Bush Kids FB page started on a whim in January 2013. Tricia Agar was contemplating life with no kids at home on the eve of sending her youngest daughter off to boarding school in Toowoomba, from Wyandra in SW Queensland.
Life seemed so hard for people on the land. The drought had started to bite, and people were struggling to keep their heads above water, so to speak – (if only it was water and not dust!) Bush people’s kids play such a big part of keeping the family farms and properties going, as they help out with all the jobs that take to run a rural enterprise.
Drought is very labour intensive, and each person had a vital part to play from feeding the menagerie of poddy’s (orphaned calves, lambs, kids, piglets etc), driving a tractor or vehicle while helping to feed out fodder to animals that needed to be hand fed, checking waters, helping with fencing, pulling animals out of dams and creeks that had become bogged and helping with the jobs around the house as well as doing their school work.
Tricia was keenly aware of how much help her kids had been to their family operation during the school holidays for the older two girls who were at boarding school, but for many, many months for the youngest daughter who was in grade 7 at the local primary school. Skye’s help had been invaluable to Tricia and her husband Jeffrey, as they spent many hours each day hand feeding ewes and lambs as well as cattle on their 89,000 acre property.
Skye took charge of the poddy’s at the house while Tricia and Jeffrey went away feeding the ewes and lambs for several hours each afternoon. It took Skye a couple of hours to negotiate the feeding of 13 bottle fed poddy lambs, plus another 15 who were being fed hay and grain, plus feeding poddy calves, horses and of course the dogs. When she had finished doing all of this, she then cooked dinner for Jeffrey and Tricia. Tricia would call her up on the 2 way on dark and see how Skye got on while Tricia and Jeffrey were still out feeding the ewes and lambs and enquire if she had dinner on. Her answer rarely varied. “Yes mum, I’ve fed everything, and I’ve got steak and chips on for dinner” would be her evening reply. This young girl was steadfast in her duty and didn’t waver even though it is never easy negotiating hordes of hungry animals who will run you down to get to the feed in your hands, and leave you trampled. The Agar’s would have been very stretched without her assistance.
Sitting at the kitchen table sewing on name labels to the girl’s clothing, the day before making the trek to Toowoomba to put the girls into school, it dawned on Tricia how invaluable not only were her kids to bush life, but bush kids down through the ages who have been contributed to their nation through their involvement in agriculture. Not only have property and farm kids been invaluable but also the kids of the shearers, truck drivers, fencers, roo shooter, bush town businesses – the list is endless. Tricia decided right there and then to start a Face Book page called “Bush Kids” to celebrate bush and country/farm kids from Australia all over through photos and stories shared through social media.
Tricia had no idea how popular this platform would become, and over the past 6 years having now grown to nearly 46,000 followers.
Tricia is the founder of Bush Kids FB page, and lives and works with her husband and three daughters, on their sheep and cattle grazing enterprise west of Wyandra SW Queensland. Having been reared in the bush, she is passionate about the rural lifestyle and how essential is that we have farmers and graziers for generations to come.
With only 3% of the entire Australian population who are primary producers, helping to keep bush/farming families living and working in rural and regional Australia is vital, and one of the ways that Tricia hopes to help, even in a small way, is by providing a forum where people are able to contribute images that give the Australian population, a window into the lives of bush/farming families who are growing the food and fibre that is necessary for the continued survival of our nation.
The RFDS is an organisation that is completely entwined with the culture of the bush. What started out as a vison from God, for the Reverend John Flynn, has survived the test of time and continues to flourish and adapt to the changing times, providing a “mantle of safety” that enables rural and regional Australia to live and work with the knowledge that medical help is never too far away. This has given rise to a confidence that the RFDS will always come to the aid of even the farthest traveller, worker or resident of rural and regional Australia.
There is no equal to this fine service anywhere in the world. Australians and particularly rural Australians place the highest value upon the RFDS and its life saving work. The Reverend Flynn’s enduring vision still spans Australia 92 years later, and because it is only partially funded by government and still relies heavily upon donations from the public, with fundraising efforts such as this Calendar. The RFDS needs donations to continue its life saving work, and the bush people need the RFDS to endure as an essential part of our way of life.
Most rural and regional people anywhere you meet them in Australia, have a story about how their lives were touched by the RFDS or lives of their friends and loved ones. We all owe a debt of gratitude to all of the incredible people who down through the past 92 years, have made up the fabric of the RFDS and bring their skills and passion to serve the people of remote and regional Australia. For this reason, I am delighted to help the RFDS through raising funds via the production of this Calendar.
Judi Bain and her husband Carl live with their 6 children who are aged from teenagers to young adults including a newly married son, lives on a property South of Cheepie. They are a high-intensity family who lives and breath bush life while living and working in this isolated part of Queensland. Judi has been a FaceBook admin for some time now and is a vital part of the success of this page.
These are my ‘original’ bush kids. We now have a beautiful wife and grandbabies that have come into our bush family. I just love seeing the next generation of bush kids go with their daddy down the paddock, just like he used to. We also lost one of our bush kids this year and this photo was taken just days before he went home to be with Jesus. Life is short and we are so blessed that we live where we live and do what we do. This is still the best life and we still love it. God is good. Cheers from Cheepie.
Annette Schimke is a professional photographer based at Toogoolwah in Queensland. Annette has the country running through her veins and is a bush kid herself. Annette spends countless hours capturing the sports of campdraft and rodeo along with weddings and family shoots plus the weather with her considerable talents with the camera. Annette has been donating her valuable time to Bush Kids FB page since it was formed, being an admin and also a judge of the photo competitions.
Hi my name is Annette Eggleston FRAMED FOREVER FOTOS. My love for the land has turned a dream of freezing time into something special to remember. My true passion is Campdrafting. My love for it keeps me snapping.