Judith Sutherland of Perenjori  |  100x70cm Giclée Fine Photographic Print by Martine Perret (2022)

Judith Sutherland

"My name is Judith (Solomon) Sutherland. I have two older brothers, Dene and Glenn, and I am the only daughter to Ivan and Margery Solomon. My home town is Perenjori, a small country town in the Mid West. I grew up on a small Pastoral Lease and agricultural property about 20 kilometres east of town, called Perangery. We farmed livestock, sheep and some cattle until the 1970s when we launched into cropping in the 'get big or get out' era.

I had a happy childhood. My favourite memories are riding horses, attending shows and Pony Club, riding motorbikes, rearing baby kangaroos, spending the Summer holidays at my Grandparents house in Mandurah and playing sport. I attended Perenjori Primary School in the 1970s along with 50 to 60 other children before heading to boarding school in Perth.

The transition to boarding school was difficult and I missed home terribly until I went into Year 10. Looking back I appreciate the opportunity I was given to go away, meet people from all over Australia and beyond, build friendships and the confidence to create my own future.

Following school, I had my own Beauty Salon in Perth for a few years before selling the business and travelling through Europe, and will hopefully return again and visit many more places. I loved the history, scenery, the old buildings and the different cultures and the typical English and Irish pubs along the way.

I started my family in Narembeen where we lived for over ten years, raising three daughters, Jemma, Ellie and Ashlee with my former husband Graeme Cusworth. Moving on a few years, I found myself back in Perenjori where I met my current husband, Ashley Sutherland who had 2 children, Reece and Ashton. Our children have all grown up together and now live in WA and Interstate. We are based on the family farm just west of Perenjori and farm with our son Reece and Ashley’s brother and his family.

It took a long time for me to re-adjust into the family farm, find my place and be comfortable in my role. It was an incredibly busy time, working full-time with children at boarding school and at primary school along with several volunteering roles. Ashley and I have worked hard ensuring that we consider all family members in all decisions. I am immensely proud of our family for finding a way to accept everyone for who they are and be supportive and proud of each other.

I enjoy the open spaces, the beauty of the landscape and I like my own company. I feel a responsibility to be involved in the community, volunteering and taking on roles which support local organisations, schools and sporting groups. It's a big part of who we are and it's so worthwhile to get off the farm, learn new skills, talk and meet other people and have other interests.

In Perenjori we enjoy the benefits of Agriculture, Mining, Tourism, Aboriginal Culture and our very unique biodiverse landscapes and vegetation. We share our beautiful region with a very busy tourism season, many people wander past and enjoy the wildflowers, landscapes and night sky that we have on offer. If you want to enjoy the night sky this is the place to visit, it's sensational!

As Deputy Vice President of the Shire of Perenjori, my focus is to strengthen the community and reinvigorate the town, but at the end of the day it must be driven by the community and we will succeed if we work together."


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