In The Land we highlight how the regions feel neglected and the gulf between city and regional outcomes.
Further in the newspaper we have celebrated showgirls, and this is where the positive story is.
The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl competition has been held since 1962. Some say the showgirl name is out of date, especially if you google “showgirls". But the truth is that changing the name would be at this stage just another act of political correctness without any meaning to the women who are actually in it. This doesn't come from The Land, the Show societies or the RAS, but from the actual contestants.
You see the competition is full of intelligent, confident young women who are making their mark in society, and portraying positive roles for other young women.
A recent zone judging unearthed a plethora of women breaking the mould. One was a diesel mechanic working in a council, another was a truck driver working in a farm contract business, one was an overseer at a major horticultural company, one had just come back from six months on a West Australian cattle property, two were heading towards graphic design careers and wanting to do so from a regional base, and another was intent on making sure the live export issue did not harm the image of the cattle industry through a social media campaign. Another wanted to help fill the gap in regional health services by becoming a speech pathologist. Another wanted to be a jockey and win a Melbourne Cup like Michelle Payne.
More importantly all of them wanted to live and work in regional Australia. All of them were proud of the small communities they grew up in. They were also all over modern agricultural issues and wanting to stick up for farming and farmers, male and female. They were concerned about pests, weeds and feral animals, water issues, wanting the Darling River issue to be resolved for the benefit of everyone. And all of this positivity grew amid one of the worst droughts, many of them dealing with the stress on their own family farms or rural businesses.
It was heartwarming to see so much confidence in regional Australia and gave hope that good and rewarding jobs can be found outside the city for young people. Like the word showgirl, interpretation is up to the individual, terms can be reinvented, enhanced, just as regional can mean rewarding or central or essential.