City girls find feet in country

City girls find feet in country

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THOUSANDS of city women have moved to rural Australia in the name of love, often finding life on the land is far removed from any romantic notion they may have.

THOUSANDS of women from the city and even overseas have moved to rural Australia in the name of love, often finding life on the land is far from any romantic notion they may have.

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WOMEN'S STORIES: Adelaide Hills author Liz Harfull has released her fifth book City Girl Country Girl. It tells the remarkable stories of courageous women who have made new lives for themselves in rural Australia.

WOMEN'S STORIES: Adelaide Hills author Liz Harfull has released her fifth book City Girl Country Girl. It tells the remarkable stories of courageous women who have made new lives for themselves in rural Australia.

In her latest book, Adelaide Hills author Liz Harfull tells the remarkable stories of some of these enthusiastic and courageous women who have, for generations, overcome isolation and inexperience to make a new life for themselves. 

Liz says her late mother Elaine, a post-war bride from Melbourne who moved to a Mil Lel dairy farm near Mount Gambier, was the inspiration for City Girl Country Girl.

She admits she was also looking for an excuse to profile the ‘10 pound Pom’ Wendy Bonini who emigrated with her parents and nine siblings to a run-down dairy at Manjimup in WA.

At 17 years of age Wendy became a tobacco grower.

Liz first met Wendy while she was researching the best-seller The Australian Blue Ribbon Cookbook.  

A few of the stories span generations, including Irish lass Sarah Durack who found herself on a remote Qld station in the 1880s, and Brisbane school teacher Annabel Tully who married into the same family more than a century later.

Indian-born Daljit Sanghera is one of three SA women profiled.

She came to Australia for an arranged marriage but, after the untimely death of her husband, found herself running a citrus fruit block in the Riverland with three small children.

“They were all women whose story appealed to me and when I got to know them, I felt a sense of connection,” Liz said.

FARM LIFE: Elaine Harfull (centre) with daughters Valerie and Elizabeth on pony Snowy outside their Mil Lel dairy near Mount Gambier in 1962.

FARM LIFE: Elaine Harfull (centre) with daughters Valerie and Elizabeth on pony Snowy outside their Mil Lel dairy near Mount Gambier in 1962.

“They were also women who tended to shy away from the limelight. 

“I had a feeling if I didn’t tell their story maybe no-one will.”

Modern conveniences and technology have made life easier.

But Liz says city-bred women still face many of the same challenges to their predecessors; missing their family and friends and adapting to farm life.

“Of course it gets easier for them in time – it certainly did for Mum, but in all of these women there is a sense that a part of them is always missing.”

Liz says there is a strong sense in many communities that these girls had “saved rural Australia”. 

“They have not only made it possible for rural men to stay put and have a family – the next generation – but they have brought new energy, skills and ideas to their new homes,” she said.

The Adelaide launch will be held at Coventry Library, Stirling, on April 6 at 7pm.

Special guest will be best-selling author and city-turned-country girl Angela Goode.

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