Monday, November 24, 2008

Australia's 1st Woman Drover

Edna Jessop earned her place as an Australian legend by becoming the country’s first woman drover. Born on the 10th October 1926 at Thargominda, Queensland, to Harry and Ruby Zigenbine, Edna’s father involved her with droving from an early age.
The practice of droving involves moving large numbers of livestock over long distances for the purposes of searching for feed and water, delivery to a new owner or taking the cattle to market. Today – with the domination of rail and road transport – it is difficult to appreciate the challenges involved in moving a thousand head of cattle over thousands of kilometres.
In Baz Luhrmann’s latest screen epic – AustraliaHugh Jackman’s character Drover – portrays these difficulties as he helps drive 2,000 head of cattle across hundreds of miles of rugged terrain.
In 1950, at just 23 years of age, this is exactly the challenge that faced Edna Jessop. After her father fell ill following a horse fall, she took charge of the job of driving 1,500 bullock from the Kimberleys to Dajarra - just south of Mount Isa - via the infamous Murranji track. This accomplishment led her to both national and international fame and renown.

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In 1960 Edna moved to Mt Isa to educate her son Jack and worked there in the sales yards and local council for the next 30 years. Looking back on her life, Edna was quoted as saying, “I have had a fairly hard life and things were tough sometimes. But the freedom of the bush and the countless nights under the stars, miles from cities, walking with mobs, seeing all the wonderful places and antics of animals and the peace and quite have made it all worthwhile and I would not change it for quids. Gone is the life forever and I wish some of the kids of today could have the chance have experienced the life I knew as a kid”. Source: Sammon, Jack-
Edna died at the age of 80 years in Mt Isa on 15th September 2007.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i believe my mother was the first women drover in Australia as newspaper item.
Long Trek For Woman Drover
The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954) Friday 26 November 1948 p 8 Article