Thank you for being here. I appreciate you wanting to hear my story. I was born in Cleve and moved to Cowell when I was 18 months old. My parents were Bryan and Maxine Thompson. Dad came to Cleve to be a locum GP for 3 months and never left. At various times in his life he was the only doctor for the Cleve, Lock, Kimba and Cowell communities and delivered over 1000 babies. Mum was a teacher, loved amateur arts, had various roles in the community but was mostly the best Mum in the world for the short time that we had her.
My sisters are Heather, Liz and Fiona. I still catch up with them and their husbands quite frequently and they mean the world to me. I am Aunty Naomi to my adored niece Morgan, nephews Marcus, Lewis and Josh and their partners. As for most county kids it was an idyllic childhood and we had freedom which is unknown to many people in the world. We lived in the town where I would spend all the spare time with my friends. We would get on our bikes and ride for miles and hardly have time to go home for lunch. We had fantastic beaches and a jetty where kids would go on their own with their crab nets and rods, and nearly always take home a feed of fish.
I remember many days staying at friends farms and going mushrooming, building cubby houses and driving old bombs well before you were of an age to get a licence. We had a small farm which we went to most weekends. Stumps were plentiful in those days and it was considered good exercise for us to collect a trailer load of stumps before having a BBQ or picnic lunch and then riding our little motorbike. There were numerous incidences with boating and sailing trips.
We had a plane which enabled us to see many parts of Australia and to be able to fly to Adelaide on Saturday afternoon, attend a function and then be back home Sunday morning. Friends were plentiful and our house was always filled with interesting people striving to make the most of their community.
Quite often we would have visiting surgeons operating at the hospital on weekends and then have a BBQ lunch or boating before they drove back to Adelaide to start the working week. It was 500km on mostly dirt roads in the early days.
As Mum was interested in the Amateur Arts we would often entertain the local acts that played in the Town Halls. Some of them were the Russian Cossacks, a Malaysian Dance Troupe and other high profile acts which no longer perform in the little country towns. In fact, many of the towns don’t even exist anymore. To me the best part of living in the country is the friendliness, the hospitality, the freedom and the community spirit.
I also strongly believe it gives children a great stepping stone, not only so they can have a wonderful life but to give them respect for other people and to give them the resilience to face all of life’s challenges. My father has often said ‘Live in a village and see the world’ and I certainly agree with that statement. It was always the intention to move back to Adelaide when we reached high school age but the decision was made not to leave Cowell and for us to go to boarding school.
I had 3 sisters and education was considered very important by my parents. They both had a university education and believed that knowledge and learning were an integral part of having a rich and fulfilling life.
My mother completed a degree externally by getting up at 5am every morning and staying up late at night so she could attend to her family duties during the day. One of her friends had 8 children and did the degree at the same time by getting up at 4am.
My elder sister went to boarding school first and really enjoyed it and made many wonderful friends. My boarding school experience was very different. I could not cope, became very homesick and became very naughty. My grades went downhill rapidly and did not really recover. However, I did make many wonderful friends from all around Australia and certainly was introduced to people with all kinds of different life experiences.
When I left school I went back to Cowell and my first job was at the BP Roadhouse. I really enjoyed this job but realised it was not what I wished to be doing for the rest of my life. While working at the roadhouse I gained my private pilots’ licence – in my parents eyes this was really a confidence building exercise which I may have used in a future career. While I was at school our mother became very sick with breast cancer. She struggled on for about five years and eventually died. It was a terrible loss to our family and is still difficult to talk about some 37 years later.
I eventually moved back to Adelaide, went to Prides Business College and started working for a surgeon, one of our family friends. I will always appreciate the chance he gave me when I was troubled and vulnerable. I worked for him for 12 years, first full-time and then part-time while studying. The knowledge I learnt about life, ethics and business from working in his office has been invaluable to me.
When I was 24, I went back to study matriculation at an adult education college and I have been studying virtually ever since. It seems like every qualification you get these days is not enough and you have to study some more.
I studied a degree in Accountancy and then I did a post graduate course to become a Certified Practising Accountant. I have also completed a financial planning diploma and the Rabobank Executive Development Program for Primary Producers. The next course was the Panalitix Accredited Business Advisor course and then the more challenging SMSF Specialist Accreditation. I am constantly attending seminars and completing short courses to keep my professional qualifications and memberships up to date. My working life has seen me working in firms in Adelaide, Cleve and Port Lincoln. At various times in my life I have found it very difficult to obtain employment, especially when you are a 30 year old female graduate competing against young men on the rise. I remained single until I was over 40 years old when I met and married a farmer. This was definitely not in my life plan but neither was being single either. Barry had leased the farm out but was keen to go back farming.
We decided to move back to Karkoo where Barry could go farming and I could start an accounting business. I had always wanted to open a business on my own but was too scared as I was single with no other financial backing. Soon after starting Eyre Accounting Services we also set up a separate financial planning division, Eyre Financial Services. Eyre Financial Services is a Corporate Authorised representative of GPS Wealth who developed the Game of Money to set people up for Financial Freedom.
No doubt all of you know the trials and tribulations of running a business and the challenges it presents along the way. It was probably somewhat insane to go back farming and start an accounting business from scratch at the same time but we have both learned a lot and now feel a sense of achievement that everything is coming together. Barry had leased the farm out for 7 years. The changes in that time were considerable and it has really opened my eyes to the complexity of farming. I now realise that every farmer needs to be knowledgeable in many fields.
These include machinery operation, computer technology, pest & weed control, agronomy, livestock, sustainable land management, occupational health & safety, people management, grain marketing, financial management, leadership, communication, risk management and so on. It has also opened my eyes to the risks and variability of farming and how it can affect the way you are feeling both with highs and lows.
In our Accounting and Financial Planning Business we provide tax, accounting, investment and financial planning services. We focus on working with clients to achieve their goals both in their business and personal lives. By having an intimate knowledge of our clients and their future plans we can assist by creating strategies tailored to their needs. This may be in areas encompassing strategic and business planning, tax minimisation, debt reduction or superannuation and retirement strategies.
There have been numerous challenges and sometimes you wonder what you are doing but then you surround yourself with coaches and mentors who help with every aspect of the business from coaching to procedures to marketing and even how to talk to people. They show you how they have made successful businesses, how you can be a success and how to can then help others achieve what they want during their life.
It is so rewarding to have clients who say they couldn’t live without us and that we have sent them on a path they could only dream of. I am a great believer in motivational messages and one of my favourites is “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” by Lao Tzu I sincerely hope that you can find a way to make that first step, to work out where you really want to be and then make it happen.