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250 rural women celebrate Motherland’s inaugural National Conference

Australia's biggest rural mother's group celebrates the inaugural National Conference in Launceston with a star studded lineup.

Motherland celebrated its first National Conference in Tasmania over the weekend, with 250 rural women from across the country descending on Launceston for the milestone event.

The two-day conference, dubbed ‘Australia’s biggest rural mother’s group’ celebrated rural motherhood, reduced isolation, and enabled women to fill their cups with an incredible lineup of speakers and sessions focused on emotional wellbeing and mental health.

Tasmanian premier Jeremy Rockcliff officially opened the conference at the Hotel Grand Chancellor on Friday.

“As a rural dad, I can attest to why we must celebrate our rural mums because I’m lucky enough to be married to one.

“Sandra and I raised our girls Ruby, Lucy and Holly on our family farm at Sassafras.

“I won’t pretend to know the challenges that come with being a rural mum, there are certainly some values that we’ve learned as a rural family that have helped us through rough spots from time to time. They’re values that have shaped my approach to family, work, life and politics,” he said.

“Steph’s mission to connect and celebrate rural mums across the country is so important.”

2024 Australian of the Year for Tasmania and Motherland founder and CEO Stephanie Trethewey said, “Motherland is my third baby, and to look around the room and see the pure joy on the faces of our incredible community of farming mums was just magic. The impact we’re having on mental health, and the meaningful connections our charity has enabled is so important, because rural women are the backbone of our farming communities.”

“Apart from my wedding day and having my two children, this conference was the best two days of my life, and I am so proud of how far Motherland has come.”

Taking the stage was an incredible lineup of speakers featuring Olympic gold medalist and television presenter Giaan Rooney, best-selling author and leading parenting educator Maggie Dent, two times world para surfing champion Sam Bloom, who is the inspiration behind the number one global box-office hit Penguin Bloom, and journalist, author, and proud “crap housewife” Jessica Rowe.

Rooney, married to a fifth-generation cattle farmer and lives on their macadamia farm in Northern New South Wales with their two children, emceed Motherland’s conference and says the event was a powerful reminder of just how critical it is for women on the land to have a village to support them.

“I don’t think there are words to describe or a way to sum up the enormity of what this conference did for the 250 rural mums that were in the room. They filled up their cup, but they also now have a toolkit to take home with them to help them on their journey,” Rooney said.

“I thought I knew a lot about where I was at and where my journey should be. I didn’t realise that I needed to be so raw and vulnerable in a safe space to then be able to amass the tools in my toolkit to go forward with kindness to myself.”

The event marks another milestone for Motherland and the growing impact of the charity. Motherland’s popular podcast has been downloaded nearly 900,000 times, and Motherland Village, Australia’s first online rural mothers group program, has connected over 240 women to personalised support groups in the past two years.

Rural women travelled from as far as Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Northern Queensland for the sell-out event.

Motherland’s National Conference was held at the Hotel Grand Chancellor and was supported by Platinum Partner Elders and Gold Partner R.M.Williams, with support from the Tasmanian Government.

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