Alumni stories

Lyn French: Bringing it Back to the Outback

11 September 2019

Lyn French has transformed regional isolation into an opportunity for increased educational support and luxury outback tourism. After graduating from Course 20 of the Australian Rural Leadership Program, Lyn has focused her leadership energies on fostering a thriving regional community for future generations.

Four years ago, Lyn set up AHVISE, an educational support program where tutors volunteer their time to help remote Australian farming families with their schooling needs.

“With AHVISE, we recruit retired school teachers to travel remote and give respite to many mums in the school rooms. This is a win-win for many people, as the tutors have a beautiful outback holiday and the parents are given a break from teaching their own children.”

As the winner of QLD Volunteer of the Year 2019, Lyn has made a strong commitment to giving back to her community and investing in the learning and development of young people within that community.

“30 years ago, helping rural and remote children with their education wasn’t something that I thought I would be doing – but it’s truly something I love doing. Australia is yet to overcome the enormous challenge of providing quality education to those who live in rural community. I want to help our remote kids with their education as they are our future land holders.”

Lyn’s connection and investment in Outback Australia stems from her family’s cattle station. The mustering, fencing, cattle work and animal husbandry would be enough to keep anyone busy, but Lyn has now incorporated a private five-star luxury retreat into the business.

“Gilberton Outback Retreat is a way of bringing more people to the area. It gives them an opportunity to experience life in the Outback and recharge on our 7th generation working cattle station.”

Being strong industry voice for Outback Australia, Lyn is passionate about playing a bigger part in the ‘Paddock to Plate’ phenomenon that has consumers wanting to be more aware and involved in the supply chain process.  

“I believe in both the cattle industry and outback tourism. It’s important to keep up with what consumers want and stay on the front foot of that.  For the cattle industry, it’s producing a clean, green product. For outback tourism, it’s educating people about where their food comes from, so taking a leadership role in both of these is vital for our next generation.”

Whilst being proactive in these diverse yet entwined industries, Lyn often draws upon what she learnt from the ARLP.

“ARLP gave me the guidance and courage to speak up about what’s important. If you’re actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then I believe you are an excellent leader.”

“Women have always been on the land and played major roles in grazing and agriculture businesses. I want to be part of the group of women who take control of the conversation. In succeeding to inspire others we can only improve ourselves and others will follow.”