Icon created for and displayed at the Women on Farms Gathering, Bendigo 1997.

The computer motherboard was selected by the Bendigo Gathering organisers to symbolize the place of women in the heart of rural communities. Just as the motherboard is essential to the functioning of a computer, so women were seen as fundamental to the function and survival of their farms and rural communities. Women have taken a lead in using new technologies for farming and management. The computer has also proven to be an important networking tool for sharing stories and exchanging experiences across the diversity and distances of rural Australia.

'The motherboard is the main component in a computer. If it doesn't work, the computer won't work. We felt as women we could relate to that!' - Thelma Shearer, Bendigo Women on Farms Gathering committee member.

The closing of each Gathering and the anticipation of the next is celebrated with a formal 'baton changing' ritual, where a symbolic 'icon' is handed over from one organising committee to the next. Each item represents a story or message of some of the key themes and issues, which have shaped the meaning and experience of these women's rural identity.

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.

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