Wendy Pa­ton

Alpine Observer - - People Around Town -

What is your job?

I am re­tired. I’ve done a lot of things in my life, but mostly nurs­ing and breed­ing al­pacas. Tell us about your back­ground. I was born in the old Tal­lan­gatta hos­pi­tal in 1941. My fam­ily owned a prop­erty called Nooron­gong in the Mitta Val­ley. I went to the Nooron­gong State School which no longer ex­ists. I went to board­ing school in Mel­bourne for five years, then I had a year at home milk­ing cows be­fore I started nurs­ing train­ing at the Al­fred. That group of nurses is hav­ing its 60th an­niver­sary next year. Af­ter train­ing I worked at Hamil­ton Rus­sell which was the pri­vate sec­tion of the Al­fred. I’ve worked at the Av­enue Hos­pi­tal in Wind­sor and I man­aged Fleet, an in­de­pen­dent liv­ing cen­tre run by Yo­ralla. Later I moved to Cobram to work at a re­tire­ment hos­tel, then to Shep­par­ton Base Hos­pi­tal. Dur­ing this time I got mar­ried and had two daugh­ters. Then I went to Nathalia. I had got too old to run up and down stairs re­spond­ing to emer­gen­cies, and Nathalia was all on one level. It was a very small hos­pi­tal. I had had a cou­ple of can­cer episodes and I had the last one while I was at Nathalia. While I was liv­ing in Shep­par­ton I had a part­ner, and we wanted some­thing we could do to­gether so we went to the Sey­mour Al­ter­na­tive Farm­ing Expo and looked at al­pacas. We vis­ited a lot of al­paca farms and then we bought three preg­nant fe­males – two at $22,000 and one at $18,000.

What is it like breed­ing al­pacas?

It is a slow busi­ness. They have a long ges­ta­tion and mul­ti­ple births are rare so it takes years to build up a herd. I worked very hard at it. I went to many shows a year look­ing for stud males. It was a new in­dus­try and Vic­to­ria and NSW were the main breed­ing states. We did well at the Na­tion­als ev­ery year and built a very good rep­u­ta­tion. At one stage I had 200 al­pacas, all bred for tem­per­a­ment and hal­ter trained. As I got older I sold the whole Suri herd and later on the Hua­cayas. We had the al­pacas for 23 years all up. In the end it got to be too much and I sold ev­ery­thing, for very good prices. It was sad, but it was time and I was plan­ning to move.

How do you come to be in the Val­ley?

I have come back al­most to my be­gin­ning. I had friends in the val­ley and lots of rel­a­tives nearby, and I love the moun­tains. I have been here nearly three years.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.