This image is one of 16 photographs of Marlee Langfield of Wallaringa, Cowra, New South Wales, taken by Catherine Forge on 22 October 2018 as part of the Invisible Farmer Project, which included an oral history interview. In this interview, Marlee reflects on her strong family connection to farming, her experiences as a young female CEO farmer, her active role in the local community and her concerns about environmental realities, such as drought, that farmers will continue to face into the future.
This particular image depicts farmer Marlee Langfield in her kitchen, wearing a CWA (Country Women's Association) apron and holding a CWA prize certificate for "The Land" Cookery Competition, 1975-6. This certificate belonged to Marlee's grandmother, Ivy Langfield, who was a founding member of the Morongla CWA branch in 1951. Marlee herself is an active member, and one of the youngest members of the Morongla CWA. Through her involvement in the organisation, she is able to engage with her heritage and with multiple generations of the local farming community. The CWA take on issues and topics affecting the locality and the agricultural industry as a whole.
Marlee Langfield was born in Orange, New South Wales, in 1995 and spent her childhood assisting her parents on their family's mixed cropping farm on the outskirts of Cowra, Central New South Wales. The family farm, named "Wallaringa", has been farmed by the Langfield family for three generations, with Marlee being the third-generation to live and work there. After the passing of her father, Thomas Langfield, when she was still a child, Marlee was left the farm in his will. As Marlee wasn't set to inherit the farm until the age of 23, her cousin looked after Wallaringa in the interim. During this time, Marlee spent a year as a teenager in Canada with her mother and her step-sister's family, where she continued to attend school and observed the landscape and farming practices of another country. On the return to her hometown Marlee decided to follow in her parents' footsteps and to stay on at the farm. She reflected in the interview: "It runs in the blood, it really does. My father was a man of the land [.] I don't think there was a point that I knew, I think I always knew". After completing a Certificate III in Agriculture and achieving a Diploma in Agricultural Business Management by distance, Marlee inherited Wallaringa on her 23rd birthday to become one of Australia's youngest CEOs and farmers.
At the time that this photograph was taken, Marlee managed 740 hectares of broad acre farmland, with the help of her partner Andrew Gallagher, to produce a variety of broad acre crops. Her roles on the farm included: accounting and bookkeeping, maintenance work and crop management, operating agricultural equipment and mixing agrochemicals. Marlee also maintained a very active involvement in her local community, including working with the Young Farming Champions initiative to educate the next generation on agriculture and participating as an active member of the Morongla CWA (Country Women's Association). In addition, Marlee was actively engaged with the wider online community through her pursuit of agricultural landscape photography, showcasing her rural lifestyle via her social media Instagram account.
This photograph is part of Museums Victoria's Invisible Farmer Project Collection. 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
Woman wearing CWA apron in kitchen holding CWA certificate.
Type of item
Women Farmers, Women in Agriculture, Women's Issues, Women on Farms, Rural Women, Agriculture & Farming, Farming Methods, Farming Practices, Cooking, Certificates, Agricultural Societies, Community Organisations