Representing Western Australia: Mackenzie Walmsley (25)
Mackenzie is the WA state finalist at the 2021 Agricultural Shows Australia National Rural Ambassador finals held at the Royal Queensland Show. Agricultural Shows of Australia sat down with her to hear about this journey.
I’ve grown up in the small country town of Waroona located in the south west region of WA – on a farm – my whole life. Waroona is a diverse agricultural town characterised by dairy, horticulture, beef farming, hay production as well as mining.
Our family farm is predominantly operating in hay and lucerne production and beef cattle agistment but we have had some diversity over the years with sheep, watermelons, potatoes and pumpkins.my University thesis also explored the importance of retaining agriculture land from urban sprawl.I was awarded a scholarship to travel to Toronto Canada to learn about their rural land protection laws through green belts, and received an award for my scholarly research.
I have volunteered as part of the Waroona Agricultural Society for 12 years, starting when I was 13 years old, currently holding the coordinator position of the Children’s Hall and co-coordinator of entertainment and features for the Waroona Show. During my time I have introduced new subject entries for the Children’s Hall with a strong emphasis on agricultural, science and technology.
For work, I coordinate the land management of public parks, identify future park, road and affordable housing projects.
I competed in the Rural Ambassador Award in 2018 and 2019. I started competing as I wanted to make a difference in the show movement by encouraging more youth volunteering in rural agricultural shows, promote agricultural shows and be a voice for the younger generation.
My parents and members of my incredible Waroona Agricultural Society. I have had great mentors to look up to and encourage me in my volunteer commitments from my local Agricultural Society.
When I was 18 I moved to Italy, living and working in the Florence Council for the tourism, culture and arts department. I moved over there on my own not knowing anyone or the language. Don’t worry, I learnt Italian over there!
I have a very biased answer to the questions “which is your favourite show in Australia?”. It would be my own local show, the Waroona Show. Mainly because this is the one time of the year everyone comes together and it’s so lovely to catch up with all my friends and family. The atmosphere is always fantastic.
Favourite moments at the show include watching the beaming delighted faces of the kids when they have won a prize in the children’s hall for their entry, the day before when they are so proud walking in with their entries or showing their grandparents or friends their entries on show day, seeing families rave on about the things they have seen like the farm animals and realise we have brought happiness to so many people in that one day.
When I was a kid I spent all day determined to win the big fluffy dog at the lucky numbers stand, I would spend all year’s pocket money buying tickets hoping to win. I went home smiling and carrying the big fluffy dog much to mum’s disappointment.
Late last year I received my five year medal as a volunteer bushfire fighter, serving with my local Waroona West Fire Brigade. My medal was presented by the State Fire Commissioner so that was a special moment.