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1993 Tallangatta WoFG

Activities, Women on Farms Gathering, Tallangatta 1993

Image: Activities, Women on Farms Gathering, Tallangatta 1993

Source: Museum Victoria

Date: 2-4 April 1993.

Location: Tallangatta Memorial Hall and The Hub Community Education Centre.

Theme: Unity with Diversity. In choosing this theme, the Tallangatta committee wanted to demonstrate how "agriculture has many diverse industries, each with its own unique needs and challenges which are common to them all."

Icon: Magic Wand

Highlights: The committee for the Tallangatta Gathering was formed in the immediate aftermath of the 1992 Numurkah Gathering, and according to the Tallangatta Proceedings, their aim was "to gather women on farms in a celebration of their skills and to recognise and develop their potential in personal, public and agricultural pursuits." Attended by some 230 people, the Gathering was officially opened by farmer and wife of former Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer, Judy Brewer (Fischer). Reflecting on her own experience of working on a family farm and eventually running her own farm, Judy remarked that "I wish there'd been gatherings of farming women like this for decades. How great it is now, to have a network of friends that understand the trials and tribulations of farming life as a woman. How thrilled I am that at last women on farms are being represented on government bodies and industry groups." This speech was listed in the evaluation surveys as being a highlight of the Gathering. Also a highlight was a play that was written by Alana Johnson and performed by a cast of local farming women. This play dealt with the serious and often distressing issue of farm succession. The importance of open communication, including the freedom to express opinions as well as listen to others, was found to be paramount to the resolution of this difficult issue.

The 1993 Tallangatta Gathering was the first Gathering to display the Women on Farms Gathering perpetual banner and patches. Denise Kirk from the Tallangatta organising committee designed the logo and embroidered the banner, and patches from the previous two Gatherings were added alongside the Tallangatta patch. The banner was displayed and celebrated throughout the weekend. Local women's stories were also celebrated during the Tallangatta Gathering, with seven local women and one international woman sharing their life stories. Joan Miller, for example, reflected on her experience of joining the Women's Land Army during World War Two. She spoke of her memories of milking cows and then continued on with an account of her post-war life on a dairy farm. According to the Tallangatta Gathering Proceedings, "One way of recognition of a person is to listen to their story. So it is that at the Gatherings we have laughed and cried, celebrated and mourned, empathised with and applauded women who have shared their stories."

The Tallangatta Gathering was closed with some "celebrations", which encompassed the rituals of music, storytelling, fire and gifts. During the closing celebration, the icon for the Tallangata Gathering - the Magic Wand- was officially passed onto the 1994 Glenormiston Gathering Committee.

Workshops: Financial Management, Employee Management and Administration, Value-Adding, Landcare in Your Community, Pastures for Productivity and Profit, Chemicals - Choices and Chances, Home-Based Sideline Industries, Farm Safety - Fact or Fiction, Transferring the Family Farm, Campaigning for Better Farm-Gate Prices, Sustainable Agriculture for Families and Communities, Equity and Management, Having a Voice in Your Industry, Making Changes in Our Lives, Stand Up Against Assault, Self Development, Women's Health, Understanding Loss and Change, Taking Care of Our Responsibilities Without Neglecting Ourselves, Creative Cleaning and Protecting the Environment, The A-Z of Nutrition, Public Speaking, Family Relationships, Seasons of Change, Celebrating the Land, The Earth, Air, Fire and Water, Astrology, Use Your Natural Voice, Massage and Relaxation.

Reflections:

"There would be many women out there on farms, just like me - self-taught - who can fill positions in a male dominated environment. As women, we can achieve whatever we so desire with the only limitations being those we put on ourselves." Pat Swasbrick, Tallangatta Gathering Proceedings, 1993.

"I gained confidence to approach business people and seek correct and useful information, while discovering my own and other women's talents and friendship. I gained vitality and determination to stand up for women farmer's rights and ideas." Denise Kirk, Tallangatta Organising Committee Member in Tallangatta Gathering Proceedings, 1993.

"I came home with not only a new confidence and belief in people, but also to resolve to continue to expand and explore myself more." Bev Hoffman, Tallangatta Gathering Proceedings, 1993.

"Gatherings are important to me because sometimes the men on our property don't appreciate the work I do, but the other women do! It gives me the chance to explore some recreational interests for myself with a safe group too... I think it's good to raise the profile of rural Australia and make all people in agriculture feel proud of the job they do, even though the monetary rewards aren't always there." Roslyn M. Webb, Tallangatta Gathering Proceedings, 1993.

Songs:

1993 Tallagatta - 'Women on the Land'
1993 Tallangatta - 'Aussie Women Farmers: We Are One!'

Related Stories:

History of Victorian Women on Farms Gatherings
Victorian Women on Farms Gathering Collection

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