Barkly Women’s Day 2016

We’re on our way back from the most amazing few days out in the very middle of this great country of ours. We headed to the Barkly Women’s Day to talk to a group of rural women of QLD & the NT who get together twice a year to catch up with fellow females and hear (hopefully) something inspirational!

This is where we were, at the Barkly Homestead.


We started out early Friday morning from Sydney arriving at Mount Isa around lunch time where we caught up with Miss Chardy and her husband for the first of many steaks before hitting the road to Camooweal. The road out there was beautiful – much prettier country than I had expected with hills and greenery and the most amazing storm that we arched roll in.


Miss Chardy was in convoy with us in the car above and we had the two way radio between us like a couple of truckers. Negative Ghostrider, the pattern is full, that kind of thing. I asked a lot of questions, because that’s what I do. We were told that the lightening might start a fire. And it did.


The landscape changed as we got past Mt Isa, much flatter, less green and that land opened right up. After about 180kms we landed in Camooweal where we stopped in at the Crab Pot as Miss Chardy calls it, easy to get into, but hard to get out of…but we had a deadline to get to…no need to stop for longer than needed.

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From there, it was another 270kms on the hot, dry Barkly Highway headed due west into the afternoon sun at about 42 degrees out. And we made it to the NT.


Man, what an expanse of a country it is we live in. BIG sky. BIG land. LOTS of cattle. Did I mention hot?

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And then like an oasis we were there…at Barkly Homestead where we were greeted by some of Miss Chardy’s mates who had set up a delightful welcome table of icy G&T’s, platters of food and the most gorgeous welcoming women who made every kilometre and hour worthwhile. All 14 of them!

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Saturday arrived as did these fabulous women who had travelled near (closest probably just 100 odd km’s away) and others much further. On plane, by car for days and days to get there. What an experience to get to meet such wonderful women and get an insight into life out here.  The women were all different ages from the Jillaroos, Governesses, Head stock women, Managers wives, to the local CWA branch at Tennant Creek it was a wonderful group of women who were all just so kind, warming, welcoming and friendly. And did I mention strong? No fuss, hardworking women who just get on with it. Raising kids, educating them, helping their partners out, running MASSIVE stations and businesses, bracing the elements and I gather for most of them putting themselves at the very bottom of the list of things to look after.

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Whilst out worlds couldn’t be further apart, we talked a little about what we do and how important connection is for women no matter where we live or what we do. The fact that many of these women read my blog, and have done for years is just so exciting for me. Fancy one of my recipes being trotted out all the way out here? How cool is that?

For me, the highlight was hearing their stories. Although I’m not in the city myself, I often don’t think about families out there in the country bringing us the food we eat, the cotton we put on our backs, the milk in our fridges. Bloody hell they work hard. And they are the actual nicest people you could ever meet.

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But the thing I noticed from all of them was how much they love this country. How it gets into their hearts and souls and make it very hard for them to ever move away. Those Governesses meet their cowboys at a camp draft and they marry them. They raise their own families and another generation of families begin again.

It’s a very special place. I hope I get to come back. Thanks Miss Chardy for having us, it was a joy and privilege and one that I will never forget. Ever.


  1. What an absolute treat to have you visit us Beth. Just the BEST. Crazy to think you will be home before me! X

  2. Have been watching facebook & instagram, looks like you all had a great time

  3. You less remotely challenged ladies have done a great job by going bush. Not only you, but everyone who reads your story have gained an understanding of how big and precious our country is. LOVE it !! I’m sure you’ve inspired others to go too … you’re the best !!

  4. Margaret Ann Kemp says

    Lovely Post Beth , every Australian needs to travel outback and appreciate how diverse and beautiful this country is .

  5. how amazing are those women of the out back beth!
    they are so courageous! … have to hand it to them! … just fabulous!
    I think they would need the support of other women more than most!
    you all obviously had a great time!
    much love m:)X

  6. laurie-anne says

    When I was a kid my family drove those roads twice with our caravan. First time I was about 6 & the next time 14 my brothers and I had races up that highway while we waited for mum & dad to make lunch.Watching your live post yesterday really made me want to go back, such a beautiful part of the country.

  7. I know it’s been a huge weekend! And then you’ve had the challenges of getting home again.. But thank you for going and sharing this most wonderful experience! It was a delight to see you all and the way in which Australian women connect no matter where they are! My hub and I (& our then 5 yo DD) lived and taught at one of the most remote schools in NSW – almost on Qld border near Charleville. It was 1976-77 and it took 12 hours drive from there back to Sydney. Living in remote communities has challenges but you learn different things about yourself! We can do it!

  8. I love the country spirit. I grew up in the bush and really miss the community. Looks like you had a great time.

  9. What a beautiful way to connect with other women. We all work hard and raise our families. The one thing we all have in common is strength and resilience. I’m proud to be an Australian and an Australian woman.

  10. How wonderful Beth, what an epic trip! So good to see a gathering of strong, like minded city and country women. While I don’t live in the same isolation that these amazing ladies do, I can relate on a smaller scale as I educate my children through distance education (School of the Air) and work with my husband on our property. It often feels like a world away from our city friends and trips and events like this help to bridge the gap and widen the understanding I think. Good on you, love your work. PS Would love a Kate update one of these days 🙂

  11. Here I go… in tears again reading this…. still can’t believe you all made the huge trek up here. So glad you did… it was such a fabulous weekend. Thank you so much for coming up DARLS!!!!

    • Oh beautiful woman THANK YOU so much for everything. I had the best time. I just wish we could have had longer. I hope you are still cleaning like a crazy woman x

  12. Rob Favelle says

    I just loved following this story… all of my very fav bloggers together with the totally awesome women of my beloved Outback ?So glad the weekend went so well, all sounded amazing and lots of fun ?

  13. Was watching Mrs Woogs’ updates across the weekend and love this wrap up. You guys are so lucky to be invited out there, and the ladies were equally lucky to have you. I’ve lived in the bush, although not quite as remote as that, and the saying ‘you make your own fun’ is really true. The communities lean on one another, because that is how they survive, and thrive. I know why people don’t leave – it gets into their skin.

  14. Gosh – what a trip. I loved following all you ladies on instagram.

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