The Australian Rural Education Centre
Steve Garland is the General Manager of the Australian Rural Education Centre, developed to address the many issues associated with living in a rural area. He’s had many career changes throughout his years, and believes that living in the country allows you to be far more flexible in your approach to work and career than city living would ever do.
The AREC was founded 30 years ago so that experienced individuals living in rural areas could impart their knowledge onto others. They run the Mudgee Small Farms Field Days every year. The next event is in July 2008. The Field Day has extensive farm technology/equipment displays, educational seminars, fashion parades and activities for kids and families. Since its approach is so broad, the Field Day is aimed at experienced farmers, hobby farmers and those with a keen interest in moving to the country alike.
Steve grew up in the southern Sydney suburbs. After school he worked as a customs broker and then worked in the snowfields at Thredbo for a few years. After travelling the world for a few years he returned to Sydney to become a professional photographer. He then decided to move to Broken Hill doing photography before working as the Tourism and Economic Development Manager for the local council. Then Steve became the Executive Officer for the region of Broken Hill. His partner was offered a job in the Mudgee area where he worked both in the local government there and also continued to pursue his photography. He then opened a company with a friend called Another Planet in 2004, specialising in graphic design and photography. They also teamed up with a few other locals to launch Mudfest – the local film festival – two years ago. Their experience in this event management was noticed, and 18 months ago Steve and his business partner were offered the opportunity to take over the AREC.
He loves the fact that living in rural areas allows you to mix things up and be involved in several different industries. You don’t need to specialise in certain areas as most people do in the bigger cities.