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