Wongalee - Sara & Casey Anning

Wongalee - Sara & Casey Anning


“It’s so important to have someone to share not only the pitfalls with, to help you over the obstacles, but you also need someone to truly share in the moments of awesomeness and achievements as well. We complement each other perfectly, we both bring something to the table that the other may lack.”

Sisters Casey and Sara Anning are the minds behind Black Rock Beef Co, which offers a range of oven-ready beef parcels based on their Mum’s recipes. 

Some may shudder at the idea of mixing work life and family life, but for Casey and Sara, it was one of the saner decisions they’ve made. And, they joke, a fantastic insurance policy.

“Starting and running a vertically integrated business is not an easy task. There are incredibly steep learning curves (more like cliffs), stress levels are high and hours of sleep are very low, hangry is a real thing and you will take it out on whoever is next to you. Had that person not been family, we would not still have a business partner or a business today.” 

The sisters were familiar with working together after growing up on Wongalee, outside of Hughenden, with their two brothers. As sixth generation graziers, the rural lifestyle is their heritage, their culture.

“It’s just who we are – rural runs through our blood.”

But, the pair recognised, working on the family property wasn’t quite the right fit for either of them. 

“We flew the coop after school and experienced the city life, beach life, the uni life and the 9-5 life. Yet, we just ended up wanting to be closer to home and family. 

“Starting Black Rock Beef Co allowed us to hatch a business of our own while still remaining connected to our rural heritage. It was the perfect opportunity to be near our family and utilise our acquired strengths and skills.”

While their brothers, Luke and Jake, pursued life on the family property, and their parents happily spread themselves between the two businesses, Casey and Sara said that’s simply a matter of differing passions and nothing to do with gender.

“When needed, the boys are happy to come and help out in the kitchen, just as we are more than happy to head out there to work. It was definitely a choice we all got to make – nothing was expected of us.”

The sisters said that wasn’t necessarily the same when they entered the world of business.

“If you look like you work too hard in the kitchen, you’re not seen and respected as an intelligent, professional business woman. But, if you look too professional and as though you spent a little while on your hair and makeup, people think you don’t do the hard manual labour. 

“It’s hard to find the balance between looking like you actually ‘run this motha’ like Beyoncé says and you do the long hours and hard work too.

“We feel the need to present a sense of strength and confidence and almost a little bit of masculinity.”

It’s another balancing act for the sisters as they try to bring masculinity to the office while maintaining their femininity.

“It’s important for us to feel – not always look, but certainly feel – feminine for our own self-confidence, because that is who we are. When we do put a little effort into our appearance, we feel proud, strong, a real sense of confidence.

“We were lucky that our parents bred such a strong sense of ‘you can do anything’ into us and we believe it. In fact, they probably have more faith in us then we do ourselves.

“Dad’s a dreamer, he never loses hope. His enthusiasm can give us the drive to keep going. Mum is more grounded, she has amazing intuition, is super organised and manages to balance everything in her life. Family is probably the main reason we ended back up here.

“So in the end, even though the rural life chose us, I guess you could say we also chose it back.”

 Story by : Megan Stafford

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1 comment

What a beautiful and uplifting story! Thank you :-)

Louise Pevreal

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