Have you ever wondered what life in like in outback Australia? How did Nell Schulenburg, a former South African flight attendant meet and marry our Chairman, David Brook and end up living in a little town called Birdsville with a population of just 100 people?
We are pleased to share the third video in our series, “The People Behind OBE Organic”.
Nell Brook is a partner and manager of Brook Proprietors, a pastoral enterprise that produces organic cattle for OBE. The business is centered around the remote Queensland town of Birdsville. Nell is responsible for the daily administration of the business. Her family company produces and markets organic cattle and supplies organic beef and beef products to domestic and international markets. Along with her husband David, she owns six properties that in total are nearly as large Taiwan.
Nell married David over 37 years ago and they have six children although their eldest, Deon, died in a helicopter accident in 1996. Deon’s twin sister Dalene is married to Michael Wray and they have a daughter, Ella. Dalene’s siblings are Anthony, Gary, Karen and Jenna. Anthony is married to Janet Crommelin and they have four children.
Nell was born and educated in South Africa. She worked as a flight attendant for South African Airways before she married David and moved to live with him in Birdsville. She has since travelled regularly throughout Europe, South America, Asia and the USA.
In the 1980’s Nell passed her flying exams and got her private pilot’s license. Flying around outback Australia in a Cessna 210 is an integral part of her role in managing the family pastoral business.
In 1988, Nell was the chairwoman of a committee that organised local and community events to celebrate Australia’s bicentenary.
Having grown up in a large South African city, Pretoria, Nell’s move to the outback came with many challenges of which she said the geographical isolation was the largest. “I enjoy talking about our challenges with other women,” Nell says. “Life in the bush is a life of extremes. Extreme emotional challenges and physical conditions, but I guess that you are only as isolated as you care to be…you have to be comfortable with your own self and space. You have to be a good planner and organizer.”
In 2007, Nell participated in an OBE Ladies Trip to Hong Kong and Taiwan. She found great significance in sharing the trip with a group of women from one of the most isolated regions of Australia. “I was so happy to be part of an innovative group of women
who represented such a special part of Australia,” she says. “I enjoy engaging with women from other countries and comparing notes! I want to inspire more women to explore, learn and grow.”
Like the other women in the group, Nell enjoyed learning more about the term, “from paddock to plate”, which she hears often but rarely gets to see. “OBE’s products are enjoyed by people from all over the world and we want to see how it is presented and consumed in countries with different cultures to Australia,” she says. “As a producer of OBE Beef, I want to learn what is expected of us by the women who consume our beef. OBE family farmers are a responsible group of people who are caring for the earth and its people with sustainable organic production principles.”
OBE Organic family farmers take great pride in learning about the culture of our customers. Here are some of our farmers visiting our customer in Taiwan.