Being born and raised on the land didn’t lead to any free passes for Angie Nisbet. Forging her own path as a stockwoman and grazier hasn’t come easy. She’s had to work tirelessly and prove a lot of people wrong.
As if running Landsborough Downs near Hughenden, Queensland, wasn’t challenging enough – she’s recently added a couple more roles into the mix: mother to three children under four with a fly-in-fly-out husband and podcast host! Angie is a powerhouse and we sat down with her to celebrate International Rural Women’s Day.
Landsborough Downs is 400 kilometres from the nearest city, so Angie has to be incredibly organised and independent. “We are situated between Townsville and Mt Isa. We are on a cattle, sheep and goat property which is 80 kilometres from Hughenden, which is our nearest town. So pretty much the centre of Queensland,” she explains.
A family affair
It’s a true family affair for Angie. Her mother and father run a property next door as does her sister and brother. But Angie and her husband have only returned to the land full-time about two years ago. Prior to that, they were running an electrical business in Longreach.
We try to manage it all. It can be full on, but we have some great support around us as well.
“We still have that business. It’s quite vital to us because having off-farm income is really smart, especially considering we’ve just come out of a huge drought that lasted longer than expected. So, my husband flies in and flies out. He has his pilot licence and a little Cessna 182. When he’s not here, it’s just me and the kids. We try to manage it all. It can be full on, but we have some great support around us as well,” Angie shares.
Angie’s day could involve fixing water troughs, moving cattle, checking when sheep need to be weaned, making sure the goats aren’t stuck in fences. Then when she gets home, it’s looking after the kids, mowing the lawns, feeding the dogs and chooks.
“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do finishing Grade 12. There were a lot of ideas in my head. I wanted to be a jockey at one stage. I love fashion, so fashion design was in there. But in the core of my being, I’ve always wanted to be on the land. It’s always where I’ve felt most comfortable. It’s always where I’ve felt uncomfortable as well, which is a good thing too,” she says.
It was Angie’s dad who encouraged her to spend 12 months as a Jillaroo at a cattle station to really get a feel for things.
“It was a love/hate relationship. At the beginning as an 18-year-old I thought what am I doing? All my friends are at university while I’m doing 12-hour days on a horse. It wasn’t until I moved to Longreach that it hit home that the land is always somewhere I’ve wanted to be. It’s very opportunistic. It’s a fantastic career.”
That decision has come with its own set of challenges linked to being a woman.
“There were times when I worked as a jillaroo when people would ask what my plans were when I finished this. But I thought, what’s wrong with being on the land? There was a lot of push back from some people, but I also had great mentors. I’m still friends with some of them today. I’m very grateful.”
Breaking down stereotypes
Even still, it did plant a seed of doubt in her mind. It wasn’t until she hit her late 20s that Angie was prepared to make the call to go farming full-time.
People thought I couldn’t because I was a female and I really challenged that.
“If you really love something, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. So, it was straightforward from there,” she reveals.
Her first role model in life was her father who always encouraged her to follow her dreams.
“I pushed back on some things. People thought I couldn’t because I was a female and I really challenged that but that didn’t stick well with some people. Looking back though, I’ve very comfortable with that and happy that I was like that.”
Angie is one of three daughters to Jim and Terry Lindsay, a well-known rural family in the field of stock-handling. Angie describes her childhood on the land as wonderful.
“I’m by no means as knowledgeable as what dad is but I’m very fortunate to have grown up in that world where we’ve learnt how to handle cattle and I’m still learning now. He’s a pretty interesting and inspirational guy,” Angie shares.
Angie’s story is in itself fascinating but she’s more comfortable sharing the stories of other women in her own podcast, called ‘Married to the Land’.
“It’s an idea that came to me not long after I’d had my second child. I just think that through my experience of being a jillaroo and then coming back to the land that there are so many incredibly talented women who I see in my community or have met along my path. They just live the most incredible lives. They don’t think it’s incredible, but we wear so many hats. We do everything. We’re in amongst it all. It’s inspiring for other people to hear that because it can be isolating being out on the land,” she says.
There are so many incredibly talented women who I see in my community or have met along my path. They just live the most incredible lives.
Despite, the heat and the long days, Angie believes all the tough times are worth it when she sees her children living their best life in wide open spaces. You can see the cycle continues in this family with Angie becoming a trailblazing role model for her own children just like her father was for her.