Irish backpacker flourishes in Australian dairy industry

By Rick Bayne

FIVE YEARS ago, the idea of working in the Australian dairy industry was the last thing on the mind of Ireland’s Rosemary Corcoran — today, she couldn’t think of anything better.

Rosemary came to Australia at the end of August 2013 on a backpacking holiday and found work on a dairy farm at Finley. The new lifestyle was a game changer for the former corner store assistant from County Cork.

“I just loved milking cows — it’s so diverse and everyone is willing to give you different roles so you’re not just a milker, even though I love that!” Rosemary said.

Although not from a farming background in Ireland, Rosemary’s contribution to Australian agriculture is progressing in leaps and bounds with a Certificate III and IV in Agriculture completed and a diploma on the way.

Most recently, Australia’s Legendairy Women’s Network (ALWN) supported Rosemary to attend the Australian Women in Agriculture Conference 2018 in Shepparton, which gave her a new perspective about the important role of women on farms.

The Australia’s Legendairy Women’s Network was established to connect and support Australian dairy women. It is an active on-line community and can be joined at:

According to Dairy Australia Community Relations Manager and ALWN Co-ordinator, Natasha Busbridge, helping dairy women attend the conference provides positive development and networking opportunities.

“Anyone who attended the conference would have taken something away with them to help their professional development as farmers while enjoying the opportunity to connect with other women in the industry,” she said.

Rosemary was encouraged by stories of how the Australian Women in Agriculture (AWiA) network started.

“I met so many inspiring women. My favourite quote on the day was from a woman who said she went to an AWiA meeting as a farmer’s wife and came out as a farmer,” she said.

“I felt a bit that way myself. The dairy industry in Australia is very forward-looking in all aspects, like succession planning, technology and diversity.”

“Everything is done for a reason and it’s very scientific and that’s why I wanted to study and move up the ranks, plus I met my partner Tim Snowden and decided to stay.”

Until last year Rosemary was milking full time but has now moved into hay production on Tim’s family’s Lucerne hay farm near Tocumwal in NSW.

She maintains her connection to dairy farming by milking on weekends and helping with other jobs on a neighbouring dairy farm.

“I get my cow-fix on the weekends,” she joked.

Rosemary, 30, is also part of Dairy Australia’s Young Dairy Network steering committee and a leader of the Riverina Young Discussion Group.

At the moment Rosemary is enjoying a different aspect of Australian agriculture but hopes to return full-time to dairy.

“My heart is in the dairy industry,” she said.

“Before I came to Australia I could never imagine myself working in agriculture, let alone milking cows. Now I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”