Summary

Icon created for and displayed at the Women on Farms Gathering, Swan Hill 1995.

The stone was one of three icons selected for the Swan Hill Gathering. The stone directly references the "stone soup" story and symbolises the nutrition and strength which pulls women together. The other two accompanying icons include a mallee root and a peak cap. These icons were chosen as symbols of the ability of rural women to come together, survive and grow after periods of great hardship. Whether it is fire, interest rates, crashing markets, or the death or injury of a family member, it is often the women that pull out the extra energy to bind the wounds of soul, soil and family. The mallee root is tough, resilient, drought resistant and beautiful - 'like us Murray Mallee women'. The "Grumpy" cap indicates the 'forming, storming, norming then performing' process of creating a Gathering.

Many women attend Gatherings to replenish and renew themselves so that they can continue to support their families and farms.

'The Mallee Root sawn in half is tough, resilient, drought resistant and able to spring forth with new growth when times are good. Knobbly and gnarled on the outside, but on the inside incredibly beautiful - "like us Murray Mallee Women". The Stone was used to make a broth that pulled us together to begin work as a team, as a committee.We all contributed something for the soup and prepared it together - a nutritious fun event that made far more than a pot of soup. The story 'Stone Soup Revisited' was read during the gathering.' Yvonne Jennings, member of the Swan Hill Gathering Organising Committee.

The closing of each Gathering and the anticipation of the next is celebrated with a formal 'baton changing' ritual, where a symbolic 'icon' is handed over from one organising committee to the next. Each item represents a story or message of some of the key themes and issues, which have shaped the meaning and experience of these women's rural identity.

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