Date: 28-30 March, 2003.
Location: Regent Theatre, Yarram.
Theme: Securing the Future. According to the Yarram Gathering Proceedings, "Securing the Future was a theme chosen by our youngest member. It is appropriate that the young should be concerned about the future, but for this area historically it is also appropriate, as the original European settlers travelled to Gippsland via Port Albert to secure a future for their families."
Icon: Lock and Key
Highlights: As with the 2002 Macedon Ranges (Kyneton) Gathering that came before it, a highlight of the 2003 Yarram Gathering was the women's stories. Six local women shared their life experiences with the audience over the course of the Gathering. Local farmer Dawn Williams, for example, reflected on her great-great grandfather settling in Yarram in 1854. She spoke of her own experience farming in the Yarram region and the challenges she had faced being a dairy farmer in a male-dominated industry. Other guest speakers included veterinarian Rosemary Irving, business owner Heather Lubrichich, and comedienne Val Wilkinson.
The inspirational Debbie Gray also spoke of her life and how she has managed to overcome many obstacles. After her mother was given Thalidomide during pregnancy, Debbie was born with no arms and malformed legs but she never let that get in the way of her goals. Reflecting on the Yarram Gathering a year later, one Gathering participant wrote that Debbie's speech was a highlight: "The mind boggles at what she overcame... what a magnificent example she was for us all." (Memory Sheet Reflection, 2004).
Another significant highlight of the Yarram Gathering was the official signing of The Women on Farms Gathering Heritage Agreement. Signalling the formal beginning of the Victorian Women on Farms Gathering Collection, this agreement laid down a commitment to "protect, preserve, document, exhibit and enhance access and understanding of the stories relating to Victorian Women on Farms Gatherings." The signing of the agreement occurred at the end of the Gathering, on the Sunday morning, when a special scroll was signed by representatives of all past Gatherings. This was followed by the traditional 'handover' to the following year's Gathering - the 2004 Horsham Gathering.
Tours: Wron Wron Prison, Yarram Historical Society, Woodside Surf Lifesaving Club and Dawn Bragg Garden, Port Albert Maritime Museum, Alberton Cemetery, Tarraville Church, Neil Collins Frankie and John McLennan Marinos, Toora Wind Farm and Rosalyn and Alan McPherson Hydroponic Tomatoes, Andy and Pip Knorr Radcon Radial Timber, Murray Goulburn Testing Laboratory, John and Shirley Mattern Landcare and Wildlife, Max and Lyn Warren Robotic Dairy and Para Park Sunday Island.
Workshops: Yarram Genealogy Group, Klien's Nursery, Snake Island Cattle Man, Picture Framing, Singing for Fun, Sophisticated Rag, Succession Planning, Taxation, Education, Celebration of Self, Glassworks, Scrapbooking, Simple Massage, Mayfield Nursery, Land for Wildlife, Paulo's Pizza, Suicide Prevention, Gippsland Funeral Services, Matterns Hardware, Connecting Communities.
"Yarram WOF was my first gathering I went to, having enjoyed it very much. My husband and I hosted one of the guest speakers, and she was such a gem of a lady to have in our house. Not only did I enjoy listening to her on our first night (Friday) but we both found her very interesting chatting in our house." Lyn Finlay, Memory Reflection Sheet, 2004.
"The most memorable event for me was the women of Yarram telling their stories of hardship, difficulties overcome and their wonderful perseverance and spirit. The lady speaking on the difficulties of 'passing on the farm' fairly to her descendants, particularly to the ones who had worked on the farm for many years." Marjorie Cheese, Memory Sheet Reflection, 2005.
"The West Gippsland WOF group travelled over by coach as always and we all agree that this is always one of the good things about the Gathering, being together. Our motel was 2km out of town, but we enjoyed the walk. The food just kept coming and it was delicious. One of my workshops was scrapbooking, which showed me how to make a beautiful photograph album. For the Saturday afternoon I visited the Robotic Dairy near Rosedale, which was amazing to see." Janice Swan, Reflection, 2011.
Song: 2003 Yarram - 'WOF Song'