Married to the job
OUTBACK magazine, Issue 104 – Dec 2015-Jan 2016, page 92-93
Isobel Knight has known there was something wrong with succession planning on family farms since she was eight years old. That was when her paternal grandfather died and her uncles discovered, to their great surprise, that the home farm was not part of the inheritance.
READ MORE Great Australians Magazine Full story Isobel Knight 2015
READ MORE (Australian Ageing Agenda)
Ag students on the rise
After more than a decade in the doldrums, applications to study agricultural courses at Australian universities are up 15–20 percent for the second year in a row. Some institutions, such as the University of Western Australia (UWA) and Melbourne University, are reporting that student interest in the subject has almost doubled.
It’s a desperately needed turnaround, because demand for skilled graduates has been massively outstripping supply for some time. Five agribusiness jobs are waiting for every person walking out of a university with a relevant qualification, according to the Australian Council of Deans of Agriculture (ACDA), the peak body for tertiary education and research. In 2008, its analysis revealed universities were producing only 800 graduates annually to fill more than 4000 jobs, a finding that overturned the prevailing view among policy makers that employment prospects in agriculture were bleak.
“The government saw it as a sunset industry,” ACDA president Professor Iain Young says. “But the data showed that’s not the case. So we’ve been changing the story.”
For 15 of the past 17 years, Stephen King has hoisted a huge wood-hewn work of art onto a truck in October and driven more than 400 kilometres to install it as part of Sydney’s Sculpture by the Sea. Disappointed time after time when the winners of the popular outdoor exhibition were announced, he developed the habit of ensuring a stack of jobs was waiting on the farm to distract him from the post-exhibition blues. But in 2013 this strategy backfired. His shearing and lamb-marking sessions were repeatedly interrupted by congratulatory phone calls and media-interview requests, because he’d finally cracked it, winning $60,000 in the state’s most lucrative sculpture prize.
Living in the danger zone
Propelled by an idealism that views life as being most authentic when it is intensely and precariously experienced, Matthew Thompson dumped a dull, boxed-in job rewriting foreign news stories for The Sydney Morning Herald, along with the domestic demands of a wife and a newborn baby, to spend six months in Colombia researching his first book.
READ MORE (The Sun-Herald)
The former Governor-General of Australia, Major General Michael Jeffery, is standing in a woolshed in northern New South Wales talking about agricultural productivity. He tells the 100-plus crowd that the need for global food security means farming production must rise by 70 percent between now and 2050, despite the challenges of land and water degradation and the gathering storm of climate change. However, the message is overwhelmingly positive – he’s confident that pockets of innovative Australian farmers scattered around the country have the answers, and he’s on a mission to share what they have learned.
Retreat to the Castle
Five months before he died of lung cancer, Hugh informed his wife Katherine that he wanted no one to come to the house, apart from family. Visitors gave him unwanted advice, asked too many questions, stayed too long. Katherine had to turn away friends of forty years standing, and with the rest of the family living five hours drive away, she struggled to cope physically and emotionally with being Hugh’s principal caregiver.
READ MORE (Australian Book Review)
Wendy and Rebecca James
When your little sister trumps you at your own game, making front-page news and a phenomenal amount of money, it can strain even the best relationship.
READ MORE (Sydney Morning Herald)
Pippa Masson – Literary agent
Without an agent, your chances of being tapped on the shoulder for a book deal are estimated at three in a thousand. Literary agents broker deals between writers and publishers, filtering out the dross and sending only the best prospects through. They are “the baleen to the publishing industry’s whale”, as agent Nathan Bransford puts it.
READ MORE (Perilous Adventures)
Close to home
An interview with Nicola Woolmington, writer and director of a documentary called The Forgotten Australians, which has been included in the National Museum of Australia’s collection of stories about life in children’s homes.