Today we honour rural women.
By no means do I consider myself a rural woman, but my roots do stretch beyond the concrete walls of the city.
This is my daughter, Etta Cass. She is also not a Rural girl – but I do hope that I can instil some of the morals and values I have learnt from a life with some pretty amazing rural women in it. I grew up in Melbourne as an only child, although I never really felt like one.
I have 2 aunts who both have 4 kids – in total I have 8 cousins, 7 boys and 1 girl. These wonderful people are the reason I always felt part of a big family, which I loved so much.
4 cousins lived in the city and I spent copious amounts of time with them, growing up. The other 4 lived in rural NSW, where my aunt had ‘eloped’ to with my Uncle after a short courtship in Melbourne, many moons back.
As my mum juggled work life with family, I happily spent many of my holidays at ‘Rawdonvale’ (their working cattle ranch up near the Barrington Tops) - a kid with a backpack, I would fly to Sydney and then onto Newcastle unaccompanied, with an air hostess who would ushered me through the terminals, to my seat, and off the plane where my Aunt would collect me. We would drive for what felt like days through rolling hills, peppered with little yellow daisies, to their vast green property, protected by sweeping mountains and the many cows that grazed under the heat of the afternoon sun.
I loved this place more than anywhere on earth. I called it heaven on earth.
Rawdon Vale is a beautiful spot. My aunt was an amazing cook. I spent countless hours peering over her kitchen bench whilst she cooked for the many mouths that lived in or passed through the house. Apple pie was one of her many specialties that I loved. Dinners were a great time, everyone together at the table after a long day of work on the property, tired, dirty, eating, talking, laughing.
I love horses and hassled my cousins daily to saddle one up for me so that I could go riding. Prince was my favourite horse. He was white with brown and black patches, had a gentle nature and some of the kindest eyes in the world. Prince and I would go on musters with the boys, ride the endless paddocks.
I would hang around the stock yards whilst they did all sorts of cattle chores, and would play and frolic outside, from dawn to dusk.
My Aunt Gail, although city born, was a real Rural Woman in my eyes. She was loud, opinionated, strong, loyal, resilient, relentless, determined, thick skinned, loving, nurturing – she gave everyone a go and gave it 100%. As a child, I was often scared of her but also admired her greatly. If my little girl could be a handful of these talents, I would be a happy mum.
Rural women and men all over Australia are doing such an amazing Job. It seems they have a lot to contend with – fires, floods, drought, you name it. And yes, its harsh, but they are strong and they are resilient and they get there. Thank you.
Gloucester is the nearest town to Rawdonvale – about a 45-minute drive away. I would love ‘trips to town’ as though we were going to the big smoke for the day. I was thrilled when Elk and Willow, a country boutique in Gloucester, recently approached us to stock our goodies in their store. Life really is full circle, isn’t it? I am so incredibly overjoyed that our family brand, is represented by so many gorgeous country shops such as this. We design our clothes for women of all shapes and sizes, of all backgrounds and from all walks of life, and I am proud to know that so many rural women out there are rocking Olga de Polga.
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