Life on the Land: How You Can Help Our Farming Families

Thursday 19 September, 2019

Life on the Land Sheep 19-09-19

While we reaped the benefits (and one disappointment) of nearly 100mm rain in late September, some of our Boarding families have not been so lucky.

Home to Boarder Maddie Warden in Year 11, Walgett, 600km northwest of Sydney, received just 0.44mm in late September and her family need the rain more than ever.

Life on the Land Maddie 19-09-19

She loved her childhood years at Kigwigil, building cubbies in the scrub, playing with working dogs, riding horses and motorbikes, and helping her dad with sheep work.

But her other home is here at Pymble, where Maddie has been a Boarder throughout her secondary schooling. She said it had been difficult to leave her family, but the experience has made her resilient and independent.

“I love sport, music and being around people, things that can be quite hard to have a lot of access to in Walgett,” Maddie said.

“Boarding at Pymble has given me opportunities that seemed unreachable if I was back at home.”

She said it is so important for the Pymble community to get behind our Boarders, whose families back at home on the land are doing it tough.

“Our whole life depends on the weather. I was born during a drought and since then I have been through two more droughts and three floods, all by the age of 17,” Maddie said.

Last Christmas, the 17-year-old spent her holidays rescuing bogged sheep from dried-up dams on Kigwigil in 50-degree heat.

“In most cases, we would pull a sheep out, put it under a tree to only find it dead in its place the next day. Sometimes we had no other choice but to put some down because they were to weak or they have been attacked by crows and other animals who were also starving. Towards the end of the holidays I was walking across majority of our dams that only two or three weeks before had water. We are hit with dust storms that come in giant waves that take a whole day to clean and vacuum, only to get hit again with another one.

“Watching everything die and hard work go to waste as the conditions worsen, is mentally draining. The amount of financial, physical and emotional strain that everyday bears, is bringing our farming families to their final straw. Many families are having no other choice but to pack up and leave. When they do this, they are not just moving from their homes, they are leaving generational-owned land, their whole community, friends and their way of life.”

Maddie said her Pymble education has prepared her well for life beyond school.

“I’m hoping to go work up in the Northern Territory on a station for a year as a jillaroo. But after that I’m not 100 per cent sure, which I’m ok with as I still have so much time and because of the way Pymble has shaped my life by giving me so many opportunities, relationships and quality strengths, I know my options after leaving Pymble are endless. Pymble has taught me to be the best I can be, to be hard working and committed, but most importantly, it has taught me to be so much more grateful, especially for my parents who have worked so hard to send me here.”

To help our farming families and because country life is at the heart of Boarding at Pymble and we are pleased to offer Boarding scholarships for rural and regional students who could not otherwise attend the College.

If you would like to help fund these vital scholarships – and would like to win a new car – please buy a ticket in our raffle – click here. It is also possible to make a charitable donation.

All money raised will go to the Pymble Ladies’ College Boarding Scholarship Fund.