Mudgegonga (near Myrtleford), Victoria
Loretta Carroll comes from a long line of the Carroll family who settled in the Mudgegonga area in the 1800s. Coming from a large family of eight children, she spent much of her youth on the family beef farm.
After leaving school she moved to Melbourne to seek work, returning to the farm regularly at weekends. After three years she returned to the area and commenced full time studies at Charles Sturt University, Albury.
On completion of a Bachelor of Business Management (Tourism), she continued to work in the area so she could work with her father and uncle on their properties.
Despite the fact that her father was not keen on the idea at the time, she bought 198 acres adjacent to her family's property, of which there are 30 acres of bush. She managed to stock the property with red Shorthorn cattle which were an unpopular breed and therefore cheaper to buy. She used an Angus bull to get black calves and hybrid vigour.
Three years ago, on the death of her uncle, she was left half of his farm, 280 acres, the remaining half going to her sister and cousin. She purchased her sister and cousin's share of the farmhouse and sheds.
Working closely with her father, Loretta is trying to gear up with more equipment and more fencing to create laneways, so as to eventually run her farm single-handed. Better pasture management through introducing more phalaris, which is a very deep rooted and hardier grass, she feels will make the farm more productive. This combined with rotational grazing and smaller paddocks, more tree plantings and regular calcium, fertiliser and trace element applications will hopefully lead to healthier soils, pastures and animals.
The biggest challenge she sees is being able to expand her property with the high and increasing land prices in the area. However she will eventually get more land from her father's holdings.
Loretta is very happy to not leave the farm or take long holidays, seeing her responsibility as looking after her livestock. The family has a long history of horsemanship and patience with animals.
Audio and transcript
Listen to Loretta's story (MP3 file 562kb)
Duration: 1 minute, 11 seconds
Maybe I should start from when I moved to Melbourne. I was down in Melbourne for three years, and decided it certainly wasn't the place to be, and I came back here and then studied tourism and I was still very keen on the farm, always coming back on weekends and doing as much farm work as possible.
When I finished that I actually worked up at Falls Creek for two years I think it was, or a couple of years and yeah, still kept coming back here all the time, helping my uncle that owned this house, and my father. And then I ended up getting a local job in an abattoir just locally here, and started saving more money, and that's when I decided to buy this property.
Dad certainly wasn't keen on the idea. He said it wasn't a job for a woman [laughter] and I didn't see why it wasn't.
Sometimes there are a few jobs that are difficult, probably more so for a female than a male 'cos of the strength or lack of.
But apart from that, with tractors and that kind of stuff there's not a lot of issues, and handling cattle it's often more a knack of how to handle them rather than using strength, brute strength.
Below you can view a slideshow of Loretta Carroll and her property.
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Photo: Stephen Routledge