Queensland is home to so many amazing women who are getting involved and leading the way. Here are just a few of their stories.
First female station manager for Mt Tabor, author, and Barnados Mother of the Year 2017
My name is Keelen Mailman and I live at Mt Tabor Station near Augathella, which is almost 800 kilometres west of Brisbane. My heart is in this country. I am this country and it is me. It is me and it is my Bidjara people. All those who walked before me for thousands of years. I camped here as a child, close by on Babbiloora and Attica, just as my mother had, and her mother and hers, and so on back to the early times. Now I manage it, for my people. I protect and look after the places that are special to us, the old campsites and burial places. But a cattle station needs other work done: maintaining fences, bores, machinery, animals, roads.
I’m alone here now, but I’ve looked after myself all my life and now it’s second nature. I can change and fix a car tyre, repair a fence, service the bores, pull a cow out of the dam and shoot and skin roos. And if I had to, I could find myself a feed on this land. I’d never starve, even if I was lost for a very long time. I’ve come through lots of tough times, racism, violence, abuse and I can stand here and say I know how to survive.
That’s not how most people saw it when I came here nearly 20 years ago, a single black woman with a couple of kids and not a scrap of experience. But I’ve got a gift for learning fast. While those blokes in town were laying bets that I’d fail, I was talking to my uncles, the old stockmen, and learning how to wield a chainsaw, build a fence, use an eight-tie.
I always knew I would succeed. I am really proud that I have not let my ancestors, myself, my family and my Bidjara people down.