FIVE MINUTES WITH...

FIVE MINUTES WITH... ANTHONY BENNETT

FOR THOSE WHO MAY NOT KNOW YOU, TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU DO.

James and I are mixed practice vets in Berry on the NSW South Coast. We have 3 practices, one in Berry, one at Shoalhaven Heads and one in Kangaroo Valley as well as our ambulatory work out of the cars. We see a massive variety of animals, everything from cats, dogs and axolotals to sheep, goats, alpacas, cattle and horses and everything in between. We have had to employ more vets to help with the caseload and there are now 7 full-time vets across the practices and several part-timers as well as 5-6 full time nurses. 

WHEREABOUTS IN THE COUNTRY DO YOU LIVE/DID YOU GROW UP? HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED THERE/HOW LONG DID YOU LIVE THERE?

I grew up between Sydney and Berry, went to school in Sydney and moved to Berry full-time in 2004 to live on the family farm. As kids we spent most weekends and holidays at the farm in Foxground and later Nowra so I knew the area pretty well before I moved down.

WHAT'S YOUR FONDEST MEMORY OF GROWING UP/LIVING IN THE COUNTRYSIDE?

My fondest memory of growing up in the country was playing with my cousins in the creek, building cubby-houses in the trees and forts in the shed. I was always by my dad's side as well, helping with the fencing and cattle work and I learnt to drive a tractor many years before I learnt to drive a car. 

IF YOU NOW LIVE AWAY FROM THE COUNTRY, DO YOU MISS IT? DO YOU TRY TO VISIT THE COUNTRYSIDE WHEN YOU CAN?

I am lucky enough to live just outside of Berry on a small acerage, surrounded by cattle and sheep and greenery. I definitely miss home when I go away and it is not until you drive around the Kiama bends on the way back to the coast that it really hits you that you are back. 

How do you balance a high-profile life and career with the simplicity of country life? Do you find it keeps you grounded?

Living in the country is essential for the style of work that James and I want to practice. There are not too many dairy cows in Darlinghurst! It definitely keeps you grounded, for instance moments after the name of the show was released I received a text message from a local dairy farmer saying "Village Idiots more like it"!

CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH A TYPICAL DAY IN YOUR LIFE?

There is no such thing as a typical day in the life of a country vet. James and I usually try to meet at work at around 7am and come up with a plan (you go to this farm, you see this person, you do that surgery) however by 8 o'clock when the phones are flicked off night mode that plan usually gets scrapped and we just deal with an enormous case load in the most practical fashion. It does make catching-up with friends and attending parties on time pretty difficult however we love it that way.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING?

 I am a keen sportsman so most of my spare time, of which there is very little, is taken up playing tennis and golf, running and snow-skiing in the winter. I work on the Ski patrol in Thredbo in our winter so that keeps me pretty busy from June through to September with lots of weekends and weeks in the snow.

WHEN YOU GO ON HOLIDAYS, WHAT SORT OF DESTINATION DO YOU USUALLY CHOOSE? COUNTRY/CITY/COAST?

Most of my holidays revolve around my passion for snow skiing. Recent destinations have included Japan, Canada and the US. Given ski resorts are usually in the wilderness I guess you could say the holidays have a country feel, especially places like Jackson Hole in Wyomming which is a real cowboy town with a year-round population of only 7,000.

WHAT ARE THE THINGS YOU FIND MOST IMPORTANT IN LIFE?

Family and friends are the most important thing in life and it is essential to keep this in mind with our busy schedules. Part of what we are trying to achieve this year is more time-off to allow us to spend time with our families and partners.

WHERE CAN WE FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR WORK?

You can find out more about our practice and what we do via our website berryvetclinic.com.au or on our Facebook pages, either via The Village Vets or our practice.

 

Interview with Anthony Bennett
The Village Vets
www.berryvetclinic.com.au
www.facebook.com/VillageVetsAustralia


FIVE MINUTES WITH... JAMES CARROLL

FOR THOSE WHO MAY NOT KNOW YOU, TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU DO.

I work as a mixed practice vet in Berry NSW - this means treating everything from dogs, cats, horses cows and guinea pigs! 

WHEREABOUTS IN THE COUNTRY DO YOU LIVE/DID YOU GROW UP? HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED THERE/HOW LONG DID YOU LIVE THERE?

I was born in Brisbane then grew up in Wee Waa, Sydney, Bundarra then moved overseas before settling in the beautiful country town of Berry on the NSW South coast.

WHAT'S YOUR FONDEST MEMORY OF GROWING UP/LIVING IN THE COUNTRYSIDE?

The space and the ability to run about freely, riding motorbikes, horses and and paying as much sport as possible.

IF YOU MADE A TREE-CHANGE TO MOVE BACK TO THE COUNTRYSIDE, WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO DO SO, AND HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT IT?

We made a tree change after moving back from overseas. Living in the city had it's benefits but not the quality of life that we are able to achieve by living in the country. Once the opportunity came up with work we went through a process of weighing up all the pro's and cons - and the standard of living that we can achieve in Berry far outweighs anything we could have achieved in Sydney.

How do you balance a high-profile life and career with the simplicity of country life? Do you find it keeps you grounded?

Life's not really that simple living in the country - it has all the opportunities of city life but no anonymity! Knowing everyone and that people are very upfront and honest means that you're not left in any doubts about what people think.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT WHERE YOU LIVE/WHERE YOU GREW UP?

I love that where we live is the perfect blend of being in the country but still being on the coast - and an amazing climate. You literally couldn't design a better location.

CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH A TYPICAL DAY IN YOUR LIFE?

Wake up about 5.30 and get some paperwork out of the way before work really kicks off at about 7.30am. Usually Admit animals in to hospital and consults, typically seeing a cow or a horse mid morning and then some surgeries or procedures, ultrasounds x-rays etc... then mopping up whatever needs to be done in the afternoon. Try and finish up by 7.30pm to get home and see my kids before bed time and sneak in a bedtime story. Our work is never predictable so you never know what you're going to have to do - anything from delicate surgery on a tiny animal to the hard physical work of a calving.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING?

My priority is always spending time with my wife and kids - as much as possible that means playing outside, riding bikes, swimming at the beach, kayaking, fishing... whatever the weather dictates.

WHEN YOU GO ON HOLIDAYS, WHAT SORT OF DESTINATION DO YOU USUALLY CHOOSE? COUNTRY/CITY/COAST?

We are so blessed with where we live that we rarely travel too far. We love to just head a little further down the coast in our caravan and explore our beautiful region. 

DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE COUNTRYSIDE DESTINATIONS (BESIDES YOUR HOMETOWN)?

The snowy mountains have always been a favourite - in winter or summer.

DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE COUNTRY-STYLE THINGS TO RECOMMEND TO US – A FAVOURITE COOKBOOK OR HEIRLOOM RECIPE? FAVOURITE BLOGGER, MAGAZINE, COUNTRY TV SHOW?

There's not much better than a cold beer in the bar at a country pub.

WHAT ARE THE THINGS YOU FIND MOST IMPORTANT IN LIFE?

Family (and everything that involves) and enjoying what you're doing - and doing things properly.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE ASPECT OF THE COUNTRYSIDE AND THE COUNTRY LIFE?

The sunrises and the sunsets are the best material things and the community aspects are extremely important.

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR YOUR FUTURE – ANY PLANS OR GOALS?

Life has plenty of surprises in store so I can't really say what comes next. The goal is to build the best vet practice that we can and see where that takes us!

WHERE CAN WE FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR WORK?

We've made two television series Village Vets Australia and written two books. Or you can drop in to Berry Vet Clinic - we'll be there on the tools!

 

Interview with James Carroll
The Village Vets
www.berryvetclinic.com.au
www.facebook.com/VillageVetsAustralia


FIVE MINUTES WITH... HAYLEY JENSEN

FOR THOSE WHO MAY NOT KNOW YOU, TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU DO.

Well, I’m a country girl living in the city, passionate about moving people through my music. I’m a singer-songwriter - storyteller, often
sharing my own experiences and realisations, but am also incredibly inspired by the world around me. I write from my heart always. I also
love to perform live and performing is probably where I get my ‘re-fuelling’ energy wise as an artist. Ive had some amazing opportunities to perform on TV in front of millions on Australian Idol.

WHEREABOUTS IN THE COUNTRY DO YOU LIVE/DID YOU GROW UP? HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED THERE/HOW LONG DID YOU LIVE THERE?

I was born in Albury/Wodonga and 1/2 of my family still live in the region - it’s like my second home. When I started high school we moved
to a property in Wamboin, near Bungendore, NSW, and I worked at the local supermarket on the weekends. I moved into ‘town’ (Canberra) when I was 20, but was back home most weekends to ride my horses.

WHAT'S YOUR FONDEST MEMORY OF GROWING UP/LIVING IN THE COUNTRYSIDE?

I have so many so its actually really hard to boil it down to just one, but I loved the open space to ride my horse and sing at the top
of my lungs! I loved going exploring in thebushland and making cubby houses out of old branches. I also fondly remember getting the country kids bus into school every day. I would inevitably be running late & have to chase it down the road! We had sing-a-longs pretty much every day which took a little away from the fact that we had to get up an hour & half earlier than the other kids at school just to make it there on time.

IF YOU NOW LIVE AWAY FROM THE COUNTRY, DO YOU MISS IT? DO YOU TRY TO VISIT THE COUNTRYSIDE WHEN YOU CAN?

I live right in the heart of Sydney now. There are just more opportunities for music, but I definitely miss the country! I get back
home probably once a month to see Mum which is always really refreshing – like pressing the reset button! I love spending time with
the animals, watching the sunsets, looking up at how bright the stars are without any city lights and breathing in the fresh air. So
relaxing!

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT WHERE YOU LIVE/WHERE YOU GREW UP?

I loved spending time with the animals, watching the sunsets, looking up at how bright the stars are without any city lights interfering
with them and breathing in the fresh air. So relaxing!

CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH A TYPICAL DAY IN YOUR LIFE?

...A typical day?! There isn’t one! Every day is different in the music industry. One day I might be song writing, another I might be
preparing for a show, practicing with my band, in the studio recording, doing or preparing for a photo or music video shoot. I also
work another job part time to pay some of the more regular bills, so those days are generally a little more predictable!

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING?

I like to head to the beach, or spend time with my fiancé or friends. Combining the lot is the best!

WHEN YOU GO ON HOLIDAYS, WHAT SORT OF DESTINATION DO YOU USUALLY CHOOSE? COUNTRY/CITY/COAST?

My fiancé, Kris, loves traveling and plans all of our trips. We love mixing it up so that sometimes they’re more active trips and sometimes
more relaxing. His family is from Belgium and they live in a small country town there, so that’s always lovely to visit, or my family in
Albury/Wodonga. We just recently got back from a trip to Lord Howe Island in NSW which was absolutely breathtakingly beautiful! In May we will be heading to Santorini in the Greek Islands for another break! Anyone would think we didn’t work!

DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE COUNTRYSIDE DESTINATIONS (BESIDES YOUR HOMETOWN)?

My favourite countryside destination, other than my hometown, would have to be Tamworth. It’s a beautiful part of
Australia, the home of country music in Australia and has incredible significance to me.

DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE COUNTRY-STYLE THINGS TO RECOMMEND TO US – A FAVOURITE COOKBOOK OR HEIRLOOM RECIPE? FAVOURITE BLOGGER, MAGAZINE, COUNTRY TV SHOW?

My favourite cook book is ‘Seasons’ by Donna Hay. It has the most beautiful photography and seasonal recipes. My mum bought it for me
for Christmas on year and I treasure it dearly.

WHAT ARE THE THINGS YOU FIND MOST IMPORTANT IN LIFE?

Family - without a doubt #1. Optimism, doing what you love as much as you can and dreaming big!

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE ASPECT OF THE COUNTRYSIDE AND THE COUNTRY LIFE?

Open space and the people. I love country people. They’re down to earth, loyal, approachable, will help you out at the drop of a hat and
no-bull. My kinda people!

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR YOUR FUTURE – ANY PLANS OR GOALS?

I’m currently planning a tour to support the release of my new EP ‘Past Tense & Present Peace’. I want to get out and see as many of my
loyal supporters as possible. Then it’s back into the studio to record my next record!

WHERE CAN WE FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR WORK?

Please come join the fun on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/thehayleyjensen – I’m always doing live videos and interacting with fans, running competitions etc. I love to talk directly with my amazing loyal supporters. I actually just filmed and streamed Live a launch concert for my new EP on my balcony! It was a great way to connect with people across the country and the world to hear what they thought of my new songs! I’m also on Instagram & Twitter, and my website www.hayleyjensen.net is always up to date too.

 

Interview with Hayley Jensen
www.hayleyjensen.net
www.facebook.com/thehayleyjensen
www.twitter.com/thehayleyjensen


FIVE MINUTES WITH... LUKE O'SHEA

FOR THOSE WHO MAY NOT KNOW YOU, TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU DO.

I'm a 47-year-old Australian singer-songwriter, school teacher, husband & father of three teenage daughters - so I try to spend as much time on the road as possible!

WHEREABOUTS IN THE COUNTRY DO YOU LIVE/DID YOU GROW UP? HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED THERE/HOW LONG DID YOU LIVE THERE?

I was born, raised and still live (and love) in the 'insular peninsula' - the Sutherland Shire. Growing up and still even today there is 2 degrees of separation between most people, and I sincerely love that connection and village feel to what is essentially a distant suburb of Sydney.

WHAT'S YOUR FONDEST MEMORY OF GROWING UP/LIVING IN THE COUNTRYSIDE?

I grew up in Grays Point with the Royal National Park as my backyard. My childhood was spent exploring the bush and old Aboriginal caves, swimming in creeks, war games and rock fights with neighbourhood mates and BMX bikes.

IF YOU NOW LIVE AWAY FROM THE COUNTRY, DO YOU MISS IT? DO YOU TRY TO VISIT THE COUNTRYSIDE WHEN YOU CAN?

I spent close to eight years travelling overseas and I've certainly had a good look around Oz but as a keen surfer I'm lucky enough to live very close to the beach now but still close to the bush where I grew up - so I feel I'm very fortunate to say I've got the best of both worlds.

IF YOU MADE A TREE-CHANGE TO MOVE BACK TO THE COUNTRYSIDE, WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO DO SO, AND HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT IT?

Because I'm always touring I get the chance to see just how incredible so many regions of Australia are - some areas can break your heart with their natural beauty and there are literally hundreds of places I could see myself living in - but like the saying goes - there's no place like home!

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT WHERE YOU LIVE/WHERE YOU GREW UP?

Connection. To family, friends, people and places - the spirit of the place.

CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH A TYPICAL DAY IN YOUR LIFE?

Impossible! There is no such thing as a typical day!

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING?

I love to escape with my family in our beat-up old caravan, way down the coast we're there is no internet or phone reception, where we just camp on a beach for a few weeks and eat dirt. By that I mean - bringing it all back to basics & being at the mercy of the elements. Invigorating, humbling, exhausting and relaxing all at the same time! Recharges the soul big time!

WHEN YOU GO ON HOLIDAYS, WHAT SORT OF DESTINATION DO YOU USUALLY CHOOSE? COUNTRY/CITY/COAST?

Usually the coast because my kids and I do love to surf and I love that physical and mental workout you get from it - so that you feel you deserve that afternoon beer! But we have had some amazing holidays inland as well - Australia has got it all really... how lucky are we?

DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE COUNTRYSIDE DESTINATIONS (BESIDES YOUR HOMETOWN)?

Tamworth is definitely another home away from home for me. My father was born in Boggabri so there is a natural affinity with the New England region, but due to me constantly touring musically and revisiting Tamworth a number of times a year for the last 18 years, the city has a number of close friends that have almost crossed over into becoming family. I love the town and it has been very good to me.

DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE COUNTRY-STYLE THINGS TO RECOMMEND TO US – A FAVOURITE COOKBOOK OR HEIRLOOM RECIPE? FAVOURITE BLOGGER, MAGAZINE, COUNTRY TV SHOW?

Not really. Just to make sure you 'steal' enough time to see and explore Australia. Everybody is so busy and time poor that they really miss out on experiencing just how great we have it here - and with feeling that - becoming aware of just how important and integral it is to look after it!

WHAT ARE THE THINGS YOU FIND MOST IMPORTANT IN LIFE?

Health, love, happiness, family, friends, creativity, enthusiasm, passion - the rest is just stuff.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE ASPECT OF THE COUNTRYSIDE AND THE COUNTRY LIFE?

The endless source of inspiration it provides me. Beauty beyond beauty, the colours and space, its diversity and uniqueness, its brutal honesty, its generosity and ability to humble anyone or anything.

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR YOUR FUTURE – ANY PLANS OR GOALS?

Same as always... world domination.

WHERE CAN WE FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR WORK?

www.lukeoshea.com or Facebook lukeosheamusic is the best way to find out where or what I'm up to.

 

Interview with Luke O'Shea
www.lukeoshea.com
www.facebook.com/lukeosheanusic


FIVE MINUTES WITH... LYNTON TAPP

FOR THOSE WHO MAY NOT KNOW YOU, TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU DO.

I am a bit of a slashie – chef/television host/cookbook author. I’ve got my fingers in a lot of pies. I’m probably most known from the 2013 series of Masterchef where I came runner up. Since then, I’ve been hosting television shows My Market Kitchen and A Taste of Travel. I brought out my first cookbook last year Outback Pantry, and I’m currently working on my second book too which has turned out to be a lot of fun.

WHEREABOUTS IN THE COUNTRY DO YOU LIVE/DID YOU GROW UP? HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED THERE/HOW LONG DID YOU LIVE THERE?

I grew up in the Roper River region on the Northern Territory and spent my adult years in Arnhem Land. It was a fantastic childhood filled with horse riding, mustering cattle and bush adventures foraging for native ingredients. This is where my love of rustic campfire cooking and indigenous ingredients started. I lived in this part of the territory until I was 12 then we moved a little further north to our property in Arnhem Land which, in a way was even more remote than the previous property.

WHAT'S YOUR FONDEST MEMORY OF GROWING UP/LIVING IN THE COUNTRYSIDE?

As a country kid your siblings are your best friends and my two sisters would be some of my fondest (and worst) memories growing up. Something that I miss every day while I live and work in Melbourne are my horses, I loved riding and mustering and I also competed professionally for many years. 

IF YOU NOW LIVE AWAY FROM THE COUNTRY, DO YOU MISS IT? DO YOU TRY TO VISIT THE COUNTRYSIDE WHEN YOU CAN?

I miss the country every day; the people, the open spaces, the sounds and smells, the night sky. Only country people will know what I am talking about when I mention the night sky or the smells.. the smell of a cattle truck is home for me. I try to get back to the properties a couple times a year to see my family and have some R&R time.

IF YOU MADE A TREE-CHANGE TO MOVE BACK TO THE COUNTRYSIDE, WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO DO SO, AND HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT IT?

I haven’t moved back yet however, I want to move back to the country when I am ready to start a family with my partner. Growing up in the country is a rare opportunity for children these days and I think is an important grounding for a child. I wouldn’t be able to afford the cattle empire which I once ran so I would have to settle for a little block off the beaten track. 

WHAT'S ONE ASPECT OF YOUR CHILDHOOD YOU FEEL INFORMS YOUR WORK NOW?

With a growing disconnect between the country and cities of Australia my background has played a crucial part in my work and what I set out to achieve. I want to see our farmers acknowledged for their tireless work to ensure that as a nation we have some of the best produce in the world. I would not have the insight into this crucial industry without my fortunate childhood.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT WHERE YOU LIVE/WHERE YOU GREW UP?

I loved growing up outdoors. The land really shaped the way I approach my work now too. It was definitely growing up cooking over a fire and foraging for native ingredients along with farming cattle that developed my passion for food and the wider food/agriculture industry in Australia.

CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH A TYPICAL DAY IN YOUR LIFE?

With so many projects on the go at any one time, there isn’t really a typical day. We’re just about to start filming the second season of My Market Kitchen, so this week is mainly just preparing for that. Otherwise I’m creating and reworking recipes for my cookbook, meeting with publishers, producers, and all the people that are involved in making things happen along with working in a kitchen doing 30 odd hours a week. It’s a lot of work, but I must say I feel lucky that I’m able to do what I love for a living. 

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING?

I like to go for a bushwalk, it relaxes me and I also do a little foraging along the way. My girlfriend often gets annoyed when my pockets become too full with edible plants that I have to ask her to carry some stuff for me.

WHEN YOU GO ON HOLIDAYS, WHAT SORT OF DESTINATION DO YOU USUALLY CHOOSE? COUNTRY/CITY/COAST?

Country. I have to spend some time in the city to experience the restaurants and big food markets however, for me to completely relax and take in what a destination has to offer I have to be in the country.

DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE COUNTRYSIDE DESTINATIONS (BESIDES YOUR HOMETOWN)?

I love to visit South East Queensland, Stanthorpe and Warwick are beautiful country towns with great bakeries. I always judge a town on its country style bakery.

DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE COUNTRY-STYLE THINGS TO RECOMMEND TO US – A FAVOURITE COOKBOOK OR HEIRLOOM RECIPE? FAVOURITE BLOGGER, MAGAZINE, COUNTRY TV SHOW?

I have a camp oven as a part of my cooking equipment. For some reason I think roasts and stews taste better when I use it. I follow a photographer Edwina Robertson who is a passionate advocate for country people. She is currently on her latest endeavor “Wander of the West,” which is a country social experiment where she travels rural Australia with no money exchanging her services for a bed for the night and fuel. 

WHAT ARE THE THINGS YOU FIND MOST IMPORTANT IN LIFE?

Family and friends. I love that my family really don’t follow what I do for a living. The world I work in and my family life are so different and I love that when I go home, it’s exactly the same as it has always been. We all slip straight back into the way it was growing up.

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR YOUR FUTURE – ANY PLANS OR GOALS?

2017 is going to be a huge year for me. A whole lot of projects that I have been simmering away on seem to be coming to fruition. Many I can’t quite talk about yet but we’ve got another series of My Market Kitchen and a cookbook to work on now. I’ll be sure to update you as the rest happens too. 

WHERE CAN WE FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR WORK?

The best way is probably to follow me on instagram: @lyntontapp. I post about my projects and day-to-day life there. And of course there’s food pics and links to recipes thrown in there too. 

 

Interview with Lynton Tapp
www.lyntontapp.com
www.facebook.com/LyntonJBTapp
www.twitter.com/Lynto_Tapp


FIVE MINUTES WITH... GINA JEFFREYS

FOR THOSE WHO MAY NOT KNOW YOU, TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU DO.

I began my country music career by winning a talent quest called Star Maker in Tamworth in 1992. I was presented my trophy by Keith Urban who won the year before me!

Things changed from that day. I left my country home town of Toowoomba and moved to the big smoke of Sydney.

I feel truly blessed to have gone on to become the first Australian Female Country Artist to sell platinum albums and tour to sellout crowds across Australia. My career took me all over the world and Australia.

Then we were blessed with a beautiful son 14 years ago and my husband Rod McCormack and I decided that the best thing for our little family would be to stay home and tuck him in every night ourselves. We gave up the high life of touring so we never had to miss a game of cricket or footy. Best decision ever! They grow up so fast and Jacky is already taller than me!

Now I run a successful performance workshop business. I spend my time mentoring up and coming singers from as young as 6 all the way to Ellie Drennan who won the Voice and Fletcher Pilon who won Australia's Got Talent.  Teaching lots of kids that you need to be kind and grateful if you want success. I love it so much.

WHEREABOUTS IN THE COUNTRY DO YOU LIVE/DID YOU GROW UP? HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED THERE/HOW LONG DID YOU LIVE THERE?

I grew up in Toowoomba Queensland. I lived there until I was 22.

WHAT'S YOUR FONDEST MEMORY OF GROWING UP/LIVING IN THE COUNTRYSIDE?

Having the freedom to run around the neighbourhood with all the neighbourhood kids and climb trees and play back yard cricket. I also loved my family home and the life our parents gave my brother and me. We had a pool and lots of pool parties!

IF YOU NOW LIVE AWAY FROM THE COUNTRY, DO YOU MISS IT? DO YOU TRY TO VISIT THE COUNTRYSIDE WHEN YOU CAN?

I was drawn to the Central Coast where I now live because it has a real country town feel to it. Though it’s close to the beach! (We used to have to drive for 3 hours to get to the Coast as kids). I travelled so much through country towns right across Australia as a touring artist, that these days I love nothing more than staying home! We live on acreage and it feels like the country side right here in my back yard.

IF YOU MADE A TREE-CHANGE TO MOVE BACK TO THE COUNTRYSIDE, WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO DO SO, AND HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT IT?

My husband Rod and I often talk about moving to the country one day! We love it so much when we drive through those gorgeous little towns with their beautiful tree lined main streets and funky little coffee shops. I think the Hunter Valley is where we would go if we didn’t have a little family so settled here.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT WHERE YOU LIVE/WHERE YOU GREW UP?

I live on the Central Coast and we are so close to the beach yet it feels like the country. There are horse studs just down our street yet the beach and the shops are just minutes away.

CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH A TYPICAL DAY IN YOUR LIFE?

A typical day these days is - drop Jacky to school, go to the gym or a walk and then come home and prepare lessons for my little performance school.

Then I write songs most days either for myself or for other artists - or I teach songwriting and mentor up and coming stars.

I’m pretty house proud so tidying up and doing house work is part of my day too like all the other working Mums. Love to finish the day with a glass of wine with my husband while I cook dinner!

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING?

My happy place is our back yard swimming pool and spa! I love to have friends over and be out the back entertaining. We often end up singing a few songs too!

WHEN YOU GO ON HOLIDAYS, WHAT SORT OF DESTINATION DO YOU USUALLY CHOOSE? COUNTRY/CITY/COAST?

My favourite holiday is a tropical paradise somewhere laying by the pool! I love Fiji and Thailand.

DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE COUNTRYSIDE DESTINATIONS (BESIDES YOUR HOMETOWN)?

I love the Hunter Valley.

DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE COUNTRY-STYLE THINGS TO RECOMMEND TO US – A FAVOURITE COOKBOOK OR HEIRLOOM RECIPE? FAVOURITE BLOGGER, MAGAZINE, COUNTRY TV SHOW?

I adore all the home reno shows! Especially Fixer Upper - a great show out of Texas where they renovate homes in a beautiful country style! Stunning!

WHAT ARE THE THINGS YOU FIND MOST IMPORTANT IN LIFE?

Family. Family. Family. All that matters is to love and be loved.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE ASPECT OF THE COUNTRYSIDE AND THE COUNTRY LIFE?

The friendliness of the people, the relaxed pace and the lack of traffic.

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR YOUR FUTURE – ANY PLANS OR GOALS?

I’m looking forward to recording some new songs. I'm also excited about the future of some of the young artists that I’m working with. Watch out for Max Jackson and Lily Lewis!

My biggest plan though always is to spend as much time as possible with my beautiful family and love them a lot!

WHERE CAN WE FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR WORK?

I am not obsessed with social media so I don't do a lot on there but if you keep an eye on my website we keep everyone updated on upcoming events.

 

Interview with Gina Jeffreys
www.ginajeffreys.com
www.facebook.com/ginajeffreysmusic


FIVE MINUTES WITH... MELINDA SCHNEIDER

FOR THOSE WHO MAY NOT KNOW YOU, TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU DO.

Well, I was born into a musical family, a policeman dad and yodelling mum actually. Career wise I have been fortunate enough to do what I love, which is sing and write songs, I’m very lucky. I have had most of my success in the country music genre and have been lucky enough to win 6 CMAA Golden Guitar awards over the years and travel the world doing what I love.

WHEREABOUTS IN THE COUNTRY DO YOU LIVE/DID YOU GROW UP? HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED THERE/HOW LONG DID YOU LIVE THERE?

I grew up in the St George area in Sydney and went to school at Kogarah. I then spend many years living closer to the city in the inner west of Sydney. About five years ago, I decided I wanted to get out of the rat race, so my partner and I bought a house on the central coast of NSW. We love it here, we look right onto a beautiful bay and the beach is just around the corner... quality of life is everything.

WHAT'S YOUR FONDEST MEMORY OF GROWING UP/LIVING IN THE COUNTRYSIDE?

Well, being a country singer, people may think it’s strange that I spent my childhood in Sydney, but I remember Sydney in the 70s, when you could still smell a storm coming and seeing lots of cicadas at Christmas time. I loved those steamy summer nights and the days where the tar on the roads would bubble and we’d all be running around in bare feet... those were the good old days! It’s very different in Sydney now.

If you now live away from the country, do you miss it? Do you try to visit the countryside when you can?

I spend a lot of time travelling to regional areas, which I love. It’s the people I love most and the long drives to the next town.

If you made a tree-change to move back to the countryside, what made you decide to do so, and how did you go about it?

When I met my partner Mark Gable (singer from legendary 80s rock band Choirboys) and we decided to buy a house together a few years later, we were living in the inner city of Sydney and just decided that we wanted to find somewhere with a view. So I took Mark to my favourite area of the central coast of NSW and we bought a little shack, right on the bay... we built a new house a couple of years back and we absolutely love where we live.

How do you balance a high-profile life and career with the simplicity of country life? Do you find it keeps you grounded?

I like to think I’d be grounded wherever I live, but yes, having quality of life and living in a quieter area is definitely better for your spirit and your health I believe.

What do you enjoy most about where you live/where you grew up?

The view, the birds, the people and much less traffic.

Can you walk us through a typical day in your life?

I wake up around 6am with my four year old, Sullivan. Get up and play with him for a while, get breakfast, get him ready for pre-school, then I come home and work, work, work in my office until it’s time to pick him up! Then, it’s more games or a trip to the park, then dinner at 6pm and Sully into bed around 7.30pm... By that time, I collapse on the couch and watch some of my favourite netflix shows... then crash... and do it all over again the next day.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

Read, shop, eat out, spend quality time with my family.

When you go on holidays, what sort of destination do you usually choose? Country/city/coast?

We don’t do many holidays really, our lives involve so much travel that we are just happy to be home when we can be, but I usually go to Nashville once a year.

Do you have any favourite countryside destinations (besides your hometown)?

I always like going to Albury and Orange, but really everywhere in Australia is so different, you could never get bored!

Do you have any favourite country-style things to recommend to us – a favourite cookbook or heirloom recipe? Favourite blogger, magazine, country TV show?

I used to love the show ‘Something in The Air’... I actually sang the theme song to it, but it was a great show.

What are the things you find most important in life?

Loving my family, good health, and to laugh every day.

What’s your favourite aspect of the countryside and the country life?

The fact that people have more time to care about one another and don’t seem to be as obsessed about money as people in big cities. 

What’s in store for your future – any plans or goals?

I have lots of work projects that I want to bring to life, but the most important thing for me now is to be here for my little boy and to be a good mum.

Where can we find out more about you and your work?

My website www.melindaschneider.com or facebook of course!

 

Interview with Melinda Schneider
www.melindaschneider.com
www.facebook.com/MelindaSchneider
www.twitter.com/melindaschneidr

 

Melinda Schneider is currently touring Australia with her 'Melinda Does Doris (Day)' and 'Great Women of Country' stage shows. Melinda is also available for more intimate events and private functions. For more information, contact Monica Cram on 0405 601 770 or to watch Melinda's music videos and purchase CDs, go to melindaschneider.com


FIVE MINUTES WITH... MAGGIE BEER

FOR THOSE WHO MAY NOT KNOW YOU, TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU DO.

I’m lucky enough to be able to say that my day to day life spans farming, food production, exporting, food writing and television presenting - all the pieces of the puzzle that are tied together by the common theme of my love for good food. But I’ll be the first to say, there was never any grand plan in regards to me having the career that I do. It was really moving to the Barossa when I married Colin and being surrounded by such wonderful, seasonal produce that sparked my existing interest in food to be taken to the next level. And eventually starting the Pheasant Farm Restaurant really clinched the deal to set me on my food path.

WHEREABOUTS IN THE COUNTRY DO YOU LIVE? HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED THERE?

A Sydney girl for my childhood, I moved to the Barossa Valley in 1973 when I married my husband, Colin.

HOW DO YOU BALANCE A HIGH-PROFILE LIFE AND CAREER WITH THE SIMPLICITY OF COUNTRY LIFE? DO YOU FIND IT KEEPS YOU GROUNDED?

It’s quite a blurred line between work and leisure for me because I so often, and so gratefully, can combine my travel with work, catching up with good friends with work, and even my choice of reading material can easily benefit my working life. But no matter where I am, the Barossa will always be the grounding aspect in my life. The simple aspect of growing our own food provides me with the greatest link to the balanced life we have at home. I love wandering out in the early morning to choose fruit for breakfast, or walk through the orchard on a Summer’s evening when the fragrance of sun-ripened fruit declares its readiness to pick. This is such a luxury in busy times and always puts a new perspective on life for me.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT WHERE YOU LIVE?

Living in the Valley has taught me a great deal. Born into a family where food was always important, I guess my eyes and ears were wide open when I first arrived here. I learnt quickly about the rhythm of the seasons, the delight of truly ripened fruit and vegetables picked at their peak, and how to not only maximise the potential of what I can grow here, but also what can be foraged in the wild. These are the things that are a reminder each and every day of why I love living here as much as I do.

CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH A TYPICAL DAY IN YOUR LIFE?

To say it varies is an understatement! It could be anything from working on new trials for ice cream flavours to guest speaking at an event through my Foundation. Whether I’m doing a photoshoot or working on new product ideas, or thinking about what seasonal fruit and veggies I’ll leave for guests at Orchard House (our accommodation in the middle of our heritage orchard) - it always comes back to food. If there’s one thing that I could claim as a constant in every day, it’s good food.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING?

Spending time in my garden is my favourite way to wind down. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that my time becomes completely unstructured in the garden, or having my hands buried in the soil that has the required effect, but something definitely shifts for me when I surround myself in nature.

WHEN YOU GO ON HOLIDAYS, WHAT SORT OF DESTINATION DO YOU USUALLY CHOOSE? COUNTRY/CITY/COAST? DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE COUNTRYSIDE DESTINATIONS (BESIDES YOUR HOMETOWN)?

Our beach house. Even in my quiet times or when we go on holidays, I have to go somewhere I can cook. Eating is just the outcome of working with wonderful produce. And wherever I am, that's what I search for.

DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE COUNTRY-STYLE THINGS TO RECOMMEND TO US - A FAVOURITE COOKBOOK OR HEIRLOOM RECIPE? FAVOURITE BLOGGER, MAGAZINE, COUNTRY TV SHOW?

Most people who live in the country, and are interested in growing their own food, are likely to cook in a produce-driven way. When I first moved to the Valley, I devoured the writings of Elizabeth David. She had abundant ideas and suggestions that spoke to me, as I've never had the patience to follow recipes, and I would absolutely recommend her books to anyone wanting to know more about seasonal cooking.

WHAT ARE THE THINGS YOU FIND MOST IMPORTANT IN LIFE?

Family, friends, music and food.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE ASPECT OF THE COUNTRYSIDE AND THE COUNTRY LIFE? WHAT'S IN STORE FOR YOUR FUTURE - ANY PLANS OR GOALS?

Because I have more ideas than I have time in life to fulfill, my job gives me a chance to combine all of my skills on a daily basis – thinking laterally, being creative and of course cooking.  All that I love is underpinned by our life in the country, and the countryside itself - I can’t ever imagine tiring of that.

WHERE CAN WE FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR WORK?

www.maggiebeer.com.au and www.maggiebeerfoundation.org.au

 

Interview with Maggie Beer
www.maggiebeer.com.au
www.maggiebeerfoundation.org.au
www.facebook.com/OfficialMaggieBeer


FIVE MINUTES WITH... CATRIONA ROWNTREE

For those who may not know you, please could you tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

I'm a Travel Reporter who accidentally fell in love with a sheep and grain Farmer in Victoria. We have nothing in common but find each other very attractive.

Whereabouts in the country do you live?

We live on an historic property near Geelong Victoria. Near a beautiful mountain range that rain seems to have an allergic reaction too and hence avoids us.

If you made a tree-change to the countryside, what made you decide to do so, and how did you go about it?

I didn't have a choice but to move there, I was in love, I wish I could've married 'the boy next door' and stayed on Sydney's North Shore, but he was a grumpy old man. I fought moving with every inch of my body, but I followed my heart over my head and now have 2 children and a garden that's as big as I can move the fence.

How do you balance a high-profile life and career with the simplicity of country life? Do you find it keeps you grounded?

Nope, I'm mental just like every other working parent, I just get to walk outside and yell at the sky, with no neighbours to hear me. Everything starts with the wellbeing of my children. Are they cared for, happy, loved, healthy? I begin my choices with that and we flow from there.

What do you enjoy most about where you live?

I love every element. Turning into the long main drive and seeing the mountain in the distance. Tooting my horn at Merinos on the drive, searching for koalas in the back paddocks, in trees that shade honey boxes below. My children have no idea how fortunate they are. Life has also shown me that circumstances can change in the blink of an eye, so in just grateful for each day we live where we do.

Can you walk us through a typical day in your life?

No, I'm sorry, I can't. I don't have typical days. I don't work in an office, my schedule changes daily, I've no idea what to expect. But my son Andrew does wake at 7am and insist the house rises with him too. We go from there.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I like to clean my house, I like to bake muffins, cuddle my cherubs, pick flowers from the garden and burn the dinner accidentally. I'm Cancerian, I like being home.

When you go on holidays, what sort of destination do you usually choose? Country/city/coast?

When you have children, I think you resign yourself to the fact that for a certain period of your life, your holidays will be about your kids happiness. If they're happy, I'm happy. Anywhere with water is a good start for us.

Do you have any favourite countryside destinations (besides your hometown)?

I could move to Longreach tomorrow, I think Forbes is to be congratulated on how they've retained their heritage and in turn boosted tourism. I like to sit in The Pantry in Booroowa and talk to my friend Joseph who convinced me to buy everything there. Port fairy is awesome at New Years, Skenes Creek rocks during Easter, Hobart is beautiful on a weekend...hey, I'm Australia's Most Travelled Woman, we don't have enough space for this answer.

Do you have any favourite country-style things to recommend to us – a favourite cookbook or heirloom recipe? Favourite blogger, magazine, country TV show?

I read Mark D Sikes every day online, a view into a beautiful world. Paul Bangay on Instagram is just unfair and Lilypond in Geelong is brilliant for French inspired finds.

What are the things you find most important in life?

Family, living life on my own terms, not wasting a day, choosing kindness and living a productive life that I hope my grandchildren will be proud of.

What’s your favourite aspect of the countryside and the country life?

If you love where you live, you have to fight for that. We have a property developer who bought the productive farm next door to us and wants to turn it into an open cut mine. I am determined to fight that and in turn save the habitat of local wildlife, make sure the surrounding roads are safe for Travellers and just avoid this greedy destruction. I'm under no illusions that life in the country is glorious. We have to work hard and shout loudly to protect what we have naturally. 

What’s in store for your future – any plans or goals?

I'd love to promote Australian wool and dream of creating a wool range of clothing using our families wool. My travel website journeystocome.com is going gangbusters as I honour my 20 years on Getaway. I'm just in from Fiji and leave for Russia next week. We have 5 birthday parties this weekend plus soccer. I've a few things to attend to.

Where can we find out more about you and your work? 

If you turn on the Tele this weekend I'll be there, I'm on Instagram and Twitter plus www.jourmeystocome.com the travel website. I'm touring the nation talking to and promoting the work of the Farmers with AWI. I'm in your face and loving every second of it.

 

Interview with Catriona Rowntree
www.journeystocome.com
www.twitter.com/Catriona_Rtree
www.instagram.com/Catriona_Rtree


FIVE MINUTES WITH... MAGDALENA ROZE

For those who may not know you, tell us a little about yourself and what you do. 

I’m a TV Presenter, Journalist and Meteorologist with a passion for food and travel. More recently, I’ve also become a mum to my son Archie!

Whereabouts in the country do you live? How long have you lived there?

I’ve been living in the Northern Rivers around Byron Bay for around 18 months now and absolutely love it.

What’s your fondest memory of living in the countryside? 

Whenever I go to the city for work and return to the country, I feel like I can breathe again. I love driving through the hills and greenery, and the access we have to so much amazing produce. The community is really special too. People are so friendly and genuine, and I’ve found that it’s much easier to get things done because everyone pulls together. Whether it’s a business idea or charity event, people are willing to help.

If you made a tree-change to move back to the countryside, what made you decide to do so, and how did you go about it?

When my partner Darren Robertson had the opportunity to open a restaurant on a farm we jumped at the chance. It’s every chefs dream. My television and media career was very much based in Sydney so it was a but of a risk for me but it gave me the chance to explore different passions and diversify. I still get to dabble in TV whilst running my blog, MCing special events, working on my first food and lifestyle book, and being a mum!

How do you balance a high-profile life and career with the simplicity of country life? Do you find it keeps you grounded? 

Living in the country is very grounding. While the city has fantastic culture, restaurants and opportunities, it’s hectic! It’s nice to step away from that and slow down. When I’m home, I cook a lot and I’m pretty much make-up free all the time. It’s allowed me to slow down and simplify things. Almost everything we eat is local and I often make my own things like teas or bread from scratch- things that I never considered in the big smoke! I feel very fortunate to have a wholesome lifestyle where things like shopping at the farmer’s markets and a daily beach walk are the norm.

What do you enjoy most about where you live/where you grew up? 

The food, nature, beaches and strong community.

Can you walk us through a typical day in your life? 

It’s very different to what I do in the city and since being a mum to 5 month old! Archie is usually awake at 6.30am so we spend the next couple of hours having cuddles in bed, making tea and breakfast and getting ready for the day. By 8.30am we head out for a walk, coffee and crossword! It’s Darren’s and my favourite thing to do while Archie naps in the pram. The next few hours vary a lot day to day… I’m a full time mum to Archie so it always involves a mixture of playing with/feeding/settling and then some combination of recipe testing and cooking, meeting friends, exploring new places to eat, photo shoots, writing, blogging- it really depends on the day! Sometimes it’s just hanging at home with Darren and Archie. But it pretty much always ends with a late afternoon walk on the beach with Archie napping in the baby carrier followed by his bath and bed routine. Once Archie is asleep, Darren and I unwind with dinner and have an early night.

What do you like to do when you’re not working? 

Cooking, yoga, beach walks, eating out, travelling, crosswords!

When you go on holidays, what sort of destination do you usually choose? Country/city/coast? 

I absolutely love travel so all of the above.

Do you have any favourite countryside destinations (besides your hometown)? 

Too many to choose from in Tassie!

Do you have any favourite country-style things to recommend to us – a favourite cookbook or heirloom recipe? Favourite blogger, magazine, country TV show? 

There are so many talented people doing things up here that it’s hard to narrow it down but I love the beautiful soaps from Church Farm General Store in Billinudgel, the cakes by the CWA ladies in Bangalow and I’m trying to get the scones recipe from the Bangalow Historic Museum- they’re the best I’ve ever tried.

What are the things you find most important in life? 

Love, family, health, creativity, nature and following your dreams.

What’s your favourite aspect of the countryside and the country life? 

The farms, passionate producers, amazing food and people. I’m so glad Archie is growing up in such a beautiful environment.

What’s in store for your future – any plans or goals? 

I’m writing my first food and lifestyle book and have plans for a TV show.

Where can we find out more about you and your work? 

My blog www.magdalenaroze.com

 

Interview with Magdalena Roze
www.magdalenaroze.com
www.facebook.com/OfficialMagdalenaRoze
www.planetark.org

 

An award-winning television presenter, journalist and meteorologist, Magdalena is one of Australia’s most versatile talents. As well as presenting on Channel Ten’s breakfast shows, news and The Project, she’s also worked for the Nine Network, The Weather Channel and contributed to programs for the BBC.

Passionate about the environment, Magdalena is an ambassador for Planet Ark and National Tree Day, Earth Hour and RSPCA’s ‘Set A Sister Free’ campaign, as well as cancer charity Redkite.

Magdalena, along with her chef partner Darren Robertson, embarked on a tree change when they moved up to Byron Bay from Sydney a couple of years ago to start up a restaurant on a farm, with a focus on ethical and sustainable produce.

They love the outdoor lifestyle and Magdalena often blogs and Instagrams about nature and the connection to growing your own food. She and Darren recently welcomed baby boy Archie. 

Inspired by the seasons and driven by respect for nature, she is also enthusiastic advocate for all that is sustainable, artisanal, ethical and natural.