29 year-old Bessie Thomas has swapped the world of television and radio for love and motherhood on a 70,000 acre sheep station in western New South Wales, Australia, and she couldn’t be happier. She’s swapped heels and skirts for boots and jeans, and she’s fallen deeply in love with sheep and the bountiful and beautiful wool they provide.
So often writing can be a cathartic experience, purging the soul of the bad times while sharing the good, and Bessie found this to be true when she began her blog Bessie at Burragan detailing her brave new world on Burragan Station with her husband and his family. In honest and humourous prose she wrote of the challenges and changes that came from moving from a coastal tropical town to the semi-arid environs of Burragan. She wrote of the dumb questions she asked her new family, and of the dumber actions, such as riding the quad bike 20km in the wrong direction to muster the sheep in the wrong paddock on the wrong side of the property. She also discovered there was no such thing as a dumb question or action when one is willing to learn.
Several years later and Bessie knows a whole lot more about sheep, about mustering, about fencing, about water, about shearing, about wool and about every other aspect of running a remote sheep station. She has overseen the renovations of the station homestead and established a flourishing vegetable garden (especially convenient when the nearest supermarket is 200km away) and now she is on another learning curve with the birth of her daughter last year.
Through it all Bessie has shared her adventures. She is an Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champion, going into schools to engage with students, has been part of the Ask An Aussie Farmer campaign and continues to blog and work as a freelance journalist.
“My world is hundreds of kilometres of pure earth and sky. Each time I watch our sheep file through the landscape towards the dam for a drink I think about why I am doing what I do and why I love it. For me, it is the wonder of watching the world evolve at the hands of Mother Nature and being close enough to hear her speak. It is the pleasure of knowing our animals are constantly cared for to best of our ability. It is the satisfaction of a hard day’s work, always striving to provide positive environmental and animal welfare outcomes, and making the best decisions to build our business. It is knowing our healthy, happy sheep are growing a beautifully natural, sustainable, eco-friendly, versatile, quality product from just rain, grass, sunshine, and team work. I am here, doing what we do, because every day I spend nurturing the growth of a fibre that so honestly reflects our world at its most pristine, is a day I can be proud of."
You've come along way since the day's where you thought you were asking 'dumb' questions. But imagine where you would be if you didn't use your curiosity and perfect the skills you have now. You sound as you know why and what you are on the land to do and that is such a great place to be Bessie.