Humans of the Wheatbelt - Fiona Brown

Humans of the Wheatbelt is an initiative by the Wheatbelt Health Network.

Humans of the Wheatbelt is an initiative by the Wheatbelt Health Network.

I was born and bred on a farm about 10km out of Northam on the Northam/York Road. I now live in Northam. I lived in Perth for 10 years. During that time I did my training as a dental nurse. I was initially shell shocked there but it suited my study and lifestyle in my 20s. I made some really good friends that I am still really close to.

I did feel the call to come back to the Wheatbelt so after two years in Bridgetown I was lucky enough to be able to transfer back to the eastern wheatbelt then two years later I was able to transfer back to Northam. I have been back here for 16 years.

My dad is still living out on the family farm. My brother, sister in law and two nieces live in town. My brother works the farm. I have two other brothers one in Geraldton and one in Capel. I have six nieces and two nephews.

I was a Girl Guide leader for many years until I had health issues.

I work full-time as a dental nurse at the School Dental Therapy Centre and love my work. Every child is a challenge, they've all got their own personalities and haven't really developed their own way of knowing that they have to act a certain way. Every child is fun and interesting.

I am now working at the primary school that I used to attend as a student. It's only been within the last couple of years that two teachers that taught me at Northam Primary School have retired. It was quite a strange feeling being able to go into the staff room without getting into trouble!

There has been so many improvements make to Northam. I think it's more family friendly, there's a lot more activities for youth, especially for the younger youth, a lot more safe areas, parks and things like that. It's certainly being worked on for the teenagers. It is still a country town.

Having the TAFE in Northam has opened the doors for so many people of all ages. From the high school kids that do their extension courses through to adults that need help learning to read and write.

I am also involved in the organisation of Northam Agricultural Society that hosts the annual Northam Agricultural Show. The 2019 show is coming up next week and I have been flat out helping it be ready. I will take leave so it will be ready. As well as helping organise the event I also enter exhibits. I have about 35 exhibits this year from baking, home industries, flora culture and fruit and veg. I'm not so good on the arts and crafts side. Our theme this year is Recycling for a brighter future.

The highlight of my life was when I received a lifetime membership to the Northam Agricultural Society three years ago. I was the youngest person to have received a lifetime membership at 45. It was a huge honour and very unexpected. The committee are like family to me. I really love the friendship and comradeship.

We are always looking for volunteers we have jobs across the board. Incredible group to work with.

The worst moment of my life was when my mum passed away 12 years ago at 71. It was quite sudden. My parents were three months away from celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.

My favorite events in Northam have been the hot air ballooning festival. It was an incredible opportunity for Northam and I believe have something similar coming up in future with Women's hot air ballooning. Growing up on a farm we used to always have hot air balloons landing on our farm. I have also been lucky enough to go up in a balloon, it's actually an awesome experience.

The biggest influencer in my life would be my parents. My father has always been community minded and belonged to a lot of organisations. He has just been awarded his third organisation life membership. My mum was also very community minded and supporting my father behind the scenes. My family has always exhibited in Northam Agricultural Show as well.

My advice would be keep an open mind, you are only young and that life throws lots of curve balls and you just need to deal with each day as it comes. Try to make good choices, we all make bad choices but try and think about what you are doing before you do it, especially when it comes to drink driving, drugs and those sorts of things. Try to be involved in community you live.

Human - Fiona Brown

Interviewer - Anna Cornish

Photographer - Poppy Randhawa