Senate debates

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Statements by Senators

St Marys Camel Farm, Tasmania

1:51 pm

Photo of Wendy AskewWendy Askew (Tasmania, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

Sometimes words like 'passion' and 'entrepreneurship' can be overused, but I can't think of any better words to describe Ros and Jeff Wallace. The pair are the brains behind the St Marys Camel Farm, a labour of love that oozes from every corner of every timber-clad shed on their property at Fairview. The St Marys Camel Farm—and I bet you didn't know there were camels in Tasmania—was born from the couple's twin interests in accessibility and camels.

When you listen to Ros talking about camels you can hear the passion in her voice and her love for the largely misunderstood creatures. While you might think that Tasmania and camels are an extremely odd couple, let me tell you: it works. The St Mary's Camel Farm was born as an accessible tourism venture that the Wallaces ran adjacent to their work in disability support—along the lines of equine therapy or riding for the disabled, but camel style. Clients would come in for therapy time with the animals, which are surprisingly gentle and friendly despite their size. However, as so many tourism- and people-focused operations were required to do, they were faced with needing to pivot quickly when the pandemic struck. With lockdowns looming and an increase in fear in the immunocompromised, it looked like they would immediately lose their client base. So the pair got to work, and in December 2021 the St Mary's Camel Farm opened to the public.

The St Mary's Camel Farm has six animals and they recently welcomed a gorgeous baby calf, Damper, to their caravan or herd of camels. And while camels are most often associated with the deserts of Egypt, the camels at St Marys have adapted quite well. Their favourite treat is the Australian breakfast staple Weet-Bix. Not only that, but the St Marys Camel Farm has cultivated its own community and has become an important place of connection for the town, with the farm hosting an annual Christmas party for the community, along with other events. Their mateship, fellowship and ingenuity deserves recognition.


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