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Bibliophile | Liz Harfull celebrates women who live 'A Farming Life'

A Farming Life
by Liz Harfull
Allen & Unwin

Liz Harfull is passionate about unearthing the histories and telling the stories of extraordinary everyday people who make up our communities, especially in rural and regional Australia.

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In A Farming Life, Harfull has collected incredible stories of resilience from inspiring rural women – women who manage their own farms, who have worked hard, who have been prepared to give things a go, who have confronted challenges and who are optimistic about the future of farming in Australia.

Belinda Williams is a third generation farmer who loves growing vegetables and her partner Michelle O’Regan is a police officer helping disadvantaged youth. They have been together for over 20 years and both contribute to the enormous vegetable growing enterprise and educating people about how their food is grown.

Ruth Robinson was the first female to be recognised as one of the top graduates in the hundred year history of Roseworthy Agriculture College and was running her family farm by the age of 23. Nancy Withers is one of Australia’s most highly regarded Kelpie breeders and trainers who began breeding the working dog in 1974.

Kelly Dowling’s family has been in the wool business for over 150 years and after training as an army officer, Kelly took over the Dowling farming enterprise, overcame life-threatening illness and heart-breaking loss to quadruple its size.

Kirsten Clark returned home from university after graduating to help her sister and mother through one of the worst droughts in Australia’s history, but she thought it was much better than commuting for 40 minutes a day to sit behind a computer in an office with no windows.

Amber Driver flies her single-engine Cessna to her cattle station that is 80 minutes north east of Alice Springs. By road it is “a torturous bone-rattling five hours”. Not only are her achievements inspiring, she actively works to ensure a healthy future for farms in the Northern Territory.

Read about the women who have had huge impacts on farming in Australia and also made enormous contributions to their communities. They are not just inspirations to the next generation of rural women … their resilience in action is inspirational to everyone.

Lezly Herbert


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