Our People - Margaret Virgo
Cattle, needles and Aussie lifestyle for Margaret Virgo
BORN in British Columbia, Canada, deep in the Rocky Mountains, Margaret Virgo started out a long way away from her current home.
Though it isn’t terribly different from where she now resides in Piries.
“I grew up doing a lot of fishing, hiking and horseback riding,” said Margaret – all things she still enjoys today in the Mansfield Shire.
And while there is also snow here, it’s not exactly on the level she was accustomed to growing up on her parents’ horse ranch, where it wasn’t out of character to be ice skating on their pond, or speeding around on snow mobiles during the colder months.
Margaret lived a great life as a Canuck, but one day, on the back of nothing more than a strong sense of adventure, she flew across the other side of the world to see what was Down Under.
“Australia was always a place I was fascinated by,” said Margaret.
“When a friend and I were young we always talked about surfing and going to Australia – then one day she did, and invited me over.”
So, Margaret re-homed her cats, sold her practice, packed up her dogs and jumped on a plane.
“I came in 2000 during the Olympics with a one-year working visa,” she said.
Seventeen years later and she is now an Australian citizen with her own acupuncture practice, a Dexter cattle stud, two children and a lot of horses.
“It has just always felt like home,” she said.
“It is somewhat similar to Canada – similar values, quality of living and people.
“Australia has a nice and easy lifestyle – and your car doesn’t freeze in the winter.”
After a stint in Queensland, where she got sick of the heat and humidity, Margaret moved down here to Victoria, where the climate was closer to what she was used to.
And it didn’t take long for her to establish her own practice.
Margaret has been a registered acupuncturist s i nce 1997, and al t hough s he now t r eats l ocal farmers, national sports people, diplomats, veterans, school teachers, t radespeople and everyone else – it wasn’t that long ago that acupuncture was seen as something unusual.
“When I first came to Australia, it was considered unique that I had training in specific sports acupuncture, which is how I got my original visa,” Margaret said.
But now customers come from all walks of life.
“People usually contact me t hrough t heir own r esearch, as t hey are frustrated t hey cannot find help through any traditional methods.”
But away from the needles, her other passion is those little Dexter cows.
Margaret owns and operates Windy Valley Dexters, which she established almost a decade ago after falling in love with the small Irish breed.
Considered a ‘ dual purpose’ breed, they produce a marbled beef, and also high-quality milk, all in a mini package.
“They’re just such amazing and unique personalities and I l ove them,” said Margaret.
With their smaller size, you can almost fit a cow into a single acre, which makes them perfect for lesser acreages.
“They are the perfect breed for hobby farmers and homesteading,” Margaret said.
So, Margaret is very happy in her home, far away from her first one.
And although she still has a bit of an accent, there looks to be no looking back.
“I consider myself Australian,” she said.
“I love it here and it is my home.”
HOME SWEET HOME: Margaret Virgo grew up in Canada, but is happy being a true Aussie now.