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You can’t help but be drawn to the
intensity and empat hy in Kaye Wilson’s
sapphire blue eyes when the former
teacher and Central Queensland
landowner starts t alking passionately about
educating tomorrow’s family farmers.
“I don’t think the family farm will
keep going unless the next generation is
challenged to grow and I think the best way
to challenge t hem is through education.”
A life-long champion of education in
the bush, the successful agriculturist
understands that the future of Central
Queensland’s rural industry lays squarely
on the know-how and shoulders of the next
generation of family farmer s and grazier s.
“Working on the land in any aspect is
and will continue to be very scientific.
The land needs to be managed well.
Without proper educat ion there is no
long term solution to the challenges we
face,” says the rural industry stalwart
and supporter of the newly-announced
Belmont Agriculture Education Alliance.
The Alliance – among The Rockhampton
Grammar School, AgForce Queensland and
CQUniversity – w ill deliver a Cert ificate
III in Agricultural Science to Years 11
and 12 Rockhampton Grammar School
students at the former CSIRO Research
facility, Belmont St ation, at Etna Creek.
Rockhampton Grammar students
will also undertake university-level
courses as part of the prog ramme to
become eligible for direct entry to
CQUniversity’s AgriBusiness degree.
Kaye, a member of the Board of Trustees
of The Rockhampton Grammar School,
says the Alliance’s VET and University
pathways programme provides students
with a “career road map” from as young
as Year 7 when they are exposed to the
School’s Agriculture cur riculum.
“I especially want V ET qualifications
highly regarded and ack nowledged
on Central Queensland farms. They
prov ide young people w ith a real career
path. Qualifications such as these set
the direction in which to go,” she says.
A self-described bush rat, Kaye grew up
on an isolated propert y bet ween Roma
and Taroom in the late 50s. She and
husband Charlie – “a hot surfie from
Caloundra” – raised sheep and catt le in
the late 70s in t he area before pioneering
cotton, a “fascinating challenge”, at
Currimindi, out side of Emerald.
“ We became totally hooked on t his
rural industry. Suddenly I had to
replace the classroom w ith an office.”
Hav ing given up her secondary school
teaching career for family and business,
Kaye – with support from Charlie –
eventually returned to education as an
instructor and then board member at
The Emerald Agriculture College, in
her words “perfect ly melding her two
passions: agriculture and education.”
It led to a path of rural training.
Kaye became the Cotton Australia
representative on t he Queensland Rural
Indust ry Training Council, an A ssociate
Lecturer at CQUniversity Emerald and a
CQUniversity Advisory Council member.
Still active and visionary landowners, K aye
and Charlie grow irrigated cotton combined
with dryland farming on their Karamarra
propert y, on t he Mackenzie River north
of Dingo. They also run a beef enterprise
which they are convert ing to organic.
The couple believe family farming
is about hav ing faith in one other and
deriving strength from each other
especially during challenging times.
“ We nearly lost everything [25 years
ago]. We could not have made it
without each other. Resilience is very
important,” Charlie emphasises.
Future farmers w ill be challenged to be
more efficient, to adopt new technology,
to apply research and to diversif y their
businesses. Excellent educat ion options,
according to the Wilsons, are essential
to securing a prosperous f uture for
Cent ral Queensland farming families.
“The next generation has really strong
goals. An education that backs them up will
make them more resilient, more creative
and better informed to take the reins
and make the most of our land.”
Grow ing knowledge
of and on the land
An experienced educator and landowner tells Mike Donahue recognised
qualifications are essential to ensure the future of the family farm in Central Queensland
An education that backs up
[students] will make them more
resilient, more creative and
better informed to take the reins
and make the most of our land.
– Kaye Wilson
Central Queensland land owner Kaye Wilson believes future farming families
need access to quality agriculture courses and programmes.
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