For 20 years the National Rural Ambassador program has aimed to provide young people with an opportunity to promote rural Australia; and to discover and recognise the next generation of young rural leaders.
The 2021 national finals will be held at the 2022 Sydney Royal Easter Show after this year’s Royal Queensland Show, The Ekka, was cancelled due to COVID uncertainty.
The Agricultural Shows Australia Rural Ambassador National Finals competition is the culmination of a series of competitions which take place each year throughout Australia. Local shows applicants proceed through to regional level, then state-based competitions and ultimately to the national finals.
As we eagerly await Sydney Royal 2022, we caught up with each of the National Rural Ambassador finalists to celebrate their enduring commitment to their communities and learn a little more about them.
Mackenzie Walmsley, Waroona WA
From the small country town of Waroona, WA to Toronto, Canada and Florence, Italy, Mackenzie Walksley has packed plenty of adventures into her 25 years.
While her family’s farm predominantly operates in hay and lucerne production, and beef cattle agistment, the Walmsley family has diversified over the years to include sheep, watermelons, potatoes and pumpkins.
When she was 18, Mackenzie moved to Italy and worked for the Florence Council for the tourism, culture and arts department.
Her passion for agriculture remained strong and after completing her university thesis on the importance of retaining agriculture land from urban sprawl, she was awarded a scholarship to learn more about rural land protection laws in Toronto, Canada and received an award for her scholarly research.
Back on home soil, Mackenzie has been part of the Warooona Agricultural Society since he was 13-years-old. She’s now the coordinator for the Children’s Hall and co-coordinator of entertainment and features.
Mackenzie has introduced new subject entries for the Children’s Hall, with a strong emphasis on agricultural, science and technology – but says it’s the joy the show brings its youngest participants that brings her the greatest satisfaction.
“Seeing families rave on about the things they have seen like the farm animals and realising we have brought happiness to so many people in that one day is a highlight.”
Outside of her show commitments, Mackenzie is also a volunteer bushfire fighter and serves with the Waroona West Fire Brigade. In 2020 she was presented with a five year medal by the State Fire Commissioner.