Meet the contributors that make up Town & Country Farmer Magazine!
Ann Cliff came to Australia from a farming background in Yorkshire. After agricultural college she worked as a dairy instructor and a farm advisor. She wrote books and articles about farming, training manuals for the British Agricultural Training Board and taught in adult education. Her BA degree included history and was completed externally, while she was working.
One day she met Neville Cliff, an Australian, on her family’s dairy farm and when they married, she came to live in Victoria. Here she worked in further education, eventually as CEO of a community – based training organisation. During her time there a native tree nursery was set up, to cater for the emerging Landcare groups as well as to train students in tree care.
As soon as she had enough ‘background’ in her new home, Ann started to write for farming magazines including TCF and was a regular correspondent for a farming newspaper. She really enjoys visiting rural enterprises and writing about them.
But she had always wanted to write historical novels and for some time, she stopped journalism to concentrate on fiction. It was a long journey with many rejections, but with eventual acceptance by Robert Hale, a London publisher. Ann’s seventh novel, Haunted Creek is about settlers in nineteenth century Gippsland.
Last year was a busy one. In addition to the novel, she had two non – fiction books published: Home Dairy and Preserving Meat, published by Manna Press, Melbourne. Both books are based on her family’s practical self sufficiency, as well as on current research. ( A third in the series, The Bee Book, came out in 2010.)
Neville and Ann share an 80 ha farm in Gippsland with a herd of mainly Angus beef cattle, some hives of bees, a dog called Sam and a food garden. They live on the edge of a state forest and see a wide variety of wild life.
Frank Smith is a retired agricultural scientist based in Perth.
He was born in the UK and still has a ‘bloody plummy pommy accent’. He arrived in WA to run a pig farm near Margaret River in 1974. After a spell teaching soil science and agronomy at Muresk Institute of Agriculture he moved to the WA Department of Agriculture and handled media relations and publications for the Agriculture Protection Board (APB) for 17 years.
He also spent 12 months as visiting professor of agricultural information at the University of Missouri-Columbia (USA). After that experience he now claims to be bilingual, speaking both English and American.
He left the APB to run a publishing business, Hopscotch Publications P/L publisher of What’s On in Perth and Fremantle and the Western Liquor Guide with his wife, Mary-Helen.
On retirement in 2002 Frank began freelance writing, proofreading, indexing and editing.
He has contributed paid articles to more than 40 magazines and newspapers in four continents. He regularly writes for Town and Country Farmer, Have a Go News, Australian and New Zealand Grapegrower and Winemaker, Grapegrower and Vignerons, Olive Grower and Processor and Groundcover. He also edits the newsletter of the WA Wildflower Society.
Frank has five children, all of whom have had the good sense to grow up and leave home, and eight grandchildren. He and Mary-Helen recently built a solar-passive home in the hills at Boya. They are busy trying to turn a clay-pan-cum-building-site into a native garden and veggie patch.
They have no pets, but regular visits from quendas, blue wrens, sacred kingfishers and a kookaburra that arrives on cue as soon as the BBQ is lit to steal sausages.
Frank’s ambition is to retire from paid work before he reaches 80.
As a late baby boomer, Ian grew up in suburban Melbourne when there was still a feed and grain store down the road and a dairy farm operated next to the newly-built factories.
As a child of depression-era parents, the approach was always to make do and fix it (if at all possible) and if it wasn’t possible, fix it anyway. Early memories were of tensioning down the head of the old Fargo truck, decoking two-strokes and an endless procession of the local lads bringing their scooters and motorbikes into our shed to have them fixed.
So along with learning to “read, write and ‘rithmetic” there was filing, cutting, bending, heating, soldering, welding and beating all sorts of things. Nothing formal, just have a go at it. Coupled with this were regular trips to the irrigation areas of northern Victoria and the relatives’ dairy farm where there were also pigs and fowls (and of course, rabbits to shoot).
Through employment in the printing industry (on and off) over the course of 35 years, Ian developed skills as a compositor, proofreader, copywriter and photographer and eventually came to work for a large tree production company. There he became responsible for the day to day running of the graphics section that included both advertising and technical publications from print to TV. The best of both worlds – using trade skills and working in horticulture.
More recently Ian has taken a ‘tree change’ and is now self-employed in home maintenance and mowing services in the Upper Yarra Valley, Victoria. Ian intends to retire when he goes grey so he can ride his BMW more often.
Semi-Retired: University Qualified Laboratory Technician
Over 40 years of passionate fishing, hunting and vegetable gardening experience with the focus of puting food on the table associated hobbies include anything that contributes to hunter gatherer food on the table lifestyles – including camping, four-wheel driving, boating and photography.
Lynn has worked as a country cook, run her own small businesses (wholesale and retail), kitchen equipment sales, public speaking and seminars on hunter gathering and cooking, and enjoys travel, especially to absorb other hunter gatherer food cultures…as divergent as Amazon Indian Tribes to backpacking through the Michelin Stars of Paris.
Lynn has been developing recipes for the industry for over 20 years.
Much to the demise of her house’s original plan she is an avid cookbook collector (especially vintage editions) who always manages to immediately fill the latest set of shelves that her husband Steve has erected.
Lynn has her own shed (under the shade of the mandarin tree).