Women on Farms Gatherings. (1990-)

Function
Social support organisation
NLA Persistent Identifier
http://nla.gov.au/nla.party-1477467

Biographies

The first Women on Farms Gathering was held in Warragul, Victoria, in 1990. The Gatherings have been held annually in different rural locations across the state since that time, with organisation handed over to an autonomous committee of local women each year. Women from Queensland, Tasmania and New South Wales attended the fifth gathering in Tallangatta in 1993, and the movement spread to Queensland and New South Wales in 1993, and Tasmania in 1994. Held over a weekend, the Gatherings bring together rural women to learn new skills, share stories and, especially in the beginning, to reaffirm their identity as farmers. They were a vital thread in the women in agriculture movement, providing a public collective space for women to build an alternative knowledge about their disadvantaged position in farming, and fostering a political voice.

In 1989, a Women on Farms Discussion group grew out of participation in the Women On Farms skills courses at Warragul. The group began planning for the first Women on Farms Gathering, which was held in Warragul the next year. The Rural Women's Network and Women in Agriculture Project Officers in the Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs supported both the discussion group, and the planning of the gathering, as did representatives of the McMillan Rural Studies Centre in Warragul and PROCEED Continuing Education Centre. Storytelling is central to the Gatherings, raising the consciousness in women of their relative disadvantage and marginalisation, and affirming their identities as farmers, rather than farmers' wives. Research by early participating academics such as Ruth Liepins and Margaret Alston gave additional depth to their knowledge.

Workshops at the Gatherings developed women's practical on-farm skills, and also developed the confidence and skills needed for political roles.

Each Gathering chooses an object to symbolise the stories and experiences of rural women. In 2003 a partnership was established with Museum Victoria to preserve these artefacts - the speeches, poems, icons, songs and themes - in the Women on Farm Gatherings Heritage Collection. This collection of living history is monitored by a Heritage Group made up of past participants, and representatives from Museum Victoria, Monash University and Department for Victorian Communities.

View the full record at Australian Women's Register

Related people and organisations

Australian Women's Register

Resources for Women on Farms Gatherings.

Selected resources (10)

Australian Women's Register

  1. Women on Farms Gatherings
    Published: National Foundation for Australian Women
    Series: IspartOf The Australian Women's Register
  2. Brilliant Ideas and Huge Visions: ABC Radio Australian Rural Women of the Year - 1994-1997
    Australian Women's Archives Project
    [2011]
    Published: Australian Women's Archives Project
  3. The invisible farmer : a report on Australian farm women
    Williams, Julie
    [Canberra]
    Published: Commonwealth Dept. of Primary Industries and Energy
  4. Women in Agriculture: A Geography of Australian Agricultural Activism
    Liepins, Ruth
    [1996]
    Published: The University of Melbourne
  5. Women on Farms Gathering Heritage Collection
    [20 m, 979 Images, documents, audio visual, objects, intervie : 1990 -]
    Series: Melbourne Museum
    Farms Gathering Proceedings, Material Culture Icons, Banners, Newsletters, Programs, Cultural Partnership Agreement, Rural Women's Network Events Kit
  6. Central Victorian Women in Agriculture Papers
    Series: Melbourne Museum
    Correspondence, publications, notes, minute book, miscellaneous material
  7. Audrey Drechsler Papers
    [1 box : 1979 - 2009]
    Series: National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection
    The papers reflect Audrey Drechsler's thirty years' involvement as an activist in the Women in Agriculture movement. They include rare papers relating to very early conferences, including two in 1979, and the 1994 First International Women in Agriculture Conference; registration forms for Australian Women in Agriculture Inc. skills workshops; Minutes, newletters, letters, flyers, planning documents, media clippings, mailing lists, questionnaire, report relating to Central Victorian Women in Agriculture; papers relating to attendance at seventeen annual Women on Farm Gatherings, and the Heritage Project, including programs, proceedings, registration forms, media clipping; booklet on stress management in country communities prepared by Women in Agriculture - Victorian Mallee Group. These papers were recently accessed by the National Library of Australia. Please contact them for further details.
    MS Acc11.023
  8. Catherine McLennan with Lyn Johnson (Interview)
    Series: Melbourne Museum
    Interview with Lyn Johnson conducted by Catherine McLennan at Warragul on 13 May 2007, 36 minutes. This interview forms part of the Women on Farms Gatherings Heritage Collection at Melbourne Museum.
  9. Making Rural Women Visible: A "Living" History of the Victorian Women on Farms Gathering (WOFG) Community
    [1 : 2008 -]
    Series: Private Hands (contact Australian Women's Archive Project)
    Unpublished Honours Thesis, School of Historical Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne
  10. Memorial Plaque - Women on Farms Gatherings, Ouyen, 1998
    [1998]
    Reg. No: HT 2503, Museum Victoria Sustainable Futures Collection

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