Shire of Kojonup president and farmer Jane Trethowan — a former wool-classer, roustabout, hockey coach and barmaid — has tackled her first year as head of the council with great passion.
The Kojonup-born woman left the town at age five for schooling in Perth, always returning for school holidays.
“When I finished school and did a year (of) cartography, I couldn’t get out of the city fast enough,” she said.
“Mum always said ‘you could take the girl out of the bush but couldn’t take the bush out of the girl’.”
Ms Trethowan married Kojonup farmer Nick Trethowan in 1997 after working many jobs, including being a roustabout on stations across the State.
She joined the council in 2003 and became president in October 2011, after what she saw as a move for change in the community.
“Council traditionally has been retired or semi-retired farmers,” she said.
“When you have that demographic around the table making decisions, sometimes some segments of the community can miss out.”
Ms Trethowan said it was important to cater for all areas of the community.
“It’s important to strike a balance across the range of your community, young people, providing them with challenges and opportunities and facilities and safety and same with your retirees,” she said.
“Providing the whole gamete of support and facilities that allow people to participate and proud to come from where they come from.”
As a long-time junior hockey coach, Ms Trethowan said she was passionate about working with young people.
Last year, she helped set up an event called the Gathering where 200 Great Southern students participated in workshops about cyber information and bullying, economic advice, and alcohol and drug issues.
As part of the day, St John Ambulance and police put on a mock car accident and famous dance troupe Justice Crew performed at Kojonup Oval.
Ms Trethowan said she was proud of her part in bringing about refurbishments at the ageing Kojonup Recreation Centre.
“The recreation centre refurbishment was long overdue, it was a credit to the original design that with a few modifications we were able to bring it kicking and screaming into the 21st century,” she said.
Ms Trethowan and her husband were together one of three finalists for the WA Regional Achievement and Community Awards primary producer of the year in 2012 for their work running a grain and merino sheep farm.
“My husband only has one leg, so I’m fairly active on the farm,” she said.
“That presents itself with some challenges.
“He’s of a mindset that ‘it’s not that you can’t do it, it’s just that you haven’t figured out a way yet’.”