Audio interview with Vivian McWaters recounting her experiences with agriculture and rural life, in particular her education in agricultural science and her career as an agricultural journalist (state government) during the Rural Women's Movement of the 1980s-1990s. The recording was taken on 10 July 2015 at Melbourne Museum's conservation sound studio, interviewed by Catherine Forge.

Vivian McWaters studied agricultural science at Longerenong College (Victoria) in the mid-1970s at a time when women were only just being allowed to study there. Women had hitherto been unable to enroll at Longerenong, or to live on campus, and Vivian recalled that an Act of Parliament was changed so that women could live on campus. Vivian, along with her peers, lobbied the government to enable this change of legislation.

This interview is part of the Invisible Farmer Project, which was funded by the McCoy Fund and involves a partnership between Museum Victoria and the University of Melbourne. This six-month pilot project aims to interview a small number of women about their involvement with agriculture, shine a light on the history of the Rural Women's Movement of the 1980s-1990s, identify existing public/research collections that document women in agriculture, develop a strategic collecting alliance that could further enhance these collections, and prepare a larger funding proposal that will address the urgent need to collect and preserve these histories.

Part of the Invisible Farmer Project. The Invisible Farmer Project was the largest ever study of Australian women on the land, uncovering the histories and stories of Australian women in agriculture. It began as a pilot project (2015-2016) and evolved into a three year (2017-2020) nation-wide partnership between rural communities, academic, government and cultural organisations, funded by the Australian Research Council.

Description of Content

Interview with one women discussing her education in agricultural science, her career as an agricultural journalist and her wider contributions to the Rural Women's Movement of the 1980s-1990s. The first part of the interview focuses on Vivian's experiences of studying agricultural science, attending classes and living on campus. Vivian then discusses her career as an agricultural journalist, which spanned the 1970s through to the late 1990s and intersected with the Rural Women's Movement. Vivian worked with various state government departments including the Agriculture Department and the Department of Conservation, Forests and Lands. During this time she became heavily involved in rural women's networking, particularly through her work with Landcare (alongside the then Premier of Victoria, the Hon. Joan Kirner). Vivian reflects on the achievements of the Rural Women's Movement and argues that Landcare was an important vehicle for allowing women to network, have their voices heard and raise their public profile as farmers and contributors to the agricultural economy.

Physical Description

Digital Audio Recording: 2 WAV files.

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