Simon Murray talks on balancing life on the farm and mayor of Armidale Regional Council

STEERED IN A NEW DIRECTION: Cattle farmer and Armidale Regional Council mayor Simon Murray talks about balancing his life on the farm with his spot at the head of the table. Photo: Rachel Baxter.
STEERED IN A NEW DIRECTION: Cattle farmer and Armidale Regional Council mayor Simon Murray talks about balancing his life on the farm with his spot at the head of the table. Photo: Rachel Baxter.

HARD work has long been a foundation of cattle farmer Simon Murray’s life.

He’s also the mayor of Armidale Regional Council – both jobs he describes as a labour of love.

Growing up on a cattle farm in far north Queensland, Mr Murray runs shorthorns at his property in Aberfoyle, called Bambi.

“There’s an old saying, you can take the boy from the bush but you can’t take the bush from the boy,” Mr Murray said.

“It’s that thing, if you’ve been raised with a farming background – some people love it and I do.

“I just love that lifestyle, I particularly love working with animals.”

Waking up sometimes before the sun to mark calves, Mr Murray said his new job on Council has changed the way he works.

“It really depends whether you want to do it in a hurry or you want to do it steadily,” he said.

“I’m getting older so I’m looking at the steady approach.”

Time-consuming jobs like fencing and planting crops he now has to contract out.

But, he’s found some of the skills he learned on the farm come in handy on Council.

“You’ve got to work by yourself a lot so it teaches you a bit of self-resilience,” Mr Murray said.

“You’ve got to be multi-skilled, there’s a lot of odd jobs you have to learn to do.

“You start following the markets, and then enjoy a nice whisky in the evening.”

With 220 odd beasts on his property, it’s not clear which herd is easier to steer – Council or the shorthorns.

But, he loves both jobs all the same.

“I think a lot of this role is listening to people and having empathy for people,” Mr Murray said.

“In working animals you use a pressure release technique, you put pressure on them until you get a bit of response.

“The animals are very quick to learn from that, eventually they will yield to you.

“But, I don’t know that I’d really try that here on Council.”

Mr Murray has owned his property since 1999.

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