High­light­ing women in ag

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - News -

Cat­tle­men in Pearls isa bi­o­graph­i­cal book that pays trib­ute to women in agri­cul­ture, specif­i­cally Aus­tralia’s beef in­dus­try.

It is self-pub­lished by Ian and Anne Galloway with five au­thors: Annabelle Bray­ley, Paula Hee­lan, Tracey Hart­mann, Claire Mac­tag­gart and Amanda Sal­is­bury.

This is an ex­tract of Tracey Hayes’ story, one of the 28 cat­tle­men fea­tured, writ­ten by Annabelle Bray­ley.

As a young­ster grow­ing up with two broth­ers on Al­lan­dale Sta­tion, south­east of Ood­na­datta in South Aus­tralia, Tracey Napier’s am­bi­tion was to be the horse tailer out in the stock camp.

Rid­ing horses, mus­ter­ing cat­tle and run­ning wild and free with her broth­ers were all a part of her life­style. Even so, she had to nag her fa­ther to let her camp out with the ringers. A tra­di­tion­al­ist, Ron Napier be­lieved that the stock camp was no place for a girl.

With shades of the de­ter­mi­na­tion and re­silience that un­der­pin her adult cor­po­rate style, and sev­eral hun­dred ren­di­tions of “Can I? Can I? Can I?” she even­tu­ally wore him down.

Her broth­ers were both away at school in Alice Springs and one of her favourite mem­o­ries, as an 11- or

12-year-old, is fi­nally be­ing given her dream job.

She’d get up in the dark be­fore ev­ery­one else, sad­dle up her pony and fol­low the tin­kling of the horse bells.

Tracey rel­ished the sense of ac­count­abil­ity and re­li­a­bil­ity al­most as much as the sheer joy of be­ing out on her own, round­ing up the horses.

Although her par­ents booked her in to board at An­nes­ley Ladies Col­lege in Ade­laide, she opted in­stead to board in Alice Springs as her broth­ers did.

Tracey had no am­bi­tion to go to the city, and a long-term plan to work in the beef in­dus­try – a goal she and her child­hood sweet­heart, Billy Hayes, or­ches­trated when they mar­ried in 1993 and took over run­ning one of his fam­ily’s prop­er­ties, Deep Well Sta­tion, about 80km south­east of Alice Springs.

Rev­el­ling once again in sta­tion life, Tracey was flat out busy. Hav­ing joined the board of the North­ern Ter­ri­tory Cat­tle­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion in

2000, she as­sumed var­i­ous roles on pas­toral in­dus­try ad­vi­sory boards, pro­duc­tion groups and rep­re­sen­ta­tive or­gan­i­sa­tions. And some­where in be­tween help­ing Billy run the sta­tion; teach­ing their old­est boys who were, by then, en­rolled in Alice Springs School of the Air; board com­mit­ments; and man­ag­ing the myr­iad of daily in­ci­dences that re­quired her at­ten­tion; she dis­cov­ered a pen­chant for learn­ing.

In her wee free hours, she stud­ied busi­ness man­age­ment and range­land science. None the less, she never imag­ined she’d one day be the CEO of a ma­jor in­dus­try or­gan­i­sa­tion, much less the face of a class court ac­tion that con­tin­ues to have im­pli­ca­tions for ev­ery­one in the North Aus­tralian beef in­dus­try.

You can pur­chase c

Cat­tle­men in Pearls at www.cat­tle­menin­pearls.com.

PHOTO: KERRY SHARP

IN­DUS­TRY LEADER: Cat­tle­men in Pearls fea­tures 28 mini-bi­ogra­phies, in­clud­ing on NT wo­man Tracey Hayes.

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