AHEAD OF THE CURVE: Girlie Goody has overcome adversity to help pave the way for the next generation of female beef producers.

Girlie grazier a pioneer for women in beef

WHEN you hear the name Goody, one thing comes to mind: beef.

For generations the Goodys have run cattle in the Monto district and their name has become synonymous with grazing.

The family matriarch, Girlie, still resides at 'Malakoff,' the 8000-acre Mungungo property where she was raised, in the house her parents purchased in 1931.

Girlie was - and is - a pioneer for female beef producers.

She wasn't afraid to get her hands dirty and defied gender norms to earn a reputation as one of the region's most respected graziers, paving the way for future generations of women in the industry.

The only girl in a family of five brothers, she refused to be constrained by the male-dominated culture of the bush.

Girlie Goody, 1961.
Girlie Goody, 1961. Amanda Salisbury

When her father, Hector, passed away in 1976, 'Malakoff' was left to Girlie and her brother. They decided one would have to buy the other out.

Two years later, when she applied for a loan, the bank knocked her back because she was a single woman.

She said the rejection was symbolic of the "chauvinist” attitudes and overt sexism that, for so long, served as a roadblock for female business owners in the agricultural sector.

But Girlie wouldn't take no for an answer and has gone on to forge a successful career in the industry she loves.

"You declare your occupation on the electoral role. Until '94, only the bravest women would dare to call themselves farmers,” she said.

"Even though many of them were doing all the work, they were still considered spare parts.

"People just didn't think it could be done. They thought you had to be 10 foot tall and 6 foot wide.”

Girlie was still hard at work this week, mustering and branding her award-winning cattle at Malakoff.
Girlie was still hard at work this week, mustering and branding her award-winning cattle at Malakoff. Mackenzie Colahan

This month, Girlie sat down for a glass of wine to celebrate 40 years' ownership of 'Malakoff'.

She had paid the mortgage off within 10.

The humble operation began with angus, but she has since tried "just about every breed in the book, plus a couple you haven't heard of.”

Despite the spread of creeping lantana forcing her to cut stocking rates heavily over the past two decades, her passion for breeding remains as strong as ever.

Today, at 78 years of age, she runs 600 head - murray grey, limousin, hereford, belmont-bonsmara, shorthorn and pinzgauer - from calves to fat bullocks.

Her award-winning cattle have claimed walls full of ribbons, most recently the Coles Supermarket pen of three steers at the 2017 Ekka and the Grand Champion at the Callide Dawson Beef Carcase Competition this July.

Girlie and her beloved work horse Joey.
Girlie and her beloved work horse Joey. Mackenzie Colahan

The Goodys' contribution to both the industry and the region is immense.

Girlie, three brothers, her father and grandfather have all been made honorary life members of the Monto Show Society - an incredible achievement for one family.

It wasn't easy but she wouldn't have it any other way.

Girlie said had it not been for the adversity she'd faced on the journey, she wouldn't be the seasoned producer she is today.

"I definitely pride myself on the fact I proved people wrong,” she said.

"The first decade was drought, drought, drought.

"But the 90s was the worst. It was really dry and really stressful.

"My father was a very dedicated grazier and that's where I got my passion from.

"It's a good life and it's what I've always wanted.

"You don't do it for recognition, you do it because you like it.”

Girlie Goody, 2018.
Girlie Goody, 2018. Amanda Salisbury

Girlie's remarkable tale of perseverance has been memorialised in print, in a new book, Cattlemen in Pearls: Celebrating Women in Agriculture.

The project is a compelling tribute to 28 Australian women - a compilation of mini biographies of inspirational female graziers whose love of the land and livestock forms part of their very identity.

Spanning three generations, the powerful accounts provide a rare insight into the lives of a handful of the tough, determined and down-to-earth women who make up our nation's beef industry.

Co-author and fellow Burnett grazier, Amanda Salisbury, volunteered to pen Girlie's story.

Mrs Salisbury said the women in the book had spent their lives avoiding the limelight, but it was important for them to know their achievements were worth celebrating.

Burnett graziers Girlie Goody and Amanda Salisbury.
Burnett graziers Girlie Goody and Amanda Salisbury. Mackenzie Colahan

"I've known Girlie since I was very young,” she said.

"When you interview someone for a project like this you find out so much about them you didn't know.

"You get to hear about all their unique challenges and what makes them so good at what they do.

"There are still challenges today, but women in the industry have it a lot easier now and it's good to give these ladies the recognition they deserve.

"They should be celebrated. It's all very positive, encouraging and inspiring.”

Cattlemen in Pearls was commissioned by Ian and Anne Galloway, and launched at the Ekka this year. It's available for purchase online.