HELPING HAND: Mary O'Brien was more than happy to make an appearance in familiar surroundings at the St George Show 2019.
HELPING HAND: Mary O'Brien was more than happy to make an appearance in familiar surroundings at the St George Show 2019. Michael Doyle

St George Show opens their arms to former Bollon local

THE St George Show had a special visit from a former local, who officially opened the 2019 show and help raised awareness for a silent killer in our community.

Mary O'Brien, who was born and bred in Bollon, spent her whole life working in rural and remote Australia, always around country blokes; working with them, for them, and beside them.

Mrs O'Brien said she had spent a lot of time raising awareness about spray drift but recent events had compelled her to talk about something that disturbed her even more than spray drift - rural male suicide.

Advocating for change, the Bollon ex-local created the site 'Are you bogged mate?', giving rural men who are battling with mental health pressures an outlet.

The website has had such a profound effect on farmers that St George Pastoral and Agricultural Association Show president Susie Higgins said having Mary O'Brien open the show could not have been more fitting.

"With the drought that we've all been in, everyone resounded with the website and everything she was trying to do in mental health of a drought affected area,” Ms Higgins said.

"Her website is very important and a lot of people can actually relate to it because she puts it in layman's terms and farming terms and that's where the name came from.

"That is really why we picked her, as well as being a local, because we tried to do a few more things local this year with the show.”

Ms Higgins said they were honoured to have Mrs O'Brien back in town.

"I think it is special when an ex-local comes back and opens the show,” Ms Higgins said.

"Especially because Mary is still in the agricultural industry and that is what our shows are all about.”


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