Liz Harfull

Women of the Land

Published by Allen & Unwin (2012)

Making your living from the land in Australia is not for the faint-hearted. Isolation, hard physical work, long hours and the vagaries of drought, floods and fire make it a challenging environment for any farmer. But how do you cope when you are a woman in what is traditionally a man’s world?

Women of the Land brings together the inspiring and heart-warming stories of eight rural women who run their own farms, or in the case of one, manage a cattle station on behalf of an entire community. Often juggling the demands of raising a family, they have overcome tragedy, personal fears, physical exhaustion and more than a little scepticism to build vibrant futures that sustain them and their families, in the process inspiring their neighbours and communities with their entrepreneurship, humility and determination.

Read the inspiring stories about the remarkable every day lives of:

  • Lynette Rideout, from Oakdale on the outskirts of Sydney, who reinvented the family orchard she inherited from her hard-working parents, and is inspired daily by her remarkable grandmother.
  • Victorian dairy farmer Jan Raleigh, a highly-qualified coronary care nurse who gave up caring for patients to care for cows, and establish one of Australia’s best performing herds of Aussie Red dairy cattle.
  • Nan Bray, an American oceanographer who walked away from a job with the CSIRO as Australia’s leading marine scientist to produce one of the world’s most elite fibres, superfine Merino wool in the Tasmanian Midlands.
  • Susie Chisholm from Adelong in NSW, the original ‘earth mother’, raised in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, who overcame the grief of losing the love of her life to cancer, to become an elite beef cattle breeder.
  • Cecily Cornish, from Wando Bridge in western Victoria, in her 80s and still farming sheep and cattle, and a passionate horse woman who, as a young woman, sailed to an England still recovering from the war to find and bring back a remarkable Arabian stallion that continues to influence the breed in Australia today.
  • Catherine Bird, Willalooka, SA, a station brat from the Northern Territory who survived a near fatal farming accident to raise a family and produce organic beef a world away from where she grew up.
  • Mary Naisbitt from Lake Grace, who took on a sheep and wheat farm in WA’s isolated salt lake country after her husband died suddenly leaving her with the farm and four children under the age of seven.
  • Keelen Mailman, Augathella QLD, the first Aboriginal woman in Australia to manage a cattle station.