2018 Victorian Rural Women's Award Winner – Melissa Connors
The winner of the 2018 Victorian Rural Women's Award was Melissa Connors.
Melissa is from Kyneton and her project is to create stronger and more engaged communities by connecting tree changers with established and retired farmers. These retired farmers can then pass on their invaluable local knowledge to motivated newcomers.
Read more about Melissa at the Victorian Rural Women's Network website.
Melissa was selected alongside two other Victorian finalists Cara Hadzig from Murra Warra, and Jade Miles from Stanley.
2017 Victorian Rural Women's Award Winner – Kirsten Abernethy
The winner of the 2017 Victorian Rural Women's Award was Kirsten Abernethy.
Kirsten works in the Victorian seafood industry, and will use the award to give women in the industry a stronger voice.
She believes women in fishing are key to promoting local sustainable seafood available in Victoria and Australia, and for sharing the pride in our resources with communities.
'Women have different perspectives to offer, and I want them to be as much a voice for the industry as men are,' Kirsten says.
Kirsten will use the award to work with women to design a skills-based training platform to build capacity, confidence and leadership in women in fishing.
Read more about the award and Kirsten's project on the Premier's website.
Kirsten was selected alongside three other Victorian finalists, Cath Jenkins, Joelene Williams and Lisa Brassington.
2016 Victorian Rural Women's Award Winner – Jessica Lye
The winner of the 2016 Victorian Rural Women's Award was Jessica Lye.
Jessica is the national manager of Scientific Affairs at AUSVEG, an industry representative body for vegetable and potato growers.
Jessica has been using the prize to enhance biosecurity preparedness and encourage biosecurity champions and networks throughout Australia's vegetable and potato communities.
2015 Victorian Rural Women's Award Winner – Katie Finlay
The winner of the 2015 Victorian Rural Women's Award was Katie Finlay.
Katie owns and operates the Mt Alexander Fruit Gardens, growing more than 90 varieties of organic fruit.
She has also diversified the business by writing and selling a range of information products for home fruit growers including the Grow Great Fruit program, workshops and ebooks.
2014 Victorian Rural Women's Award Winner – Julie Aldous
Julie's passion about career opportunities in primary industries saw the need to provide meaningful, applied learning opportunities for students.
These opportunities included :
- local land management placements
- the development of partnerships between schools and their rural communities;
- promotion and increased uptake of the myriad of career pathways in primary Industries within schools and further education.
Julie's project aimed to connect schools with their rural communities through the formation of sustainable partnerships so that skills and leaning in food and fibre are fostered.
2013 Victorian Rural Women of the Year Award – Michelle Freeman
Michelle Freeman is passionate about the forestry industry, and has become involved in wider industry initiatives since studying forestry at Melbourne University and the Creswick School of Forestry.
Michelle will gain training in leadership and social media, attend the IFA National Forestry Conference 2013 and set up a workshop in conjunction with this conference to gain a better understanding of who is involved in the forestry industry.
2012 Victorian Rural Women of the Year Award – Tania Chapman
At the time of the Award, Tania was a citrus grower from outside Mildura and Chair of Citrus Australia. Tania transitioned to Chair of the citrus industry's national peak industry body within the space of six years.
Tania's project set up a national Rural Women's Leadership Forum.
The forum encourages industry leadership talent and established an ongoing Citrus Industry Future Leaders Program, to identify, encourage and develop the next generation of leadership for the citrus industry.
2011 Victorian Rural Women of the Year Award – Angela Betheras
Angela Betheras is an alpaca producer and agritourism business operator from Darnum in West Gippsland.
Angela's goal from her project is to gather together other female textile artists who are also breeding alpacas, and to form a co-op, to produce a range of garments and export those to China and capture that growing middle market.
2010 Victorian Rural Women of the Year Award – Alana Johnson
Alana Johnson is a fifth generation farmer from Benalla and founding member of Australian Women in Agriculture Inc.
Alana's project will create a new approach to agricultural philanthropy, both in Australia and internationally, and be the first national philanthropic trust in the world dedicated to the future of agriculture.