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About Us

Our History

​The spark came in 1993 at a rural women's gathering at Tallangatta in Victoria when Australian Women in Agriculture was formed. Four Tasmanian dairy farmers who travelled to the gathering wanted to have something similar for rural women in Tasmania. Rae Wardlaw is one of those women who stood for and organised the first Tasmanian Gathering in 1994 at Scottsdale. She says over 140 women came from around the state and from that event, Tasmanian Women in Agriculture was formed.


Ruth Paterson was employed by the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industry from 1994 to 2003 and was instrumental in developing the Tasmanian Women in Agriculture Program. Mrs Paterson was the first woman in Australia to chair an Agriculture Field Day Committee (Agfest in 1993 and 1994), and the recipient of the first ABC Tasmanian Rural Women of the Year Award. She says Tasmanian Women In Agriculture changed the culture by encouraging women to realise their potential and by calling for recognition and seats at decision making tables.

Our Vision

A vibrant, connected, relevant and socio-economically resilient community with sustainable ecosystems where Tasmanian rural women equally participate, are empowered, and have equitable access to resources.

Our Mission

To connect, support, celebrate, educate, empower, and promote women with a passion for agriculture to ensure a sustainable, vibrant, socially inclusive women's network who can mentor and strengthen each other in their need to achieve better outcomes for themselves, their agribusinesses, their families, and the environment.   

Our Goals

  • Socio-economic and environmental empowerment of rural, regional, and remote Tasmanian
    women and support for their full and equal participation in decision-making at all levels in boththe formal and informal economies.

  • To upskill women in production methods, new and emerging crops, and technology, as well as strengthening biodiversity and use of regenerative agriculture to improve soil health and build resilience to climate change.

  • Improved capacity of women entrepreneurs and smallholder farmers to access grant and

         finance opportunities.

  • Cohesive and responsive corporate governance.

Our Strategic Plan

To read the TWiA Strategic Plan, please click here

Executive Committee

Deb Morice  - Chair

Joined TWiA – too long ago to remember, but I was on the first gathering committee at Scottsdale in 1994

Location – East Parkham

Occupation – We run a beef property - have 100 breeding Angus cows and we have an ag contracting business with our son Marcus.


How did you become involved in the Rural Industry? - Born on a dairy farm at Meander, shared dairy farming with Greig my husband for 22 years at Montana, Derby and Rushy Lagoon before we purchased Greig’s family farm here at Parkham.  Worked off the farm at Ashgrove and Fonterra.


What do you love about being a member of TWIA? - . I value the friendships, learnings and connection made in my time with TWIA - it has been a big part of who I am today. The Marcus Oldham Leadership Program was the best thing I did and a turning point in my life with the decisions I made after the course. I would like to give back to the organization & agriculture some of the skills learnt in this time and support all agricultural women in all their endeavors.


Di Barr - Deputy Chair and Public Officer

Joined TWiA – joined TWiA & the executive committee in Feb 2021

Location - Kayena

Occupation/ involvement in the Rural Industry? - I am not a producer, but I have recently been Team Leader for the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Program. During that time, I came to appreciate the importance of agriculture to economies, community livelihoods and societal wellbeing.


What do you love about being a member of TWIA? - TWIA supports women to network and encourages them to share knowledge and innovations, and importantly, supports women through difficult times & should continue and strengthen this role.


Jeanette Reader - Treasurer

Joined TWiA – I started with TWIA in 1985, with Quamby group.

Location – Since leaving the farm in 2020 I have moved to Youngtown. Our son and his wife have taken over our Angus cows and I still like to know how they are going.

Regional Group - I am lucky enough to be part of the Meander Valley group and love catching up with members new and old.


How did you become involved in the Rural Industry? – We started farming in 1989 at Bishopsbourne. We had a herd of Angus cows for beef breeding. We also cropped poppies, onion and Hemp seeds, fennel and dill for oil. We grew carrots, parsnips, Japanese squash and potatoes. Our son still farms at Westbury, but our farm was sold in 2020.


What do you love about being a member of TWiA? – Ensuring Rural Women are mentored and supported for any role they would like to pursue, in any way. Supporting rural women to be the best they can be.


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Fiona Auton - Social Media and Publicity Officer

Joined TWiA – I joined TWIA and the executive committee in 2023

Location – Springfield, Tasmania

Regional Group – North East

Occupation – Farmer, business owner & Operations Manager in Community Services


How did you become involved in the Rural Industry?

My mothers family had a dairy farm in Dairy Plains where I spent a lot of my childhood. This fostered my love of wide open spaces and the importance of the industry to the state and the critical role women play. My husband and I met through Rural Youth Tasmania and we operate our own beef and cropping enterprise in the beautiful valley of Springfield. We also have an agricultural contracting company which services the North East of Tasmania from Gladstone to St Leonards.


What do you love about being a member of TWIA?

I see the role of TWIA as the promotion of education and opportunity for women in the industry. Agriculture has so many opportunities for engagement either directly or not so directly. My focus is to support the education and promotion of women throughout their lifetime to have rewarding and sustainable careers and livelihoods in agriculture in Tasmania.

Hannah de Bomford - Scholarships Officer

Joined TWIA - at the 2022 TWIA AGM

Location - Castra, North West Tasmania

Regional Group - North West

Occupation - I am a Rural Retail assistant, Utas Agribusiness student and work with my husband on our business, Bradford Engineering and Agriculture.


How did you become involved in the industry - I have always had a passion for agriculture, but became heavily invested in the industry when I ‘married the farmer’. We breed Poll Hereford cattle and are constantly trying to advance our regenerative and sustainable practices.


What do you love about being a member of TWIA - Networking with and learning from such a diverse range of passionate individuals who are also very proud to be a part of the agriculture industry.


Mandy Cooper - Executive Member

Joined TWiA – I joined TWIA in 2018 at the AGM and was Secretary in 2018, Vice-Chair in 2019 and Chair in 2020.

Location – Rowella, Tasmania

Regional Group – West Tamar

Occupation – My occupation is listed between being a Pharmacist and a Farmer depending on what paperwork I am completing!


How did you become involved in the Rural Industry? – I grew up on a mixed farm at Nunamara in the North East of Tasmania and left the State when I was 25. My husband Carl and I operated a weekender farm at Carabost NSW whilst both working as Pharmacists in NSW. We returned to Tasmania 7 years ago and now farm Wilmores Bluff, a 500acre property in Rowella.


What do you love about being a member of TWIA? – I appreciate the connection of rural women and the easy-going attitude to life and the ability to pick up a conversation where it was left off. TWiA mentors and fosters these relationships and gives connection.

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Liese Fearman- Secretary

Joined TWiA - Sometime in 2008

Location - Upper Scamander (northeast coast Tas)

Regional Group - Break O'Day

Occupation - Farmer, retired maths & science teacher, casual tour guide, researcher (I’m a woman – we do lots of things!)


How did you become involved in the Rural Industry? -

My journey to farming was indirect. After graduating as a Science Teacher in Canada, I signed up for 2 years teaching in PNG, at Minj High School, in the beautiful Wahgi Valley. There I met Paul, an Aussie living at Kagua, SHP, who had been in PNG for many years. After much travelling back and forth on PMV’s and motorbikes, we married.

    Like many migrant women, I followed my husband and his dream. Given a choice between Queensland and Tasmania, I opted for four seasons, and avoided Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen. Leaving Andrew with his doting Granny in Hamilton Vic, we hired a mini bus and went searching for our little piece of Paradise – a farm we could afford.

    Upper Scamander’s winter sunshine, rolling hills, and winding river, won our hearts. Woodspen had a surprisingly low price tag, though locals later said we paid way too much! Paul’s parents sold their house for the down payment and moved to the farm to be near their only son and grandchild. We leased the land out while working in PNG to pay it off.

    In 1983, we moved ‘home’ with three kids. Paul having lived and worked on farms pre-PNG, and my father’s family having been displaced from their small farm in Lithuania by WWII, could you say we had farming in our blood? I still marvel at the extent of knowledge so many multi-generational farming families have. We had no idea how much we didn’t know when we started!

    We had to beg the bank for a loan, at 15% interest to buy cull ewes and raise Merino X Polwarth for fat lamb mothers. Later we planted peaches and nectarines, then cherries. We learned through experience about changing prices, disposing of sheep not worth the cost of transport, how much possums love fruit trees, and how ingenious they are in overcoming barriers.

We also learned how supportive old farmers might be to a family newly arrived having a go. Our first cattle were 10 Angus ‘culls’ from a St Marys farmer, with no family. His bill was not on paper – “Pay when you have the money”. Whenever we offered it to him, he insisted that he didn’t need it just then. Their offspring are still in our herd, and we are still on the farm.

   Our journey had more to do with fate than with wisdom. When my father visited and walked the farm with us, he commented “If I had known this place existed, I would never have moved to Canada, I would have come here!” Living and farming in Tasmania is one thing we, and our family, will never regret.  Farming is certainly in our blood now. 


What do you love about being a member of TWIA? -

I enjoy the company of women with a wealth of farming knowledge and wonderful stories of their farming lives. My life as a young mum new to farming would have been less lonely if I had known people like them. Now that I’m a granny, my companions in TWiA inspire me. The experiences of rural women are so varied and interesting, I wish we could preserve their stories.


I love the gatherings!


TWiA has proud history, and strives to achieve admirable things for rural women. I am proud to be a part of it.

Belinda Hazell - Emeritus Chair

Joined TWiA - Too long ago, I can't remember!

Location - Sandford, Tasmania

Regional Group - Southern

Occupation - Principal Consultant at Optimum Standard


How did you become involved in the Rural Industry? - I lived on a small family farm and worked for an apple export business before living and working on our own mixed horticultural and beef enterprise in the Huon Valley from 1990.


What do you love about being a member of TWIA? - Connections with vibrant women who are passionate and proud of their roles in primary industry. I learn and gain energy from every member I meet.   

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Rosemary (Rom) Scott - Executive Member

Joined TWiA - 2021

Location - Legana, Tasmania

Regional Group - Tamar

Occupation - Semi-retired Farmer


How did you become involved in the Rural Industry? - I grew up on a mixed farming enterprise in the A.C.T., but moved into the corporate world after school. I lived in Sydney, London and Hong Kong before returning to my country roots and completed a Dip. Ag. and then a B. Ed. in Agriculture and Careers, while my two children were young.

I ran my own small, beef cattle enterprise near Albury for some years and worked with farmers in N E, and then S E Victoria, providing information, training and practical help with environmental management, drought, fire, flood and resilience for the future in a changing climate on farm. In 2020 I moved to Tasmania where I joined my partner on farm in the very special Tamar Valley.


What do you love about being a member of TWIA? - As a relatively new resident of Tasmania, and passionate about farming and rural life, the TWiA was a perfect fit for me. I have already met many ‘like-minded’ women, laughed, talked, shared tales and experiences and made friendships. I can see that the organization has, and will continue, to positively contribute to the lives and circumstances of women in rural Tasmania. 

Jemma Walters
Jemma Walters- Executive Member

Joined TWiA - 2023

Location - Longford, Tasmania

Regional Group - MIdlands

Occupation - I work within the Community Engagement Team at Rural Alive and Well and study Law at the University Of Tasmania.


How did you become involved in the Rural Industry? - Growing up rurally instilled a passion in me in relation to agriculture, rural and remote communities and the people who make up those communities.


What do you love about being a member of TWIA? - I love the organisation and find it so vitally important as it allows for guidance, education, networking and  support for women in rural and agricultural industries. It is great to be surrounded by women with a passion for the same industry. 

Our Honour Roll

Outstanding Contributor Awards

Marcus Oldham Scholarship Recipients

2012  Joan Field

2012  Ruth Paterson

2012  Jan Richardson

2012  Sheryl Rockliff

2014  Cheryl McCartie

2014  Maureen Holland

2014  Belinda Hazell

2018  Annette Reed

2018  Rosie McKinnon

2018  Bev Phelan
2021  Ella Anderson, Mandy Cooper,  

         Larna Pitigglio & Samantha Sullivan

2022 Rae Wardlaw, Deb Morice &

         Jenny French

2023 Jo Tate

2024 Annette Reed, Libby Taylor &

          Liese Fearman

1997  Jane Reid

1998  Jeanette Reader & Allison Clark

1999  Heather Rogers & Katherine Bayles

2000  Jackie Langton & Holly Terry-Ware

2001  Christine Binning & Carolyn Gale

2002  Jayne Badcock & Anne French

2003  Rose Pasenen & Sally Pearce

2004  Glenda Wootton & Cheryl McCartie

2005  Carol Grey & Sally Murfet

2006  Michelle Walker, & Anne Ashbolt

2007  Rosie Mackinnon

2008  Maureen Holland & Sue Martin

2009  Jo Nichols & Carmen Eastley

2010  Janine Richardson

2011  Annette Reed & Kylie Rattray

2012  Aleta Jones

2013  Deb Morice & Steph Patterson

2014  Rhonda Spencer & Anna Terry

2015  Josie Archer & Ashley Hobbins

2016  Robyn Bergersen & Sophie Murfitt

2017 Samantha Sullivan & Emma Nightingale

2018 Shannon Barwick & Taylor Franklin-Smith

2019 Rebekah Frankcombe & Chelsea Rayner

2021 Lesley Pyecroft, Ashley Downie & Rachel Gill

2022 Hannah de Bomford & Joanne Jones

2023  Keeley Lester & Katelyn Petrie

2024 Jemma Walters

Rural Women's Award -
TWiA Encouragement Award

Rural Women's Award -
TWiA Development Award

2009  Carolyn Nichols

2010  Odette Lennane

2011  Annette Reed

2012  Sue Martin

2013  Carol Bracken

2014  Christie McLeod

2015  Christine Mann

2016  Sally Murfet

2017  Heather Cosgriff

2019  Anita Long

2020  Louise Morris

2021  Not awarded due to Covid-19 Pandemic

2022  Sally Murfett

2023  Belle Binder

2024  Emily Armstrong

2018  Ana Pimenta

2019  Sarah Cole

2020  Robyn Eversole & Celia Leverton

2021  Not awarded due to Covid-19 Pandemic

2022  Kate Field

2023  Kitana Mansell & Tamar Cordover

2024 Tamar Cordover Pritchard

Enable Leadership Program

2023  Shaelyn Rockliff & Makaylah Lester

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