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Awarded for service to the Community
Entered on roll: 2007
Carol Grey was born in Scottsdale, Tasmania, in 1949. She grew up at Harrymount on Benham Estate. One of 12 children, only seven of whom survived, Carol grew up in a house with no electricity – although the family did have lamps. Her mother, a trained schoolteacher, was a resourceful woman who taught her children through distance education, and then they were sent to relatives to complete their high school. Carol and her siblings never felt disadvantaged - they were rich in knowledge of the world through books. Every few months a large bundle of books arrived from the State Library. Carol’s mother would read to the family of a night like a serial, a few chapters each night. Carol says her mother instilled in them to care for others and to always be honest.
When Carol left school she trained as an auxiliary nurse, before marrying Mervyn Williams at the age of 18. They had three sons: Dale, Roger and Glen.
Merv died tragically in 1999, leaving a traumatised Carol to run their sheep farm, Wattle Grove. Up until this point, Carol had not had much “hands-on” experience around their 500-hectare farm. However, she not only turned the farm around but achieved the highest tribute in superfine wool growing, the Zegna Trophy, in 2004.
In 2005, Carol won the Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Scholarship. Following this, she started the South Esk Discussion Group – a group intent on improving the town. In April 2006, Carol established the Greater Esk Tourism (GET) Inc, which is growing quickly and now has members from Rossarden, Avoca, Upper Esk, Mathinna, Fingal and St Marys.
The tourism potential of the area is beginning to be tapped and Carol has been described as “a magnet”, attracting people to her ideas. Her work through Women in Agriculture has created networks that are continually developing and strengthening.
GET has many initiatives planned, including: restoring the old school building, a history trail around each town, tree planting and beautification projects throughout the valley.
In June 2006, Carol and her partner Peter Hazell opened the Billy Bag gift shop in Avoca’s main street. The tourism venture sells a selection of Tasmanian and mainland products, unusual imported goods including a life-size pig, and of course Superfine Merino wool socks. The shop looks like a pioneer’s cottage, in recognition of pioneer women of Tasmania.
While doing all of this, Carol has also continued to be a farmer alongside Peter. Carol’s time is concentrated on getting the fledgling business to a point where she can employ a local full-time staff member. Though they are in drought conditions, Carol maintains her positive and strong commitment to others and the community. She acknowledges her faith in God has been a great strength to her. Carol is proud that her three sons are all in caring/human services professions.