Respecting the past, meeting the future

Seeing those legendary gates of Terrick Terrick, a renowned sheep breeding and wool growing property now displayed in Blackall’s Ram Park, was for me a recognition of a great past and a renewed optimism for the future.

I was visiting Blackall for the 20th annual Queensland Regional, Rural and Remote Women’s Conference in September.  I was excited and slightly in awe of changes and developments in the 20 years since I last visited.  I was in some disbelief it had been so long but the presence of my two young sons, 5 and 3, the evidence was undeniable.

I had first visited this area as part of a shearing team in 1990 and again in my final year at university in 1993.  These times made a lasting impression.  My professional life has and remains very much on rural issues.  For almost a decade it focused on the wool industry.  Much of it was in the inside country and overseas. When I was 14 and deciding, somewhat unexpectedly, to work in the country given my city upbringing, I pored over the many pastoral books about the great stations waiting for the next school holidays to get still more work experience. Seeing those Terrick Terrick gates brought back so many years of learning and trying to understand a country that I found at times unforgiving but ultimately rewarding and memorable.

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Voicing the future for Australian agriculture

It was my first Queensland Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s Network conference.  It was the 20th year since the organisation began.  It was also 20 years since I had been in central western Queensland.  Much had changed.  As had my appreciation of the many issues facing agriculture today.  From the politics within the industry and its leadership to the corporatisation of the sector, pressures from competing land uses and greater consumer expectation of responsible production.

The theme of the conference was ‘women with heart, passion and purpose’.  While familiar with industry conferences, this conference was personal.  It spoke to and sought to give women working in the many facets of agriculture the confidence and support to speak on behalf of their industry, their communities and their families.

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