Women from across the country gathered at International Dairy Week to network, learn and inspire each other, as part of the third Power of Women in Dairy dinner.
The dinner celebrates the strong, passionate and successful women involved in the dairy industry and organiser Jade Sieben said it was great to see so many attend and enjoy some time away from the farm.
Celebrations included the announcement of the winner of the Bette Hall Power of Women in Dairy Award for Excellence, which was presented to Pam Malcolm.
Ms Malcolm, from Paringa Holsteins at Stewarton (near Shepparton) is a master breeder and well known in the dairy community.
“Pam has been breeding top production cows in Australia and New Zealand for the last five decades and is well known throughout the country for her dedication to the dairy industry,” Ms Sieben said.
“Pam once told me … ‘Life does not get any easier but we are all still here because of our love for the black-and-white cow’ — and that, I think, sums Pam up very well.”
Ms Malcolm was overwhelmed and honoured to receive the award and, fighting back tears, she told the crowd she bred cows because, simply, it was what she loved.
The night also included guest speaker and former dairy farmer Di Schubert.
Ms Schubert spoke about her career in the industry and the highs and lows she experienced during that time, including taking over the running of the dairy farm after the unexpected loss of her first husband, the joy of showing cows and the low of losing a third of her dairy herd to botulism.
Amelia Morris from Nagambie spoke about her personal battle with mental illness, a battle which led her to attempt to take her own life in 2015.
Ms Morris is an ambassador for Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health.
“There is no shame in having a mental illness, it’s no different to being physically ill and I do think things are changing and there is a lot more awareness around the issue than there used to be. It is so important to speak about it and not hide it away,” Ms Morris said.
The night concluded with a parade of vintage Christian Dior hats as part of the Hats for Hope program (a fundraising initiative that supports Orygen).