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“Bloody awesome!” is how Tom describes his and Lachie’s Beef Week experience

CEF was excited to support two students from Cunnamulla, Queensland to attend Beef Week 2021 in Rockhampton. With the help of CEF Australia, CEF Paroo, Beef Australia and Angus Barrett Saddlery, Tom O’Brien and Lachlan Sheahan had the opportunity to experience the famous week long expo.

Tom described the experience as; “Bloody awesome! It was a great opportunity to see a few mates but more importantly it was a chance to meet people in the industry and hear first-hand how the Australian beef industry is travelling. Things are looking really positive for beef; sale prices are good and there is feed available so it’s in a really good position.



After finishing school, Tom travelled to Far North Queensland to gain more work experience on a station in the gulf. He ended up staying for three years, which he says was due to his passion for the handling the livestock and working with a great team. “I love livestock, and I really loved the three years I spent working up North.” Tom returned home to help his dad on the family farm before deciding that some theoretical and business knowledge would help him excel in his career. With the support of CEF Paroo, Tom enrolled in a Bachelor of Agribusiness at Marcus Oldham College in Geelong which he says “gives me greater insight into accounting, economics, marketing and budgeting for a career in farm management.”


Lachlan is in his third year of a Bachelor of Agribusiness at the Gatton campus of the University of Queensland. Growing up on a rural property, 1 hour from Bollon and 2 hours from St George, Lachlan and his brothers completed their primary education through ‘school of the air’. While he was fortunate enough to attend secondary school in Brisbane, Lachlan acknowledges that his parents ‘had to work really hard on and off the farm in order to pay for school fees for myself and two other siblings’.

Lachlan says that having grown up on a remote property while also being able to go to secondary school in Brisbane, he has lived the best of both worlds, seeing the differences in how people live life. Despite a glimpse into big city life, he maintains that ‘living and working in the agriculture sector is what I am passionate about and what I want to do’.

Lachlan was the deserving recipient of the 2021 Wal Dunsdon Memorial Scholarship. Wal Dunsdon was one of the CEF Paroo’s inaugural grant recipients in 2006 and the scholarship was established after his sudden death in 2019 by CEF Paroo, with the support of Wal’s family as well as Paraway Pastoral Company.


Angus from Angus Barrett Saddlery wanted to give keen students a different experience.

Lachlan says meeting Angus was invaluable; “Angus is a really business focused bloke with a lot of knowledge. He shared his story of starting from scratch to build his business to where it is now. Angus was really helpful in introducing Tom and I to people who we can connect with in the future. I believe the networking opportunities and the agriculture business studies are vital to future productive farming in our region.”

“Tom and Lachie are both terrific young men without a doubt. I spent the week with them including sharing a house, flying a small aircraft, socialising and networking. I could not fault them in any aspect. A big thank you must go to CEF CEO Juliet Petersen for making the connection and bringing the concept to reality.”
Angus Barrett

Juliet says CEF is all about making experiences possible for students pursuing their chosen careers. “When opportunities like this come about, CEF wholeheartedly gets behind the students to make it happen. It is these steps that can make such a difference in the lives of young people and their futures.”

“Thanks to Angus, Juliet and the Paroo committee for making it possible. I hope it’s something available to students in the future,” Tom said. “My best career tip from Angus was, ‘design your life the way you want it and make it happen.’ He said ‘focus on what you want for the next ten years, chip away to get it and then set a new ten-year goal.’”


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