Rural Reflections #6

With Australia Day on the weekend, it has made me think about our history and appreciate the hard times that our ancestors had lived through.  We are so lucky today to have the freedom, the technology and the many opportunistic events within our lives.  As I reflect back and acknowledge our history, it gives me reason to celebrate my love for Australia, the land, the lifestyle, the democracy and the people.

From our indigenous heritage, to those who have come from all corners of the globe to call our country home, we are united within our dynamic nation, regardless of where our stories began and our cultural diversity.  Aboriginal people had lived on this land, that we now call Australia, for more than 65,000 years.  On 26th January 1788, eleven convict ships from Great Britain, arrived at Sydney Cove, marking the start of a new colony on this beautiful land.  Every year, Australia Day is celebrated as a national holiday to reflect on what it means to be Australian.

Some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have mixed feelings about this day, as some consider it to be a day of mourning or survival of their culture.  As they were the traditional custodians of this land… respect, trust and positive relationships have been promoted through the Reconciliation process.  Australia Day aspires to be a celebration of our nation, gives recognition to all of our history and unites us all as Australian people in our diverse nation.

Farming was important from the very first day that the ships arrived in Australia.  Sheep were one of the first domesticated animals to be introduced into Australia at this time.  Within 50 years of their arrival, sheep had become the main source of income for the Australian agricultural industry.  Originally, sheep were not raised for meat, but for wool, and quite quickly the Australian export of sheep became more profitable than any country in the world.

​​Nowadays, Australia is the world’s number one producer of premium quality fine wool and is the largest producer of all wools by value and volume.  The total wool produced in Australia is 324,900 tonnes greasy (shorn wool prior to treatment).  

There are around 70 million sheep in Australia, producing an average of 4.6kg of wool per head.  The value of wool produced in Australia averages AU$3 billion dollars, which reflects the continuing strong global demand for Australian wool.    

So with the recognition of our history and thinking about sheep in Australia, I thought it would be appropriate to share this photo from our property.  It shows the heritage-listed shearers’ quarters that was on our property when we purchased it.  The photo was taken in April 2017 when green grass actually existed here.

Rural Reflection #6…

06 The Authentic Comforts of a Shearers' Quarters Heritage

image subject to copyright

I like this photo because it represents the little comforts of long ago, providing shelter and warmth… and sadly probably not much more than that.  It also depicts in my mind, the hard back-breaking work of the shearers’ resting before another long day’s work.  These shearers’ quarters are no longer in use, but as we drive past it every day on the farm, I acknowledge the history of this rustic structure with original timber walls and the authentic culture that lies within.

We need to all acknowledge the history around us and recognise the impact within our lives.  Historical events have happened, well out of our control… but we have the choice how we react to these events.  Incidents in our past, mould our personality and behaviour.  We have the control to make a difference in our lives and the world we live in.  As an Australian, I choose to enjoy the freedom in our nation, accept the wrongs that have happened in the past, let go of negativity, work hard for an industry that I love and be the best person I can be.  What do you choose?

Take care, Karen.

“We are not makers of history.

We are made by history.”

~ Martin Luther King, Jr 


National Agriculture Day Nurtured But Revelations Exposed

Have you eaten today?  Are you wearing something comfortable?  Did you put on some perfume or cosmetics this morning?  Thank you to our farmers, they are working hard every day… so we can eat and don’t need to run around naked.  (Scary thought huh!)  Today we celebrate.

It is my purpose to help you understand the direct relationship between food and agriculture, and the importance of food and fibre in our culture.  What you will find surprising in my blog is the revelation that, the extra products manufactured from raw agricultural products… and we use these items every single day.  What are they?

Today is the day to formally acknowledge Agriculture and the significant contribution that Australian farming and the agricultural related industries are making to ensure our nation is food secure and satisfying our community needs.  Nutritious Australian grown food and produce assures us of high eating quality, safe and affordable foods.  Food safety standards are in place to regularly monitor farming businesses to ensure our food supply continues to be safe and suitable for eating.

Farmers are feeding a hungry world, caring for the environment and creating important jobs in rural communities.  Through technological advancements and innovation, farmers are becoming more sustainable in quality and quantity and able to feed more people.  Not only are we provided with quality and healthy food products, we are also able to wear clothing made by our Australian-produced superior fibres like wool and cotton.

Wool is the textile fibre produced most commonly from sheep and Australia is one of the largest wool producers, producing about 25% of the global wool clip.  Merino sheep produce the finest wool.  Wool is a natural fibre with unique breathable but insulating qualities.  Wool is used in a vast array of clothing, from underwear to luxury suits.  Wool is also produced from other animals such as cashmere and mohair from goats, and angora from rabbits.  Some wool is also used to manufacture carpets, bedding and quilts.

Cotton is both a food and fibre product and almost all parts of the cotton plant are used in some way.  We use less land to produce more cotton than any other nation and the most water-efficient cotton producer globally.  Cotton is a soft, absorbent, non-allergenic and a breathable natural fibre.  About 60% of the world’s cotton harvest is used to make clothing.  The rest is used in home furnishings and industrial products such as tents, fishnets, book-binding, paper for bank notes, bandages, cotton buds and x-rays.

Cottonseed is mainly used to make cottonseed oil, margarine and salad dressings.  But it also is used in the manufacture of soap, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, rubber, paint and candles.  Cottonseed is also used to make stock feed which has been used excessively in the current drought, making it more difficult to meet the demand.

The Cattle industry is the largest farming sector in Australian agriculture, accounting for approximately 55% of all farms.  Although Australia is a smaller producer of beef, we are the second largest exporter of beef in the world.  We produce both grass and grain-fed beef.  Beef quality is determined by the size of the beef cuts produced from an animal and the marbling of the beef.  Australian beef cattle farmers produce 2.1 million tonnes of beef and veal each year, which is safe and of high-quality due to our industry standards.

Not only do we get to enjoy mouth-watering steaks and a variety of delicious beef products, many other products are also made from the cattle industry.  This is why the beef industry is so important (even if you do not eat much beef) as the manufacturing of other products makes it a very versatile industry.  Examples of other products include medicines, dyes, inks, adhesives, plastics, pet food, plant food, photo film, wallpaper, plywood, air filters, brushes, felt, insulation, plaster, textiles, fertiliser, charcoal, tennis racquet strings, hormones, vitamins, cosmetics, chewing gum, detergents, deodorant, shaving cream, perfume, lotions, paints, lubricants, biodiesel, cement, chalk, fireworks, matches and shampoo.  So yes, everyone is using some of these products every single day, thank you to the beef cattle industry.

Farmers are producing many agricultural commodities each and every day… wheat, grains, dairy, wine, sugar, horticulture products, fruit, vegetables, fish, pork, chicken, sheep and lamb, the list seems endless.  In Australia, 385,000 hectares are dedicated to farming land to produce our primary agricultural products.  Agriculture does make our world a better place.

So next time you are warm in your woolen jacket or wearing your comfortable cotton panties… give the farmer a second thought!

Next time you bite into your hamburger… please acknowledge the many hours that farmers gave, to provide you with a flavoursome experience of a nourishing beef patty, sizzling onions, crisp lettuce, tasty tomato, all held together on a bun enticed by our wheat farmers.

Every time you chew and taste a tender steak with a glass of wine… recognise how lucky we are to enjoy delicious, nutritious and top-quality food in our country.

Tonight when you shower… remind yourself that our agricultural industry helped me to wash my hair, lather myself with soap and apply our anti-aging moisturiser.

And on New Year’s Eve or at the Show… enjoy those fireworks, with a sense of appreciation to our farmers.

Today, we celebrate how agriculture makes our nation a better place.

For more information about National Agriculture Day see

Take care, Karen.

“Farmers don’t just work til the sun goes down,

They work til the job gets done.”

~ Author Unknown