The Invisible Farmer project is giving rural women the recognition they have long deserved. 

Story Amanda Burdon   

The Invisible Farmer project is the largest-ever study of Australian women in agriculture and aims to uncover the untold stories of mothers, sisters, wives and grandmothers who typify the wide-ranging roles that women play in Australian agriculture. Roles that, by and large, have been underappreciated and unacknowledged.

“When I became curator of primary production at Museums Victoria in 1983 and started investigating the collection, my first question was, ‘Where are all the women?’’ says senior curator and driving force behind the project, Liza Dale-Hallett. “Women create half of Australia’s real farm income, but their half of the story is mostly missing. We’re aiming to redefine the word ‘farmer’ to include all the parties responsible for producing our food and fibre. Agriculture today is very sophisticated and diverse; it happens on and off-farm, in kitchens, in cars, boardrooms and across the countryside itself.”

Invisible Farmer is an ambitious, nation-wide collaboration between rural communities, academics, government and cultural institutions. Oral histories are being compiled for the National Library of Australia and Museums Victoria, and digital tributes to rural women posted online by ABC Rural. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #116

Outback Magazine: December/January 2018