When do you give up and acknowledge you are whistling in the wind?

Sadly after 20 years of drawing attention to team members at Dairy Australia  that the organisation who  claims they  best represent agricultural careers is telling the world that all cattle are the same and are akin to  horses, I am walking away from this marketing car crash.


Well meaning it maybe, but the first rule should always be “if you are going to do it, do it well, or don’t do it at all”

Is  it any  surprise I feel I am whistling in the wind?

Its one thing to infer dairy farmers milk beef cattle*. It is  another to have people think cows are horses

No hashtags here I am gobsmacked

FYI * for non dairy farmers all the pix in the first image are of beef cattle not dairy cattle. 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️

It’s time to stop working in silos and partner with others trying their best to get outcomes for agriculture

Industry needs to acknowledge they are a big part of the problem. They should have these resources readily available for any organisation who wants to showcase careers in their industry.

This was reinforced by a recent grant project I was involved in where we had  the opportunity to add agricultural careers to the Become App offering.

We had focus groups with each industry involved to identify those careers and identified 130.

We used ChatGPT to write the descriptions ( it did a very impressive job of it too ) and it was a nightmare trying to get industry to supply pix ( sans Austral who were very quick off the mark)

Speaking of Austral how impressive is this 





Don’t leave it too late to follow your dreams

My recent decluttering on my house unearthed a number of things I had forgotten about.

One thing that caused great reflection, was a series of house plans, one for the 1st acre block we purchased in Jamberoo for the princely sum of $16,000 when I first got married. An acre block that would be worth millions now. Other plans were for houses I never got to build either.

Regrets I have had a few.

The dream – that could have been

We sold that acre block to fund our first foray into farming. I wasn’t happy but that’s what women who are bought up in the patriarchal world of farming did in those days.

I did buy houses, for other people to live in. I even bought a house for my sister. The others became investment properties that we later sold to fund farming expansions and even the purchase of two farms that both got sold to fund the expansion of our milk business so it would support our son to join the business.

I found this picture of the Lotus my brother built. My father ( fully supported by our mother) insisted that me and my sister help fund the purchase of the car kit. Its seemed a perfectly logical request to him – after all that’s what farm women do.

We don’t inherit farms, we fund the dreams of men apparently.

It took me a long time to change that mindset and I am so glad I have ( it was a big shock to my family)

In 2012 an opportunity arose to decide what dream I could fund for me and I took it.

Now its time for new directions and I am very excited.

Are you making the same mistakes as me – are you funding others people dreams.  If so, this post is a request from me to not leave it too late to follow your dreams


Remembering those who came before us – Part 3

Continuing the stories of my family treasures.

This one is a real treasure ( both of monetary and sentimental value ) and hence is stored in a safety deposit box to be given to next gen who will value it

As mentioned in Remembering those who came before us – Part 2 Eric Lindsay and his brothers were very impressive footballers and tennis players

Way back in the early 20th century when you won a premiership you got “real” gold medals

Charlie Lindsay played 1st Grade football for Port Kembla and they must have won the comp in 1922

Eric Lindsay and Charlie Lindsay played 1st Grade football for Dapto and they must have won the premiership in 1919

In 1906 Eric Lindsay won the Junior Tennis Championship and again his win was celebrated with “real” gold

and they all came with this beautiful “real” gold fob chain

I decided to keep up the family tradition and had my son’s national ski championship awards replicated in gold and added to the family history fob chain. I am confident the next gen will value them as much as me.

Whilst it is sad they are kept locked away, I would be devasted if I wore the fob chain and lost them and just having the capacity to share their story gives me great joy

See Part One and Part Two of this series


Remembering those who came before us – Part Two

I am very fortunate that my great Aunt Soey and my grandmother Ethel Lindsay shared some of the Lindsay family treasures with me

Aunty Soey provided little stories with hers – which were jottings sometimes on envelopes and others info she gathered as she talked to others. I asked her for a photo of my grandfather Walter Lindsay ( bottom row -2nd from the right) This was the only photo she could find. Apparently he wasn’t keen to have his photo taken because he had a hair lip and cleft palate which couldn’t be repaired in his lifetime. See more about Walter here 

I also have my grandfather’s bible

Aunty Soey also gave me these, also with little stories

Firstly I am super excited to have pix of the majority of actors in these stories

Left to Right Eric (Gug) Lindsay, Doris ( Dos) Lindsay and Soey Dunster

So here is the story…

According to family legend Eric was a pretty impressive sportsman and played first grade football for Dapto. He won the teapot stand for being MVP

The Teapot and the Jug were handed down from Tommy Lindsay and Lizzie Lindsay who lived at Kembla Park ( see previous story )

This little snippet from Illawarra Pioneers ( see below ) explains all the lineage of family members

Walter, Eric and Doris Lindsay  

Tommy and Lizzie ( Lavinia)

Thank you to the team behind Illawarra Pioneers for their commitment to record keeping

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See the next post in the series here

Remembering those who came before us – Part One

I am excited that my house decluttering has revealed a number of photos and stories I wasnt aware I had and I am delighted to share them with you

Firstly my aunt Ruth Rae ( nee Lindsay) wrote this article about my grandparents and my great Uncle Eric (who we all called Gug)

Walter (Bottom Row 2nd from Right in 1920s ) * (see bottom of post ) and Eric Lindsay ( in 1960s ) were Dapto dairy farmers who operated WD & ES Lindsay, later to be called Lindsay Bros.

The farm was located in Darkes Rd, Dapto what is now Integral Energy Park, Landform Gardens, Dapto Automotive and Australian Motorlife Museum


Walter and Eric began to value add (to use a modern expression) to their dairy farming activity by becoming vendors of milk. Eric was the entrepreneur (to use another modern expression) and Walter the anchor man. To upgrade the herd Eric went to New Zealand and bought a prize bull.

At its height, Lindsay Bros was retailing more milk in the Wollongong-Port Kembla district than any other firm including the Dairy Farmers Cooperative Milk Company. Some 8 or 9 farmers in the district sold their milk to Lindsay Bros, where it was cooled, stored and distributed through some 3 domestic milk runs and a wholesale network that included almost every milk bar and general store from Dapto in the south to Austinmer and Coaldale in the north.
Eric would go to bed early and set off in the wee small hours with a laden truck to start the day’s distribution. Particularly in the hot months he would leave the milk in the cool room till the last possible time necessitating the early rising.

After the war draconian and unfair government regulations were imposed that forced all other farmers to sell their milk only to a government agent which was the rival Dairy Farmers Milk Cooperative.

With the loss of their major source of supply, Lindsay Bros were forced to sell their domestic business and retain only the wholesale business in the city of Wollongong itself. Their milk was subjected to regular and intrusive testing, while that of the rival company was not, but was always found to be well above the prescribed norms.

Eric bought the farm, “Kembla Park” and a subsidiary dairy was set up to augment the supply of milk.

Location of the Kembla Park farm  between  Rickard  Rd  and  Waples Rd  Unanderra

Lindsay Bros also bought a small farm at Albion Park to run dry and young stock, but the retail business was only a shadow of its former size. The company could not afford or warrant upgrading its machinery to enable processing and pasteurization which were beginning to be an important part of the industry and the business and herd were sold in 1958.

The sale of the herd attracted buyers from across Australia

The Dairy Farmers Coop bought the plant which they scrapped to forestall potential competitors but the herd, which had become well known for its productivity in the State herd testing scheme, attracted excellent prices for the time. Walter was 65 at this time and Eric 64 so retirement was timely option.

After the business was sold the garden became a pleasant hobby for Walter and Eric.

The Kararra garden regularly won the open section of the Wollongong Garden Competition 

Walter always had a love of nature and knew all the birds around the farm. He watched them nesting and was so determined that they would not be disturbed that he told nobody about it.

See next post here 

* Who else is in the photo

Top row Left to Right Billy Bovard, Ted Smith, Charlie Lindsay, Jack Bovard.

Bottom Left to Right Hessel Lindsay, Roy Lindsay, Walter Lindsay, Arthur Lindsay.

What is the Lindsay connection

Hessel and Arthur ( whose first names where John and William)

Charlie, Roy (Joseph) and Walter ( my side of the family)

Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong, NSW : 1856 – 1950), Friday 24 October 1930, page 9


Mr. John Lindsay, a member of one of the pioneer families of the Illawarra, died suddenly at his home, West Horsley, Dapto, on Sunday evening, aged 73 years. He had only returned home on Friday after a holiday trip in the Western districts, and appeared in the best of health. The late Mr. Lindsay was born near Unanderra, and was a son of the late Mr. John Lindsay, of Kembla Park, who was a noted breeder of Ayrshire cattle. The late Mr. Lindsay was also a noted cattle breeder, and met with many successes at agricultural exhibitions. For many years he was a member of the committee of the Dapto A. & H. Society, and at the time of his death was one of the trustees of the Society; he was also a Churchwarden of St. Luke’s Church of England, Brownsville. He was held in very high esteem in the district, being a man of very high principles, his word being his bond. The funeral on Tuesday was one of largest ever seen in the district. A short service was held in St. Luke’s Church of England, prior to the interment in the cemetery attached to the Church grounds. The Rev. O’Neil, an old friend of the family, and the Rev. Chapple were the officiating clergy. The late Mr. Lindsay was predeceased by his wife some four years ago, and he is survived by five sons, Messrs. Charles, Walter, Eric, Harold and Hilton, and four daughters, Misses Muriel, Estelle, Doris, and Hilda. One son, Roy, died some years ago. Messrs. George, Thomas, and Charles Lindsay are brothers, and Mrs. E. T. Evans, Dapto, and Miss Lindsay, Kembla Park, are sisters of the deceased. Mr. Charles and Miss Hilda Lindsay had just arrived in Tasmania on a holiday trip, when they received the news of their father’s death. They immediately crossed to Melbourne and arrived in Sydney on Wednesday by means of one of the aeroplanes of National Airways Ltd. We extend our sympathy to the bereaved family. Source 

I am smiling for some bizarre reason whilst I have no photos of the women in my family from this era, I have plenty of photos of them at my wedding in 1978 ( they were stayers)


Social change is driven by technology not people

Most social changes don’t involve people changing. People’s hopes, wants and motivations stay pretty much the same. Instead, what drives change is the way technologies, systems and practices gradually evolve to become easier, quicker, smaller, hipper, more powerful and more useful. Martin Cohen

Today,  July 15 is the United Nations World Youth Skills Day – a day to celebrate the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.

The 2023 theme is “Skilling teachers, trainers and youth for a transformative future.”

Does this sound familiar?

For over 15 years Action4Agriculture has been equipping young people with the skills to thrive in the 21st century and we have long been known for developing the four Cs of critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication. Building on our cornerstone programs of Young Farming Champions, The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas we were thrilled to add two new programs to the stable in 2023 in Young Environmental Champions and Action4Youth to further explore these skills.

The Young Environmental Champions invited students to research the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and choose a global problem from which to derive a local solution for their school and community.

“Over 10 weeks, these young minds dedicated themselves to creating a social impact project that will bring about positive change in their communities and contribute towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” Action4Agriculture director Lynne Strong says. “Our young people are reshaping, rewiring and reimaging the future; a future where they will be the leaders.”

Action4Youth is a purpose-driven program to support young people from all backgrounds and experiences to thrive in a career in agriculture by:

  • Increased employer engagement in work-based learning pathways.
  • Improved learning and skills development experienced by young people.
  • Increased entry-level jobs offered to young people.

“It is widely recognised that the education and training systems we have in Australia aren’t fit for purpose and Action4Agriculture we are working with a dedicated group of people to address that. We were committed to ensuring the right people were at the table as part of our Action4Youth program and we were very excited to be able to identify those people from the Illawarra and South Coast of NSW and share that information with others so they can follow in our footsteps and replicate and scale our work and value add to their outcomes,” Lynne says.

All participants in Action4Agriculture programs have access to workshops facilitated by Josh Farr from Campus Consultancy covering 21st century topics including building teams, design thinking, developing stake-holder relationships, communication and agile project management.

“The benefits of participating in an Action4Agriculture initiative is the authenticity of learning and the development of real world skills. It enables young people to engage in real world systems, to understand constraints and structures on real world problems and to engage with experts in the field.

From each stage of the program students are encouraged to extend themselves and develop their skills. This is supported by their belief in their solutions and their passion to make a difference.” Secondary School Principal


According to the United Nations “technological advancements and shifting labour market dynamics increasingly call for agile and adaptable skill sets. It is crucial that we empower young people to navigate these changes effectively. Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is well placed to meet these demands by reducing access barriers to the world of work, ensuring that skills gained are relevant, recognized and certified, promoting green skills and practices, and offering skills development opportunities for youth who are not in education, employment and training.

“On World Youth Skills Day, let us unite in recognizing the potential of young people as catalysts for change and commit to providing them with the skills and opportunities they need to build a prosperous and sustainable world for all. Together, we can shape a brighter future where no young person is left behind.”

This is an ethos enshrined in Action4Agriculture and we are proud to promote World Youth Skills Day and our role within the movement.

Image source





As the Action4Agriculture team puts the finishing touches on reporting what we learnt from the delivery of our project “ACTION4YOUTH – Explore-Connect-Support”  funded by the National Careers Institute we are collating the information and sharing it far and wide to encourage others to share their learnings.

One of the things we learnt was Australian students DO NOT have universal access to high quality work based learning.

To find the solutions to this barrier we went on a journey interviewing specialists in their field to find out what success would like for schools, students, school staff and employers.

Action4Agriculture is proud to be a solutions focused organisation sharing what we learn



Building the confidence to create the possibilities of tomorrow

To build the confidence to create the possibilities of tomorrow I am inspired by this quote

We aspire to make a difference, yet at the same time fear we cannot . Confidence is that magical quality that allows us to transcend the quiet self – doubts that tug at us . It shows us the emotional way forward by allowing us to believe in ourselves and trust the process .

We need a road map that can shift our perspective and free our imaginations, allowing us to suspend belief in the limits of today so we can see and create the possibilities of tomorrow.  Blue Ocean Shift (p. 6). Pan Macmillan UK. Kindle Edition. Mauborgne, Renee; Kim, W. Chan.

The last ten years have been a time of significant change for me. Firstly exiting the family dairy business after I realised I had a vision for the business my business partners didn’t share.

The exit process taught me realising my vision for the business had consumed me. It had become my identity.

So I then put everything I had into the charity I had founded and it too became my identity ( you can see a pattern forming here). Last year it became very clear to me I was suffering from founder syndrome and it was time to hand over the reins. A defining moment was the feedback from the judges of the Banksia Awards – “there doesn’t seem to be a clear plan to replicate and scale”. Scaling what we do was the last thing on my mind – all I wanted to do was to add value to what others are doing.

I had a long chat to my contact at St Vincent De Paul – one of our funding partners. He said the work your charity does must continue and Vinnes can  provide support for you to package up all your programs and find others with the capacity to replicate them and scale them. I found this idea very exciting. There is no shortage of others out there doing great work.

So far we have been very successful with Kreative Koalas and the Young Environmental Champions programs finding the perfect new home. We are are having exciting conversations about The Archibull Prize’s capacity to have an AGSTEM role as part of a major university program and the Young Farming Champions will be workshopping what the next stage looks like for their program – could it be a youth led, youth driven initiative?

St Vincent De Paul have even engaged some-one to mentor me through the process and I very grateful for that. Defining what the future looks like at my age means spending a lot of time reflecting on the mistakes of the past and asking myself , am I too old to change.

What does proving you are never to old to change look like?

To start with I am going to focus on positive language

The breakdown of my family business taught me:

💪Whatever journey you are on get the foundation right.

💪Everybody needs to part of a shared vision – it must be a co-design process

💪Surround yourself with people who:

share your vision

have skillsets that complement yours

I am reading a book recommended by my mentor. I love this extract from the preface of  “Blue Ocean Shift by Mauborgne, Renee; Kim, W. Chan”

In the poem “ O Me ! O Life ! ” Walt Whitman , the American poet and essayist , reflects on the trials and tribulations that define the human experience . “ What good amid these , O me ! O life ? ” he asks . His answer — that all of us , individually and collectively , may contribute a verse to the powerful play that is life — has never left us . Life has its challenges and tribulations , no doubt . But it is not beyond our ability to shape . By our very existence , we all are able to contribute a verse and , in doing so , influence life’s course , and maybe even its beauty , if only by an inch . What will your verse be ? What will ours ? We have never stopped asking ourselves this question . What do we want to stand for ? What narrative arc do we want to focus our efforts on in the hopes of adding a small verse to the powerful play that is life that can help our world to advance ?

We need a road map that can shift our perspective and free our imaginations , allowing us to suspend belief in the limits of today so we can see and create the possibilities of tomorrow . And for that we need to inspire confidence in ourselves and in our people because , although we all are replete with creative energy and resilience , at our core , most of us are also incredibly tender and vulnerable . Without the confidence to act , few will venture down a new path , no matter how clear the road map .

We aspire to make a difference, yet at the same time fear we cannot . Confidence is that magical quality that allows us to transcend the quiet self – doubts that tug at us . It shows us the emotional way forward by allowing us to believe in ourselves and trust the process .

As Nelson Mandela once noted , “ It always seems impossible until it’s done”





It can be hard work doing Marie Kondo proud

I have religiously stored the records for 3 businesses for almost 35 years. That stuff takes up a lot of space. The tax man says you only have to keep it for 7 years but you just cant put in the garbage bin. So I got my act together and had a secure documents bin delivered .

Mmmh  when I saw  it I knew  it was going to be a longgggg process. The bin is locked and you have to feed everything through the A4 size slit in the top.

The process has also hit a number of distractions along the way including the discovery of old photo albums. in the 80’s and 90’s I was very good at keeping photographs that documented my family’s life.  My Aunty Esme was even more impressive and she wrote on the back of all the photos she took and gave copies to all the people in them

This is you Murray Chittick on my first pony in my Aunt and Uncle’s back yard. Uncle Henry is holding Lady. The date is 18th June 1979 ( which just happens to be my father’s birthday – he would have been 49 when that photo was taken)

Its funny the things you think of in the moment. This photo proved to be another big distraction

Me by the pool in New Caledonia when I was 21 

It reminded me I was never ever going to have that waist again and not only did I have a room full of boxes and boxes of documents I don’t need I also have wardrobes and wardrobes of clothes I will never be able to wear again

Its a lot easier to fill bags of clothes for Vinnies than it is to push secure documents into a very narrow hole. I am very impressed with how much wardrobe space I have freed up

Re the documents I estimate at the rate I am going I will need another two weeks – it maybe slow but I will do you proud ( eventually ) Marie Kondo