Art4griculuture would like to introduce you to our new ambassador the dynamo that is Catherine Marriott the current RIRDC Rural Woman for Western Australia. (See footnote)
The Catherine Marriott story ………………….
So how is it that a girl who grew up on a sheep farm in Victoria ends up in the wilds of the Kimberley?
Some would say madness, some would say luck, others probably wouldn’t be interested. The answer is a burning desire to contribute to rural Australia and desire to make a difference to people’s lives. I have always been drawn to wide open spaces, I love the freedom that is associated with living in a rural or remote community. The characters up there are as funny as a fit and as dry in humour as a busted old ‘blunny boot’
As a kid I grew up on a farm called “Yarallah” 12kms due west of Benalla with my family which now involves four kiddliwinks, two girls the oldest and best followed by two boys who try to handle the pace set by said sisters and mum who we fondly refer to as the old duck, we all just love her to pieces, she is an inspiration for all humans and we are so proud she is our mum!!
Sunset on the home farm at Benalla
Our beloved dad passed on too early and left the fabulous five to carry on his legacy.
Our dad (John) with Catherine, Hannah, Charlie and Tom
We are a close knit little lot and I am so blessed with the way mum bought us up as having a love and respect for family is something that runs deep within me. I grew up with an understanding that the most fun you could have was fun you invented yourself.
Hannah, Cath and Catherine Marriott
Mum bought us all a computer game once, Commander Keen with a boy on a pogo stick, and we lost interest a full 5 minutes into the game and were out the back door like a flash. As a kid, I was constantly treading the road less travelled, bless our poor mother, she had four of us like that.
Me, Han and Tom at the back, Cha (wearing those deadly goggles) having a laugh at Charlie for his surprise birthday up on the old Quarry on “Yarallah”
We needed to constantly make sure petrol was still explosive, bullets are too if anyone is wondering, we used to make our own motorbikes, cubbies and mud slides into the dam were a regular in winter… That was back when it used to rain in winter (mum used to hose us off in the garden before we were allowed back inside to stand by the fire), ride push bikes or ponies everywhere, including into town to buy lollies, play cowboys and Indians on our ponies with real life water pistols,…(no bridles or saddles were allowed) in the stockyards and all the external gates were shut, the internal ones open. The girls were always kings at the end of that game.. I used to ride my horse 10kms to school every day up the back road, left him in the church yard and would ride him home again, there were 11 kids when I first started at Baddaginnie school, what a ripping little place that was.
Anna (Friend ), Hannah (sister) myself and Annabelle Coppin (Yarrie Station) on an ant hill between Marble Bar and Nullagine
Growing up, mum always encouraged us to do what we were passionate about and never judged us. She is a firm believer in the fact that we have to live our own lives and she can guide and provide support but will never try to own us which I will be forever grateful for. As a result, she has four kids that are all passionate contributors to the planet as we all love what we are doing and are happy.
I have lived and worked in England, Scotland, America, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan and the Philippines and travelled far further, everyone loves a good travel yarn…. Something about getting driving lessons from a tuk tuk driver in Delhi, India and then driving off in a bus full of my friends that we had hired for the night, (we later found out the bus was normally used for “naughty girls”!!) The driver looked quite funny chasing us up the road with all my friends laughing and cheering him on as we cheekily stayed just out of his reach! We made him run about 100 meters before letting him back in!
I have always been passionate about people from different cultures, I think we can learn a lot about ourselves by being with people who are different from us and thus my passion for travel both within Australia but also globally, oh the tales that I could tell you all about cultural differences and what is perceived as rude!
My main passion in life is empowering people to become better within themselves. However it isn’t all about other people… I have an ulterior motive.(Evil laugh) Another side to what drives me. When people are happy and confident within themselves, they are far more likely to contribute to the community and naturally enough this makes the community a far more enjoyable a place for ME to live in!
Sunset at the lake on our farm “Yarallah” where we often sit during the summer when it is hot!
I love to laugh, I love to meet new people, I love seeing people grow and believe in themselves, I love challenging myself, I love travel, photography, singing.. particularly in the car miles from anyone….I am excited about agriculture and what is involved in producing food, I am so passionate about creating relationships between the producer and the consumer. I love family and community and I absolutely love life. I will leave this planet a better place then when I arrived!
Happy days to you all, have at least one big belly laugh today!
Part of Catherine’s award is a bursary of $10,000 which she is using to run “Influential Women” forums with her partner Elizabeth Brennan to build capacity and confidence in rural women to empower them to engage and build consumer/producer relationships. Catherine is committed to encouraging rural women to celebrate the roles that they play in agriculture, communicate more effectively with the consumer and each other and collaborate between industries to speak and act with a united voice. She is hoping the forums will also act as a conduit into other leadership programs.