Alice Grierson of Carnamah and formerly of Eneabba  |  100x70cm Giclée Fine Photographic Print by Martine Perret (2021)


Click the images below to read each of the women's stories from the Act Belong Commit exhibition Women of the Hinterlands

Alice Grierson

"My name's Alice Grierson, I was born in 1931. I married my husband Bill in 1954. Bill was one of the original settlers between Carnamah and Eneabba when he took up virgin scrub in the 1950s.

When I married, I didn't even know how to boil water! It was very hard in those days. There wasn't a lot known about farming on the sandplain. Banks didn't really want to know us. Our farm was bought under what was called Conditional Purchase and you had to clear so much land every year. We had a lot of trouble with kangaroos, emus, and dingos. After several years, it started to look like a proper farm. 

We had no neighbours and no telephone. We had three daughters and a son. The school bus didn't go out our way. One day, I approached the schoolmaster and said, "I am taking the children out of school." He replied, that's nice, are you going to give them correspondence? I said, no, I'm just going to keep them at home. He said, "oh, you'll go to jail" and I replied, "actually, that wouldn't be bad, I could do with a bit of a holiday." We fought and finally got a school bus within 10 miles of our farm, but that meant we still had to be down there in the morning by half-seven.

We started running sheep at the end of 1954, and ran a lot of sheep at one stage. We worked hard. We also started off with wheat and barley and then we planted blue lupins, then the white lupin came along. We did a lot of experiments on our farm. Even farming has changed these days. People now do in an hour what it would have taken us all day to do.

Bill's Mum knew very little of what was going on the farm. When I took over our books on the farm, Bill's father was horrified! Bill's Mum had never signed a cheque. She washed every Monday. Whether it was pouring with rain or not, Monday was washday. Tuesday you ironed, and Wednesday, you mended. Do you hear of anyone mending anything these days? On Thursday, Bill's Mum played golf in winter and Fridays, we vacuumed the house. The role of women has changed. A lot of women work outside, off the farm.

I was very heavily involved with CWA until the branch closed down in Carnamah. I had been in it for about 52 years.

Today we even have a café, it’s amazing and I love it. They're working hard. The Bank Gallery is fantastic too and The Exchange. It’s all brilliant. They are all working hard to boost our town. I just hope that the community keeps going from strength to strength because having been here for 67 years, I've had so much joy and companionship and friendship."


Click below to view the full portrait and read each story from the Act Belong Commit exhibition Women of the Hinterlands