International Women's Day 2022
March 8, 2022
International Women's Day 2022
An RB Sellars x Graziher collaboration
Meet Shannon Dunne, captured by Jessica Howard near Duaringa in Central Queensland.
The long grass, bleached gold by the unrelenting sun, shimmers slightly in the gentle breeze. A young boy, already covered with a fine sprinkle of dust, kicks at the red dirt near the cattle yards, delighting in the clouds that soon envelope him and his sisters. This six-year-old is growing up and experiencing life on the land just as his mother had hoped.
"The open space, the landscapes and skies here make you gasp. You can do so many different things in one day,' explains Shannon Dunne. "Our lifestyle here means that the kids see us out working on the property and they can learn through experience. I love that."
Shannon's own childhood was not too dissimilar from the one Tom and his two sisters, Halle, eight, and Poppy, four, are enjoying. She grew up on a grain farm near Cecil Plains on the Darling Downs.
"As a kid, I helped my dad a lot around the farm, driving tractors and doing cattle work. I always knew I wouldn't end up living in a city," Shannon explains. And she certainly didn't. Today, home for the 33-year-old is Monomeath, a property of just over 1000 hectares, near Duaringa in Central Queensland. "I never imagined I'd end up 700 kilometres from my family," she says. "That first year was definitely the hardest for me, especially as I was pregnant. Growing up on a farm an hour west of Toowoomba, I didn't think it would be so different. Not that I'd call Duaringa isolated, but being so far from my own family was definitely isolating. But you don't grow unless you're challenged."
Now, a decade later, it is a completely different story. Whenever Shannon drives down her road, flanked by majestic gum and rosewood trees, a feeling of being truly home washes over her. "I've reached the point where I'd move mountains to get home to sleep in my own bed," she says. Edged by the Dawson River, which starts in the Carnarvon Range 300 kilometres to the south west, Monomeath is a beautiful place. And it's home not just to Shannon's immediate family. Shannon and her husband Mark, whom she met while they were at boarding schools in Yeppoon, is surrounded by his closely knit family.
"If you want to spend more time with Mark, other than just the usual dinner and bed routine, you have to go out to work with him or wait until a weekend off!" jokes Shannon.
The hard-working 35-year-old runs the family properties alongside his two younger brothers and their dad Anthony. One brother, Matthew, is extremely close by - the 31-year- old lives just a few metres away in the original farmhouse on Monomeath: he moved in after Shannon and Mark built their new home in 2020. His other brother, James, 33, lives a 45-minute drive away on the Dunne's home block, Lily Creek, with his partner Simon, a potter: the kids love to visit so they can play in the pottery studio. Mark's parents are also nearby.
Shannon - who is a much-loved and essential part of the Graziher team and juggles her already busy daily life while working remotely as our subscriptions manager - was surrounded by a menagerie of animals as a child. And, even though she says she is still trying to convince Mark to let her have a 'shed' cat, the Dunne kids also seem to have a number of pets in their lives.
There is Anna, the cow, who used to play with a soccer ball when she was a poddy, and Stubby, the two-year-old Jack Russell named for his short legs, who follows them everywhere. Sadly, one much-loved member of the family, another Jack Russell called Hank, died after a fight with a dingo, having already survived two brown snake bites. "I felt like you could trust him to look out for the kids. When they went to the chook pen, I'd say, 'Make sure you take Hank with you; because he was never wrong with danger," she says. The closing of that chapter was hard. Even now, all these months later, the kids still talk about their best friend Hank. But despite this, and the challenges of patchy internet, lack of child care and a three-hour trip to Rockhampton for Tom to play cricket and Halle's gymnastic lessons, Shannon is adamant that "there is no better lifestyle than growing up in the bush".
March 4, 2021
International Women's Day 2021
To celebrate International Women's Day, we took some time to chat with Ali Cooper from CC Cooper & Co - Jamestown, SA.