“When I became a wife and then a Mum, the isolation out here was a huge issue for me. I had three babies out here with no neighbours around. I felt very isolated.
“The day we enrolled with School of the Air (SOTA), I felt a huge sense of belonging. Everyone genuinely wants the best for each other; the support is so valuable. Without that community feeling, I am not sure I could have done it.”
Megana Folker lives two hours from the nearest town. She has three kids, a beef grazing business with her husband to juggle alongside helping other family members with their own cattle stations. It’s a busy life, but Meg wouldn’t trade it for the world.
She grew up the same way she is raising her children now and remembers her childhood fondly. But, now a parent herself, Meg says some of the missed opportunities are difficult to reconcile.
“One of the hardest things for me is knowing that I can’t give my children simple opportunities like playing sport. Simply learning to swim is a major commitment out here and involves a lot of kilometres and a lot of time driving.
“But we love to work as a family and we love to show our children what fantastic opportunities they have here. No matter what they choose to do in life, what you learn out here about commitment, compassion and pride will always count.
“When I nominated SOTA to be an Antola shirt name, it wasn’t so much about the school itself, but more for the inspirational people that make it all happen. The passionate individuals who contribute to the education of bush kids. I was definitely thinking of my Mum when I wrote that entry. She managed to teach us SOTA and be a key team player with my father to build their grazing business.
“I was also thinking of our current governess – I could not do all the things I do without her, the passionate teachers who conduct on-air classes and their support systems within SOTA. It takes a whole community to teach children via Distance Education.
“There are still times when I think to myself, ‘It would be just easier to move to town’, but that certainly isn’t a practical solution for us. I wouldn’t be here to support my husband.
“Women and families are such an important part of the beef industry; without them, I highly doubt the men would be out here. They work hand in hand and I think most men would agree with that statement.
“I am a woman. I do not try to act or look like a man. When I wake up in the morning, if I am going to be working beside my husband for the day, I like to look nice. I’d like to think he might glance over at me at least sometimes and think to himself, ‘Damn, I got lucky when I married her’. And that’s for more reasons than because I am wearing something nice or look okay, but maybe because he thinks that I love the life we have made together and I love turning up to work beside him every day. Which I do.”
Story by : Megan Stafford