Capturing rural CQ beauty through photography and stories
TAKING in the natural backdrop of the picturesque Gyrandra ranges, grazier, wife, mother and photographer Louise Joyce has published her fifth coffee table book.
To be launched at Beef Australia 2018, the book is a celebration of 50 years on-property sales at Louise and her husband Burnett's property, Gyrandra, 42km south of Theodore.
"As one of the longest running Santa Gertrudis studs (being Stud Number 3 on the Australian Register), and the oldest stud still under the same family ownership, this auspicious occasion required appropriate recognition," Lousie. 69, said.
"This year we have put together a photographic coffee book to celebrate the occasion.
"We have been very involved with Beef Australia, we have both been on committees, showing cattle, hosting guests, it was a very fitting event, the kind of book it is, it is about the cattle industry, Santa Gertudis cattle, its full of anecdotes, poetry, photography."
The book tells an interesting story of Louise's life beginning in southern Victoria to Central Queensland to marry Burnett, a man she had only spent 14 days with face-to-face.
After their wedding, she spent years adapting to be a grazier's wife, educating her four children through School of the Air, managing the farm business and the many adventures they encountered along the way.
Moving to a 9,300ha property with full-time staff was "very different" from where Louise had grown up- a 97ha farm on the Morningtin Peninsular.
"I remember thinking if I ride over that hill that I would get lost and I wouldn't know what way to come home," she said.
"If anyone had foreseen that I would live in a remote area of Queensland, (with very marginal telephone, postal and internet reception), would home school our four children, become involved in Distance Education, learn Spanish, become a foreign correspondent for the US Tribune, and have to deal with staff in those early years, I would have thought they had rocks in their head.
"It was a completely different life and it took a lot of adjustment, I suddenly had to tell staff what to do and how to do it."
And it's these trials and tribulations which become the inspiration for putting pen to paper in the book.
"The stories are of all the adjustments and incidents in a life we have lived to the full. With home education for 12-years, seeing our children grow up and have families of their own, and now moving into retirement age, not that we think we are retired," she said.
"When we have the time and flexibility to do more of the things we love like travelling, camping, helping our children in their ventures and spending time both at Hilltop (on Gyranda) and at Driftwood, our beach house at the Bay of Fires in Tasmania.
"I actually started writing this story years ago, (even if it was only for our children and grandchildren), but was really struggling.
"People are always saying they wish they had gleaned the history, personal knowledge and stories from the 'oldies', before they died, as they are then lost forever.
"So often people say 'I wish we asked Mum or Dad that information', it is very important to write those details for future generations.
"This is what spurred Nikki and Pete into approaching me to write and publish this photographic album."
To accompany the stories, Louise is a passionate professional photographer and the natural beauty is displayed throughout the book.
"I jumped to the opportunity, happily dropping my struggling venture to take on the much more rewarding challenge of researching the history and weaving the stories around the hundreds of photos that are in the book," she said.
"Photography is a love of my life.
"It tells the story a lot better than I, and enables recognition of the people who have touched our lives in a visual, rather than a 'name only', manner."
Louise has loved photography from a young age after winning her first award when she was nine-years-old with a photo of her dog.
"I went from there and when I came to Gyrandra I suddenly had a reason for my photography," she said.
"I took on the marketing and promoting, advertisements, sales catalogues and our annual calender."
It has been a two-year process in creating the book.
"I have drawers and drawers of newspaper cuttings, I save everything," Louise said.
"It was a lot of collating, a lot of research work, a lot of rewarding work.
"Looking back through everything I have done I really appreciate the man I married and the life I have lived.
"I appreciate Burnett for everything, he has supported me and we do everything together."