While Gilgooma is name of one of the farms our family lives and works on, it’s also the name of a rural locality 35km north of Coonamble. The former village of Gilgooma used to host a thriving community, with a school, sawmill, tennis courts, cricket oval, church and Sunday school.
Today, a couple of houses and the Soldier’s Memorial Gates remain.
We value family, community and are passionate about Australian agriculture. Looking after our animals and the land is paramount to our business profitability and the future of our farm. Animal health is a big part of our daily job, and soil health is critical for the long-term productivity of our paddocks. We like to grow happy, healthy things that make hearty, wholesome food!
We lean on and learn from our neighbours, whether it’s advice on the next crop, or getting a hand to move a mob of stock. They’re also a pretty important part of our rural social life.
Friends and family from away have always loved to come and stay. We love where we live and work and want to share it with more people. We also think there’s lots to see and do around here, and want to add our place to the mix of experiences.
The Wise One – Steve
The patriarch of the family and business, Steve is father and grandfather, and general cranky old man (his bark is worse than his bite!). Steve loves meeting new people almost as much as he loves sheep work on Sundays. A true blue local, Steve’s first school days were spent in the little timber school house at the Gilgooma village.
In the decades since, Steve has gotten to know the land around Gilgooma as well as anyone – he can show you where the highest point of the creek was in the biggest flood and know which paddocks will grow the best pasture.
Steve also knows the history of the property, who lived where and did what, when. He’ll show you the remains of early farm building and infrastructure, point out natural wonders that you’d otherwise miss, and explain how Gilgooma has come to be what it is today.
For us, Steve is the one with the knowledge and experience to guide the decisions about what happens in the paddock. He’s also very handy at fuelling up machinery, stock work, and lighting the odd small grass fire (sorry, neighbours!).
The Captain – Babs
Someone once asked Babs and Steve’s children, “who’s the boss at your house?” Their answer was simple and sincere; “Dad’s the boss, but Mum’s the real boss”. Babs is the woman in control. She runs the show, is cool, calm and collected and gets the job done.
Babs has also lived and worked with Steve for long enough to know when it’s time to leave him on his own in the sheepyards. She’s our financial controller and chief risk spotter.
Like Steve, Babs grew up on a local farm, before turning this one into the home base for her own family. If Babs isn’t in her garden expanding that oasis, you can often find her in the paddock hunting down noxious weeds with a deadly determination. About the only thing that can distract her from the farm, is her grandchildren.
The jackaroos bounce off the school bus when it’s Babs there to collect them (she does a better afternoon tea at her house), and she only willing leaves home to visit her other grandchildren, three-year-old triplet girls. Like the farm, not even these three angels can tire Babs out.
The Paddock Boss – Ben
Ben’s not one for the limelight, he’d much rather talk about new tractors or cropping rotations or sheep joining or feed mix rations with a mate or two. A mechanic in a former life, Ben is the yin to Steve’s sheep yang. Ben sorts out the tucks, trailers, motorbikes, buggies, mowers, slashers, cars, pumps, generators, and anything else with a motor.
As our head farmer, Ben likes big silos full of fat grain, and despite being someone who had a previous lack of patience for sheep, he’s become an expert at feeding them. Wherever you find Ben, he’ll most likely have a tool or a steering wheel in his hand. Although a reasonably new resident, Ben’s been farming in the area for a decade, and wouldn’t call anywhere else home. Growing up on a farm not far away, Ben always knew it would be the life he came back to.
The Traffic Controller – Pip
Chief Admin Officer, Director of First Impressions, Head of Marketing, Project Manager, Meeting Chair…. Pip’s list of potential job titles is almost endless! She’ll claim Head Honcho, but admits that Sh*t Kicker is just as appropriate.
Pip grew up here, and while she knew not to take her father Steve’s advice to “marry for money, not for love, and never marry a farmer” too seriously, she didn’t always know that she’d do exactly that.
It’s very special for Pip, to be living back at her own home and able to give her boys the chance to have the same freedoms of her own childhood. Pip is very bossy and always telling everyone how busy she is, but it is also quietly acknowledged that without her, some stuff just would not get done.
Often met with eye rolls or a look of wariness when she tells the team she’s had an idea, Pip can get as much work done in the coffee shop as she can in the paddock.
The Jackaroos – Clancy and Chuck
Much happier in school holidays when they can go to work with dad, at 7 and 8 years old, these boys can now open gates and collect a cool refreshment from the coolroom. They earn their keep!