“There have been many happy times in my life.
I grew up on a dairy farm, my dad was a dairy farmer and I was never going to marry a dairy farmer. We grew up near Murray Bridge, both Graham and I, went to the same high school in Murray Bridge so we knew each other as young people. Graham was on a family dairy farm, didn’t want to keep on dairy-ing so when his father bought a property on Kangaroo Island, we were able to come over and work that property. I had come over as a teenager on a holiday and I really enjoyed it. I really liked the atmosphere and people and being independent because we’d been tied up with family before and now, we were doing our own thing.
We came in 1976 with three children, Darren was 7, Rick was 5 and Melissa was 18 months old. It was a little bit hard to start with. I remember one of the nights in the house there was a hole in the ceiling and there is a possum looking down at us. We had lots to do as most people do when you come to a place that is a little bit run down. There were no sealed roads, you are out on the western end of the island but we had great neighbours.
We went straight into sport and the social aspect and the kids going to school.
I played netball, then umpiring, of course, football and the kids played by then too. That was very important for our social outlook and getting off the farm for a day.
We didn’t dairy, we went to sheep and beef cattle. We didn’t want to have dairy cows, and it wasn’t suitable for over here, this was sheep country.
It was a tough time on the farm financially when the wool price and the cattle prices crashed. You just had to get on with it. We were probably lucky that I got work guiding at Kelly Hill and that gave us an extra off-farm income. Graham worked really hard, always. There were all sorts of ways you can work around it. We didn’t worry about that so much, you just got on with it. Your neighbour was the same and you just worked your way around it. There was no other option. Our parents were both hard workers and we just followed on. I think we were lucky our generation didn’t have the pressures that they do nowadays in a lot of ways. We just lived our lives as we wanted. I think they have now outside pressures we didn’t even think of. We never had a mobile phone, so we were just tunnel-visioned and just did what we had to do.
If you couldn’t get them on the landline, then you wouldn’t talk to them. I think they have complicated everything because you can’t do anything without a computer now. If you are not computer-literate, you’re not in the world. You have to have your phone on your hip all the time, but I don’t. I only use it to sign in to the shop.
When the boys came home, I decided to get out of their hair and we bought Emu Bay Holiday Homes and ran that for four years before we were lucky to be able to sell it when we did and downsize a bit. Now we live here and we just have two houses we use for holiday rental and do what we want to. I appreciate where we live and the lifestyle we got. We’ve enjoyed the social atmosphere, and all the people we met and still meet and still work with and still have fun with.”