Icon selected for and displayed at the Women on Farms Gathering, North East (Beechworth) 2001.

The spring represents strength, flexibility, support through tension. The spring from the North East Gathering was chosen by the organising committee to capture 'the coiled potential and talent waiting to be unleashed: the image of each person bouncing off each other's energy and ideas'. The spring also symbolizes the link between the past and the future for the NEW (North East Women) pioneers as they 'spring' into the new millennium.

'The spring is the medium by which loads are lightened, shared, dispersed evenly and borne smoothly. The spring stretches to link two ends - the Past and the Future. The spring signifies earlier times - a big old rusty spring speaks of an important job of support for the farming community, in transport, early machinery or even an old chair when the day's work is done. It's a simple piece of equipment with so much potential. It works well individually but what a load it can carry when you put a few together. The NEW (North East Women) pioneers used it to 'spring' into the new millennium.' Ann Jarvis, member of the North East Gathering Committee.

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 and addressing the absence of rural women in mainstream histories and museums. 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.

Physical Description

Rusty steel coil spring with open hooks either end from an old seed drill.

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