Bling for our outback angels
DIAMONDS are said to be a girl's best friend, but for this Middlemount property manager, a ritzy rock is just a jewel that will help her raise money for fellow farmers.
Caitlin Sloss, who manages Gundabah with her partner Andrew Coyne, is donating an inherited diamond ring, valued at about $4000, to the Drought Angels.
The 18-carat yellow and gold white ring, which boasts a one-carat black diamond stone, is set to be auctioned off later this year.
Originally the Drought Angels (a charity supporting rural families) tagged the ring to be sold at an event next year, but the ladies have moved the date forward for an online sale, hoping the ring may eventually be used for a Christmas engagement.
The stunning stone has been on Caitlin's mind since it came into her possession.
She felt a burden of responsibility to make sure the family jewel was well looked after (keeping it mostly locked in a safe) but didn't feel emotionally connected to it.
"I just had a light bulb moment. I thought 'hey, if the Drought Angels would be interested in taking it, then I would be interested in donating it',” she said.
Unsurprisingly, the Drought Angels' Natasha Johnston was stoked to hear about the ring.
"We had a moment of tears when I told her. She was blown away,” Caitlin said.
Caitlin has spent her whole life working in rural industries, starting on her parents' property near Monto.
She has worked as a contractor, a meatworks stockwoman and now as a manager. Throughout her years, she has witnessed first-hand how farmers struggle.
Raising awareness of mental health is something the 26-year-old is keen to be a part of.
"Mental health is something I feel very passionate about... farmers need to know it's okay not to be okay,” she said.
"With the drought, I understand the struggle that farmers go through. There is nothing more depressing than seeing your stock die and not being able to do anything about it.”
In her opinion, the stigma around mental health has not been lifted.
"And we are very proud too. We don't like asking for help,” she said.
"I feel the government isn't helping farmers like they should be. I feel like they should be getting more support.
"By (donating the ring), I know it's just one little thing, but hopefully by getting the word out, it might make a difference.”
At the time of print Caitlin said their season at Middlemount hadn't been too bad. Thanks to Cyclone Debbie, and a recent 28mm fall, there was still some green pick about.
As a young person, Caitlin knows she will face more challenges as her career in the cattle industry progresses, however, there is nothing else she would rather be doing.
"This is something I am so passionate about. It's the lifestyle I have grown up with,” she said. "It's what makes my heart happy.”
Keep up to date with the Drought Angels Facebook page to see when the auction is launched.