FOUR DAUGHTERS

When her four girls were small, Western Downs beef producer Karen Penfold colour coded their work shirts, so that when mustering from the air her husband Dan could recognise them right away.

Fast-forward several years and daughters Bonnie, Molly, Jemima and Matilda are now in their teens and early twenties. Over the years the sisters haven’t lost their enthusiasm for working the cattle at the family’s three properties and two feedlots in Queensland’s Meandarra district.

The sisters are passionate about staying on the land, where they help their parents turn off around 9000 head a year. Together, they are the faces of Four Daughters, an export brand launched in 2019 with an eye for the Chinese and Hong Kong markets. There, the girls’ distinctive red hair is a common talking point and Australian grain-fed Black Angus commands premium prices.

Since the COVID crisis, the family has also begun exploring alternative markets in Korea, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates. They’ve also developed a domestic arm to the business, selling their Black Angus in a signature pink Beef Box direct to families in Queensland.

ALL-AUSSIE FARMERS

Thirty-two years working in the fresh produce industry has taught Travis Murphy a thing or two about the fruit game. In 2013, he spotted a gap in the market for a wholesaler that could connect family-run avocado farms with Victorian fruit shops and providores looking for a premium product.

Avocado grower Dudley Mitchell and Murphy’s co-worker ‘Aussie’ Jack Wilson shared this enthusiasm and long-term vision, so the three men joined forces to create All Aussie Farmers.

The business prides itself on quality fruit and always delivering premium Australian avocados to the finest Victorian fruit shops – and the avocado growers who entrust the business with their crop say they’re smashing it. The greengrocers that source avocados from All Aussie Farmers agree.

Together, the trio are looking to the future and at how they can expand. In September 2020 the business moved to a new warehouse within the Melbourne Wholesale Market, with ripening rooms and refrigerated storage space for several hundred pallets.

MICHELL WOOL

According to David Michell, he and brother Peter have kept their company, Michell Wool, operating largely by being stubborn.  As he puts it, “One hundred and fifty years of effort building a business can’t be ignored.”

That determined nature can be seen in  other family members throughout the South Australia-based wool trading company’s long history.

Certainly, each generation has added their own ideas and innovations to the mix. Their grandfather set up the company’s first China office on the eve of that nation’s 1949 revolution.

Meanwhile, David and Peter made their own mark with the establishment of Michell Wool’s first Chinese factory in 2006. These ventures helped them

survive the Global Financial Crisis and growing global competition – as did their determination to make their machines even more efficient.

The brothers see their achievements through the lens of family. As David says, “Success for us is being able to

hand Michell Wool over to the next generation in better shape than we found it.”

NOTARAS TIMBERS

Anyone from the Grafton district of New South Wales knows the name of Notaras. Brothers Brinos and Spiro got into the timber game in 1952 and they’ve left a big legacy.

The sawmill that bears their name started out selling fencing and house frames. Almost 70 years on it’s one of Australia’s largest suppliers of kiln-dried timber and hardwood flooring.

Notaras Timbers has also been an industry leader in the adoption of new equipment and methodologies over the decades and remains proudly owned by the brothers’ descendants.

The 2019, bushfires put the squeeze on log supply but, by dropping to a four-day week, Notaras has been able to keep its crew of 31 in permanent work. In a firm that takes pride in treating employees like family, their loyalty is gladly returned.

All employees are locals and there are some that have been with the business for three or four decades. With their expertise in sawmilling, they make the milling process look as effortless as it is efficient.

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