Farming

20 Years of Outback Magazine

It’s been 20 years of telling stories of the bush for Outback Magazine. How lucky am I to have been on board for the past six! #dreamjob. It was such a privilege to be invited to share what it means to be a contributor:

“Absolutely nothing beats an email from the Outback editorial team asking me if I’m up for a road trip. Any time! I’ve been to so many places I may not otherwise have ventured, sharing stories, tears, celebrations, secrets, campfires and meals with the most genuine people. Good people. And oh the laughs! (Especially when photographer Robert Lang is within cooee.)

Interviews turn into unbreakable bonds, with promises of return visits. On Wilpoorinna Station, in outback South Australia, Lyn Litchfield’s baked chops are well worth the 13-hour drive from my farm on the Limestone Coast. And I’m still in awe of the Anzac Day dawn service on the Birdsville Track’s Cowarie Station. I’ll be back, Oldfields!

I’ve slept in dongas, shearers’ quarters and swags under the stars, and will be forever grateful to the shift manager of the Prairie Hotel at Parachilna who took one look at me after a dusty assignment and offered me substantial room upgrade – add it to your bucket list! The one constant that I’ve encountered in my extraordinary role as an Outback contributor is the universal high regard for the magazine. It’s trusted, honest and frank – far from pretentious – but it’s also filled with optimism and friendship. Such wonderful qualities in anyone’s book.”

Tatiara District Council Videos

Following on from the success of the sustainable Mundulla community video produced in partnership with RT Images, I was engaged by Tatiara District Council to produce a series of short videos highlighting the economic development and opportunities within their various townships, including Padthaway – a picturesque place steeped in history, with incredible industry diversity.

It’s also a place filled with movers and shakers who simply love their little town. Here’s one of our videos:

 

Inside South Australia

I was  involved in a Brand SA project throughout 2016, sharing good news stories from the Limestone Coast for the Inside South Australia website.

Photo by Ockert Le Roux http://www.oxenburg.com

I was so lucky to have the opportunity to write about people I seriously admire, including photographer Ockert Le Roux, whose striking images are not only luring tourists to the region but inspiring locals to explore their own backyard. Brian and Benedetta Wagner from Wagner’s Rose Nursery at Kalangadoo, vegan cook Leah Franklin from ‘just frank’, and the uber successful Generations in Jazz music festival (which is on again from May 5-7, 2017) also feature on the website. 

The 90 x 40-metre tent housing last year’s 6000-strong crowd was the largest big top South Australia has ever seen.

Mundulla’s Sustainable Community

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a tidier, more community-driven town than Mundulla on SA’s Limestone Coast. It’s total tree-change perfection, from the gorgeous sculptures awaiting discovery on the walking trail…

To the historic buildings…

And those idyllic farming scenes that look straight from a film set!

RT Images and I made this video as part of Mundulla’s national entry for the KESAB Sustainable Communities award. We also have some more good news stories on Tatiara towns coming soon!

Robotic Dairies – PIEFA Project

Over the last couple of years, I have been working on the production of a series of videos for the Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia (PIEFA) and Primezone in conjunction with creative agency Hello Friday. We have filmed at a cotton farm, a cotton mill, a piggery, a fish farm, a hydroponic herb grower, an organic apple farm, a woollen mill, a lobster factory, native bush foods growers, restaurants…the list is long!

It’s incredible (and exciting) to see how far technology has come; there was none of that getting up at the crack of dawn bizzo at the robotic dairy we visited in WA – unless, of course, you get a smart phone alert to say that one of the cows hasn’t come in to be milked.

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Do-it-yourself milking

Technician Robbie Nichols and dairy farmer Malcom Hick explain how it works…

Wagner’s Rose Nursery Video

Wagner’s Rose Nursery is one of my favourite places on SA’s Limestone Coast – pure heaven is a paddock of pretty roses surrounded by majestic gums!

It is impossible to leave this property uninspired – or empty-handed.

I recently finished producing this video which provides an overview of the business:

 

Paddock to Plate – Potatoes SA

Potatoes SA says it’s time to see potatoes in their true light – as ultra-nutritious, versatile vegetables grown in clean, healthy environments.

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I worked on the production of a new potatoes ‘Paddock to Plate’ video hosted by wellness and nutrition guru Joanna Fincham from The Nourish Nook.

IMG_1088My kitchen played a cameo role during the cooking segment!

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Here’s the newly launched video:

The real story behind the Oddball movie

How low can a fox go? In Warrnambool, the depths are quite extraordinary. The coastal town’s Middle Island little penguin population plummeted from several hundred seabirds to single digits during the 2004-05 breeding season, and foxes were to blame; they had been swimming across from the mainland for a feed. Furious locals declared that the annual massacre had to stop, but how to outwit a cunning fox? Ask a chicken farmer.

maremmas

Local poultry expert Alan ‘Swampy’ Marsh had been having enormous success using Maremmas to protect his free range chooks, and suggested sending a dog across the channel to guard the penguins. The idea ruffled a few feathers, for it was a world-first, but Swampy’s dog, Oddball, passed a four-week trial with flying colours – the island has been fox-free ever since. I shared the tale in the Dec-Jan issue of Outback magazine, while the story of the penguin protectors has also made it onto the big screen, with the movie Oddball directly inspired by the Middle Island Maremma Project.

Picture courtesy Roadshow Films

Picture courtesy Roadshow Films

Greater Hamilton – Instructional Video

The Southern Grampians Shire has developed an incredible online resource to help current and future investors discover the land use possibilities of Greater Hamilton. I worked with RT Images to create this instructional video which demonstrates how to use interactive digital maps to investigate growth potential according to soil type, climate, commodity or location.

Border Inn Hotel’s Rebirth – Outback Magazine

The ‘closed’ sign had been on the door of Apsley’s historic Border Inn Hotel for more than two years when a group of locals figured it must be their shout. While the small farming community in Victoria’s far west had adjusted to the loss of its general store and fuel station, the pub was a different story; the town was missing its social hub.

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Just over a year ago, a 23-strong syndicate of locals brought the 165-year-old business back to life.

“We didn’t know each other particularly well, and when you first get a group of people together, it takes a while to find where you belong, but we soon worked it out because it never would have got up and running unless everyone rolled up their sleeves and got into it,” says cattleman-cum-publican Noel Ogilvie.

“People ask how we make it work, but we have made an effort to make it work because we are passionate about it,” says fellow farmer-shareholder Simon Robinson.

What does it take to get a beer in Apsley? Twelve farming families, a retired stockbroker and a ‘sold’ sticker.

What does it take to get a beer in Apsley? Twelve farming families, a retired stockbroker and a ‘sold’ sticker.

My story on this community-minded mob appears in the October/November 2015 edition of Outback Magazine. Amazing cover!!

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