Guest Speakers

Rosalie Ham
Rosalie Ham (author)

Rosalie Ham is the daughter of a farming family, born and raised in Jerilderie, NSW. She has achieved a Bachelor of Education (majoring in Drama and Literature, Deakin) and a Master of Arts, Creative Writing (RMIT, 2007). Rosalie teaches Literature at Trinity College, University of Melbourne.

In 2000 she published her first novel, ‘The Dressmaker’, to critical praise. ‘The Dressmaker’ is an Australian gothic story of love, hate and haute couture, set in the 1950s. The central character Tilly Dunnage, is a Paris couturier who returns to her home town of Dungatar, years after having been expelled as a ten year old. Her intention is to visit her mother Molly and then leave. Instead, she stays, colliding with her past and exacting revenge upon the people who pilloried her. When she does depart, she leaves behind a town ruined, and another past to flee. In 2015 the novel was adapted into an award-winning film of the same name.

Rosalie’s other published works include the novels ‘Summer at Mount Hope’ and ‘There Should be More Dancing’. Her novels have sold over 150,000 copies in Australia and internationally.

More information about Rosalie and her novels is available from her official website.


Sue Maslin
Sue Maslin (film producer and director)

Sue Maslin grew up in Jerilderie, and attended boarding school alongside Rosalie Ham. She is now one of Australia’s most successful film, television and digital content producers with a track record of creating award winning feature and documentary films.

Sue produced the 2015 film adaptation of ‘The Dressmaker’, starring Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Hugo Weaving, and Liam Hemsworth. The film grossed more than $20 million at the box office and garnered the highest number of nominations at the 2015 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards,  winning five, including the coveted People’s Choice Award for Favourite Australian Film.

Sue’s feature credits include ‘Road To Nhill’ (winner of 2003 Best Feature Film at Thessaloniki International Film Festival), ‘Japanese Story’ (winner of 2003 AFI Award for Best Feature Film, IF Award for Best Feature Film, Film Critics Circle of Australia Best Feature Film);  ‘Celebrity: Dominick Dunne’; and ‘Hunt Angels’ (winner of the 2006 AFI Award for Best Feature Documentary Film).

Sue’s outstanding 35-year contribution to the Australian screen industry has been recognised in numerous ways. She was appointed Adjunct Professor of the School of Media & Communication at RMIT University and in 2012 received the inaugural Jill Robb Award for Outstanding Leadership, Achievement and Service to the Victorian Screen Industry. Reflecting her commitment to advocacy for women, Sue is currently a Patron of Women In Film and Television and the President of the Natalie Miller Fellowship, an organisation dedicated to inspiring leadership and increasing the participation of women in the screen industry.

Sue and business partner Daryl Dellora’s innovative company, Film Art Media distributes screen content across many platforms with a focus on blue chip documentaries including ‘Harry Seidler: Modernist’ and ‘The Edge of The Possible: Jorn Utzon and the Sydney Opera House’ (winner of the Golden Plaque at the Chicago International Television Competition).

More information about Sue and her company can be found on the Film Art Media website.


Professor The Honorable Dame Marie Bashir AD, CVO (former Governer of NSW)

Professor The Honorable Dame Marie Bashir AD, CVO was born and raised in Narrandera. Dame Marie is the former and second longest-serving Governor of New South Wales. She has degrees in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Sydney, was named the ‘Australian Mother of the Year’ in 1971, was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) ‘in recognition of service to medicine, particularly in the field of adolescent mental health’ in 1988, served on the New South Wales Women’s Advisory Council from 1990 to 1992, was the Clinical Director of Mental Health Services for the Central Sydney Area Health Service from 1993 to 2001, and served as the Chancellor of the University of Sydney from 2007 to 2012.

Dame Marie has been instrumental in developing collaborative teaching programs within Australia and internationally, and in partnership with the Aboriginal Medical Service, Redfern, helped establish the Aboriginal Mental Health Unit, which provides regular clinics and counselling at both the Aboriginal Medical Service in Sydney and mainstream centres. Throughout her career she has been a champion of indigenous, youth, and juvenile mental health care.

Dame Marie retired on 1 October 2014.   In 2015 Narrandera Park was renamed Marie Bashir Park in her honour.



The Hon Bronnie (Bronwyn) Taylor MLC
The Hon Bronnie (Bronwyn) Taylor MLC

The Hon Bronnie (Bronwyn) Taylor MLC will officially open the 2017 NSW Rural Women’s Gathering at Narrandera. Bronnie studied nursing at the University of Sydney and developed specialties in the fields of both palliative care and oncology; she worked for NSW Health until June 2014. Bronnie was elected to Cooma-Monaro Shire Council in 2010 and became Deputy Mayor in 2011. She was elected a Member of the NSW Legislative Council in the 2015 State Election. In August 2016 Bronnie was appointed to the position of Parliamentary Secretary for Southern NSW and Regional Communications.



Kate O’Callaghan
Kate O’Callaghan

Kate O’Callaghan is the General Manager of Southern Cotton and has 30 years’ experience in agribusiness and agricultural research. Kate runs Southern Cotton’s financial, logistical, contract and production management, as well as leading a team of 10 permanent and more than 40 seasonal workers. Southern Cotton was awarded the 2015 Telstra Australian Business of the Year as well as a host of local awards from the Leeton Outstanding Business Awards.
Kate was recognised as one of Australia’s top 100 Women in Australian Agribusiness in 2014. She also runs a mixed farming enterprise with her husband in Yanco.



Tammy Galvin
Tammy Galvin

Tammy Galvin is the Committee Chair for the 2017 NSW Rural Women’s Gathering and was instrumental in securing the event for Narrandera. Tammy spent many of her early years droving cattle with her family before moving away from home to complete a degree in Environmental Science. Tammy now manages the family beef and sheep property and together with her partner operates a contract sowing and harvesting business whilst working full-time with NSW Local Land Services. In 2015 she started Women of Western Riverina Networking, which is very active on Facebook, and holds regular get-togethers around the region. Tammy is also an active member of various local committees and was this year elected as a Councillor for Narrandera Shire Council.



Ronnie Hazelton and Margaret Carroll have a twenty-five year history with the NSW Rural Women’s Gathering, being two of the original founders of the Gathering. They will share their story of the founding and fascinating 25 year history of the Gathering.


Lorraine Gordon has 30 years of extensive industry experience and qualifications in business, leadership and capacity building throughout Australia. Positions she has held over the course of her career include CEO of Regional Development Australia Mid North Coast, Business Finance Manager and Regional Agribusiness Manager with Westpac Bank, Director of the Graduate Network of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation and Executive Director of Economic Security for Women. Lorraine was the 1994 recipient of the NSW ABC Rural Women of the Year, an award winner in the 2002 Telstra Business Women’s Award and is currently employed at Southern Cross University.


Betina Walker and her husband Robert own Whispering Pines Organics a paddock-to-plate farming business situated near Barellan, in Narrandera Shire. Whispering Pines has been certified organic for 12 years, producing cereal crops and organic lamb. To add value to their products they purchased an Austrian stone-ground flour mill and a rolled oat mill, and now produce organic wheat, rye and spelt flour and rolled oats. In a few years, they’ve grown from a using a small mill and hand-operated rolled oat machine that could be carted around to farmers markets, to a two-storey mill on their property. Production has grown from 3 tonne a year, to 250 tonnes. In 2013 they were nominated for the Farmer of the Year.


Annette Turner joined the CWA 37 years ago and in 2016 took on the role of CWA of NSW President. Annette and her husband run a crossbred sheep station on 26,500 hectares near White Cliffs as well as a software company called TWS. Annette has worked in a number of fields, including teaching with School of the Air, dental nursing, as a telecentre coordinator, and workplace trainer and assessor. 2011 saw Annette represent the Darling River CWA branch as an Executive then become State Vice-President for 2 years before taking on the role of President.


Aimee Snowdon took her love of macro photography and Australian agriculture and created an original blog called “The Lego Farmer”, which she used to share and celebrate her love of Australian agriculture with the world. In January 2016 “The Lego Farmer” became “Little Brick Pastoral”. Little Brick Pastoral celebrates Australian agriculture through unique photos of a Lego farmer which can be followed on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and her blog. Aimee grew up on an irrigation farm in the Southern Riverina and has returned home to the family farm after working in accounting and irrigation. Aimee graduated with a Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management from Charles Sturt University in 2016.


Shakira Lyons grew up in Narrandera with her mum and seven sisters. Shakira was undecided what she was going to do once she left school. In 2009 Shakira joined the Lynks work placement program through school, as part of which she featured on an episode of Sunrise. Kochie and Berretts offered Shakira the chance to work with a pit crew at the V8 Supercars with all expenses paid. Shakira started work experience at Safari Motors in Narrandera in 2009 and asked for more work throughout the school holidays. Shakira was employed at safari motors in 2010. The business has since changed hands. Shakira is proof that by following your passion women can succeed in a male-dominated industry.


Carmel La Rocca is one of those ‘Hidden Treasures’ that assists in many ways by volunteering in her Griffith community. Carmel migrated to Australia with her parents and younger brother as a 10 year old. Rural life has always been part of her life, as she grew up on a vegetable and fruit farm and is still active in farming, living on a citrus farm. Carmel is also an active member of the Griffith & District Citrus Growers group where she takes a proactive approach to Queensland fruit fly management within the Riverina. Carmel worked as a Building Designer with a local Building company and ended up managing the Design office. After raising a family, Carmel taught at TAFE and later managed youth programs and case management with a local company. A few years later, she returned to Building Design as a sole trader. She was instrumental in starting the Multicultural Council of Griffith – now a roaring success in the region. Carmel was recognised as ‘one of Griffith’s top 5 most admired women’ in the International Women’s Day Awards for Griffith 2012.