Felicity Johnson, a CFA volunteer firefighter of 22 years, has won a national photo competition hosted by the National Rural Women’s Coalition.
Established in 2002, the National Rural Women’s Coalition (NRWC) provides a collaborative voice for women living and working in rural, remote and regional (RRR) areas in Australia.
The NRWC is one of only six National Women’s Alliances funded by the Australian Government.
The NRWC hosted a photo competition for RRR women nationwide to take part, with the photos in three categories being displayed at the NRWC RRR Women’s Canberra Muster this week.
Felicity, from Goornong in Victoria’s North West Region, won the category of Non-professional Photo Competition. The purpose of the competition, and in particular Felicity’s photo, was to highlight the diversity of rural women.
The photo was taken on a cropping property on the edge of town where the brigade assisted a farmer to do an extensive stubble burn.
“This opportunity had many positive outcomes including a safe burn, training for our crew and CFA assisting our community,” Felicity said.
“Many residents came to watch the event and were able to see that nearly half the crew were women, demonstrating CFA’s inclusive culture.”
Through her photo, Felicity hopes to share a story shared across the nation of women working hard to keep their communities safe and healthy.
Women who work, have children, run a property, sit on several committees and can still find time to jump on the back of a fire truck to keep the community safe.
Felicity has lived in the small rural town of Goornong for 20 years. After finishing university she spent most of her working life as a Biodiversity Officer with government. Currently she works in primary schools as an education support worker and a sustainability educator.
“This photography competition allowed me to demonstrate one of the many important roles that women undertake in the CFA in their efforts to keep their communities safe from the threat of fire,” Felicity explained.
“As a photographer, my images tell a story – and this image conveys the huge contribution that rural women make as volunteers.”
The week of the Muster in Canberra, and the presentation of the winning photos to the public, coincided with the International Day of Rural Women on Tuesday 15 October.
The winning photos were on display at the NRWC RRR Canberra Women’s Muster 2019 Launch at the Vibe Hotel in Canberra on Sunday night (13 October) and again in Australian Parliament House on Tuesday this week, where they were viewed at a group breakfast hosted by Minister for Agriculture, Senator the Hon. Bridget McKenzie.
“The National Rural Women’s Coalition is committed to promoting the positive, diverse image of rural, regional and remote women,” NRWC CEO Keli McDonald said.
“We received nearly 500 entries from women photographers. The images highlight not only the diverse roles and contribution made by rural women in their communities, but also the things they see and love.”
Other winners (see below) were Helen Osler, with her image of a group of Ambulance Volunteer Women in Pilbara (WA), Tammy Brown in the professional photographer competition (Otway, VIC), and Sarah Meara in the people’s choice category (Felton South, QLD).