30 Years of Country Style

“In my old country, we never had a dream – and even if you had them, you couldn’t go for them. Here, we can have a dream for our future and while it may take us longer than others, we are willing to try. It’s up to us – that’s what I feel.” – Lal Lian

Kalangadoo Organic’s Chris and Michelle McColl loaned Lal, a refugee from western Myanmar, almost a hectare of highly prized organic soil so that he could produce his own crops to sell at local farmers’ markets. My November 2013 story of their inspirational friendship appears in Country Style magazine’s hardcover 30th anniversary compendium.

I have written many articles for Country Style over the years, and have made some wonderful friendships. I’m so thrilled that this gorgeous magazine endures.

Meet the Tower Guy

I love writing stories on people living the dream…

As a mobile travel agent, Ben Deering’s office can be anywhere with Wi-Fi and a laptop, so why not make it on top of a mountain?

Photo credit: Ockert le Roux

Mount Gambier’s Centenary Tower had been closed for two years when Ben volunteered to become its caretaker. He has brought the 114-year-old landmark back to life, with visitors from across the globe soaking up the epic view of the surrounding crater lakes and beyond.

Photo credit: Ben Deering

During quiet patches, Ben dons his other travel hat, booking itineraries abroad for corporate clients in Adelaide and the eastern seaboard. He also takes some pretty epic photos from his castle in the clouds…

Photo credit: Ben Deering

My article on Ben can be found here at InDaily.

Chameleons of the Sea

A priceless underwater eco-revolution is underway at Point Lowly, South Australia, with population numbers of Giant Australian Cuttlefish on the rise.

Growing numbers of divers and snorkelers are heading west to witness nature’s wonder. Local diver, Tony Bramley, calls Sepia apama ‘chameleons of the sea’ due to their fascinating ability to change colour and texture according to their surrounds. He says to add it to your bucket list:

“Anyone can do it; you just walk into the water up to your neck, put a mask on your face and lean forward. There it is – one of the most amazing marine spectacles on the planet right at your feet.”

My article appears in RM Williams Outback Magazine’s Feb-Mar 2019 issue.

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.”

Greater Hamilton is My Place

I had such a fantastic time working with Southern Grampians Shire Council developing and directing their latest small-budget TVC campaign. This thriving corner of Western Victoria is full of movers and shakers and the friendliest, fun people. Love it!

We asked some high-profile locals like artists Jasmine Mansbridge, Grotti Lotti and Bunyip Hotel Cavendish chef Jimmy Campbell (formerly of MoVida) why they’re living the dream in this gorgeous part of the world.

Australia in Style

Very, VERY excited to receive a copy of this incredible book produced by RM Williams Publishing in conjunction with The Tailor – Australia’s premier luxury travel specialist. 

I wrote two of the articles, and one of them involved a trip to Port Lincoln…immersing myself in the experiences on offer when you book a tour through Goin Off Safaris. Here’s some highlights:

Generations in Jazz – Mount Gambier

Mount Gambier in SA’s Limestone Coast is Australia’s jazz hot spot largely thanks to Generations in Jazz, and it’s my job to help spread the word. This spectacular annual event on the outskirts of the city made famous for its Blue Lake not only attracts the jazz legends of today, but the bright stars of tomorrow, bringing together up to 4400 of Australia’s most talented musicians, along with a growing list of global artists.

High school students from more than 100 schools around the nation compete in the Stage Band Awards, while highly coveted Jazz and Vocal Scholarships help to secure the musical destiny of individuals with enormous promise. And then there are the daily concerts – the sound inside the James Morrison big top pavilion, seating up to 6100 people in the middle of a paddock, is simply incredible!

The big top-style James Morrison Pavilion is the largest tent to have been erected in Australia for a seated audience, with more than 6100 chairs!

The James Morrison Pavilion is the largest tent ever to have been erected in Australia for a seated audience.

Australian music icon Kate Ceberano was a special guest at the 2016 event, and I interviewed her about her visit to Australia’s “jazz capital”. What a glowing endorsement!

 

Labour of Love – Australian Period Home Style

Step back in time to Australia in the 1890s, and the bold era of boom style classicism design…

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Extravagance, exuberance and even recklessness were the order of the day, as the nation toasted a post-depression period full of promise. When you add love to the equation, anything is possible, as evidenced by this exquisite country mansion completed in 1896 as a wedding gift to a lucky bride. An entrance hall with removable doors should you wish to dance…

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Delicate hand-painted stained glass specially delivered from Melbourne, sash windows so high that you could step straight outside, plus many more fine details for this farmer’s wife-to-be.

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The besotted groom wanted to leave a lasting impression, and the property remains as breathtaking as ever thanks to a couple of modern-day cupids who believed in the fairy tale. My story on this incredible country Victorian property appears in Volume 10 of Australian Period Home Style magazine.

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Profile on Rural Woman of the Year Sarah Powell

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Picture courtesy Outback Magazine

I was privileged to profile Australia’s Rural Woman of the Year, Sarah Powell, for the Dec-Jan issue of Outback Magazine.

Sarah came to the judges’ attention after developing a Champions Academy leadership program which promotes regional strength and resilience for future generations by creating a culture of mentoring within sporting clubs.

But friends and colleagues like Shelley Evans-Wild have known all along that she is a shining star: “She is an awesome communicator – so unassuming, yet she diplomatically presses buttons and is a troublemaker in all the right ways as she doesn’t shy away from the questions that need to be asked,” Shelley says. “You’re held to account, but it’s done graciously, and somehow you’re smiling about it. Who does that at her age? She is quite an amazing young woman – she is a lighthouse that doesn’t know she is a lighthouse.”

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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.

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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

Welcome!

I’m Gretel Sneath, accomplished freelance writer & storyteller. When I'm not on the road, you'll find me on South Australia's Limestone Coast.

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