy. When I first walked up those stairs and saw Anne’s smile, there was just something there. I don’t want to be cheesy and say love at first sight, but there was that sense of calmness and warmth, like when sunlight hits your face.

 

About three weeks later, I went back to finish work on her place and that feeling was there again. I didn’t want to hit on her because she was a customer and that’s not my style but when I got home and realised she overpaid me $50 for coming on a public holiday, then refused to accept my refund, I suggested we use it on dinner or a movie. By our second date, I knew I wanted to marry her. In fact, I still get butterflies when I see her 10 years later. 

When I’m with her, I feel at peace. That’s why watching her go through cancer treatment absolutely killed me. I can fix pretty much anything
– tiling, gyprocking, carpentry, bricklaying, concrete – but I couldn’t fix that. All I could do was try to support her and stay positive. On the day we got her biopsy results, her sisters came over and I opened a bottle of Veuve Champagne. No one felt like celebrating but I told them that we had to. We had to say cheers to the universe that we found the cancer because if we hadn’t, we all knew what she would soon be riddled with. We had to celebrate having a recovery plan. 

‘Sometimes you have to dig deep to find the positive but it’s always there.’ 

It was the same when her hair fell right after her first chemo. She’d be fine for a couple of days after every Thursday session, then by Monday it was like she’d been hit by a train, lying on the lounge. She could barely open her eyes, could barely speak. Her nails went black, but we said don’t be upset – this means the drugs are killing all the fast-growing cells, so they’re doing their job. Sometimes you have to dig deep to find the positive but it’s always there.

 

Anne is a person that sees the best in everybody. She never gossips, never complains. She is so loving and caring. When she meets you for the first time, she’ll give you a hug and really mean it. I wrote a poem once when I was young that went, ‘Here I lay, with deafening sounds of silence, because my circle is not complete without my centre’. She is my centre. She grounds me.


I planned to propose on our six-month anniversary in front of this massive tree at her parents’ house in Tasmania that I’d carved our initials into. She’d played in that tree when she was young and it was our special place. A designer from Poland made the ring for me. Then she got cancer, so I waited; the proposal deserved its own pedestal, its own moment, and I wanted her to focus all her energy on the recovery. Then Covid hit and we couldn’t travel, so I kept waiting. As soon as lockdowns ended and I could fly Anne and my parents there, I finally got down on one knee in front of that tree. We’ve renamed the field as Love Tree Paddock. You see happy endings do happen.”

They come from very different backgrounds, but a chance meeting between TV executive Anne and electrician Rob has seen them become one of Breakfast Point’s most inspiring couples. Here, the pair talk sliding doors, survival and staying optimistic.


By Rachel Sharp

Anne Bottomley:  

 

“Rob and I have a meeting of the minds in that we’re both glass-half-full people. Every day we acknowledge how lucky we are and that we’re happy to have met, despite the challenges since then. I’m just glad it all happened the way it did. 


Rob is an electrician and he made an emergency visit to my apartment one New Year’s Day because I’d lost all my power. I watched him from the top of the stairwell as he walked up to the second floor where I lived. He was out of uniform, smiling and with his beautiful daughter Trinity, who was around 7 years old at the time. The instant feeling I had wasn’t a romantic one, but I just remember thinking, wow, this guy has the most fantastic energy, I really like him. It definitely was sparks at first sight. We had mutual friends too – the owner of a real estate agency Rob did a lot of contract electrical work for is married to a friend I worked with at [television station] Channel 10. Fast forward and we’ve just had the 10-year anniversary of our first date in April. Trinity is almost 18 now.


Rob’s mind works in a way mine never will and I love that about him. My dad is an engineer, a man of few words, but very practical, and after meeting Rob his first comment was, ‘He’s a very capable man’.Coming from my dad, that’s quite the compliment. I call Rob my MacGyver – he can fix everything and just sees solutions. Despite different cultural upbringings, we’re both very family oriented. Rob grew up in Earlwood, but his parents are Italian and from two very small islands off the coast of Sicily. I grew up in a lovely little country town just south of Hobart called Snug. His mum is one of 12 kids and his dad’s one of six. Rob and I are both the youngest of four siblings, so we both have small island culture and connection to family at heart. I think that really clinched it for Rob because family is so important for him. 


We talked about getting married from very early on but wanted to set ourselves up first. Rob was renting in Breakfast Point, so we bought a property here and moved in together. There was never any question about settling here – when you drive into Breakfast Point, it’s like invisible gates close behind you and you feel like you’re always on holiday. I walk around it every day and can see how well our strata is spent – there are gardeners here six days a week, no litter, no graffiti, the landscaping is so well thought out. We absolutely love it here.

“Life was perfect and, unbeknownst to me, Rob was about to propose when out of the blue I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer at age 41”

Life was perfect and, unbeknownst to me, Rob was about to propose when out of the blue I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer at age 41. It was a complete shock – we have no family history and the genetic testing shows I don’t have the gene, but my beautiful cousin Michelle had been diagnosed with a different kind of breast cancer not long before and made me promise to go for a mammogram, even though I was still too young for government screening. I had no lump, nothing you could feel, but for a couple of weeks prior, I’d felt pain near my armpit that went down to my elbow when I stretched. I just figured I’d just pulled a muscle at the gym. Most GPs will tell you cancer doesn’t present with pain, but that’s absolute BS. Mine did – and it had already started to spread. 


There was no time to consider things like freezing eggs. I went straight into a double mastectomy, then a year of chemotherapy, then radiation at Chris O’Brien Lighthouse, where the care is amazing. And if I ever needed confirmation I’d chosen a perfect life partner in Rob, it was demonstrated then. He was incredible.


It’s funny, but now I’m in remission, I only have good memories of that whole time. I just feel so lucky to live in Australia with such incredible medical care and to be alive. I have a newfound respect for everyone in the medical profession and for the human body. That’s one of the reasons I’m studying clinical coding in my spare time. Every interaction someone has with a health service – whether it’s a GP or hospital or going to get a scan – must be turned into a set of codes and registered in a national database that informs vital things like government funding and research. It’s fascinating, but I only learned about it because of my experience with cancer.


Rob and I plan to get married on a boat next February on Sydney Harbour. All three of my chemo nurses will be there and I want one to be the celebrant. Sadly though, my wonderful, fearless cousin Michelle won’t be, as she lost her battle with cancer. She loved Rob and is the reason I’m still alive, so I want to pass on the gift she gave me by telling all young women: don’t wait until you’re 50 for a mammogram. If I’d done that, I wouldn’t be here loving life in Breakfast Point today.”

Rob Travia:

“I’m a wogboy, of Italian origin, my dad was an electrician and ever since I was 7 years old. I got two weeks off during the six-week summer school holidays, then four weeks at work with him. Up until the age of 13 I wanted to be a doctor, I also considered a career in architectural drawing but I am a hands-on kind of guy. After 13 years working for my dad, I left the family business and started my own, Angel Electrics – ‘In the dark, call a spark, we put the light back in your life’. I do electrical emergency work for many real estate agencies all over Sydney. It was through one of these agencies that I was called to visit Anne’s place and that’s how we met. It was a public holiday and my usual staff were on holiday, so I went with my daughter, Trinity, who I had for a month over the summer because her mum, my ex-wife, was in Italy. When I first walked up those stairs and saw Anne’s smile, there was just something there. I don’t want to be cheesy and say love at first sight, but there was that sense of calmness and warmth, like when sunlight hits your face.


About three weeks later, I went back to finish work on her place and that feeling was there again. I didn’t want to hit on her because she was a customer and that’s not my style but when I got home and realised she overpaid me $50 for coming on a public holiday, then refused to accept my refund, I suggested we use it on dinner or a movie. By our second date, I knew I wanted to marry her. In fact, I still get butterflies when I see her 10 years later. When I’m with her, I feel at peace. That’s why watching her go through cancer treatment absolutely killed me. I can fix pretty much anything – tiling, gyprocking, carpentry, bricklaying, concrete – but I couldn’t fix that. All I could do was try to support her and stay positive. On the day we got her biopsy results, her sisters came over and I opened a bottle of Veuve Champagne. No one felt like celebrating but I told them that we had to. We had to say cheers to the universe that we found the cancer because if we hadn’t, we all knew what she would soon be riddled with. We had to celebrate having a recovery plan. 

‘Sometimes you have to dig deep to find the positive but it’s always there.’ 

It was the same when her hair fell right after her first chemo. She’d be fine for a couple of days after every Thursday session, then by Monday it was like she’d been hit by a train, lying on the lounge. She could barely open her eyes, could barely speak. Her nails went black, but we said don’t be upset – this means the drugs are killing all the fast-growing cells, so they’re doing their job. Sometimes you have to dig deep to find the positive but it’s always there.


Anne is a person that sees the best in everybody. She never gossips, never complains. She is so loving and caring. When she meets you for the first time, she’ll give you a hug and really mean it. I wrote a poem once when I was young that went, ‘Here I lay, with deafening sounds of silence, because my circle is not complete without my centre’. She is my centre. She grounds me.


I planned to propose on our six-month anniversary in front of this massive tree at her parents’ house in Tasmania that I’d carved our initials into. She’d played in that tree when she was young and it was our special place. A designer from Poland made the ring for me. Then she got cancer, so I waited; the proposal deserved its own pedestal, its own moment, and I wanted her to focus all her energy on the recovery. Then Covid hit and we couldn’t travel, so I kept waiting. As soon as lockdowns ended and I could fly Anne and my parents there, I finally got down on one knee in front of that tree. We’ve renamed the field as Love Tree Paddock. You see happy endings do happen.”

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