Megan Read

A woman, Megan Read, wearing a black long sleeve shirt and brown pants standing in front of the Skipton town sign.

Megan Read, volunteer, mother of four, farmer, Skipton 

The Skipton community’s resilience in adversity never ceases to amaze Megan Read.

Megan, a farmer and mother-of-four with a large community project on her mind, is passionate about this community. She is in awe of the spirit and resilience she sees in everyday Skipton-life and especially in township’s 2011 and 2022 flood recovery efforts.

“It’s really warming to see the community coming together. The camaraderie is amazing to witness and see all walks of life coming together. It’s a special community to be a part of.

“They are so stoic and resilient.”

Ballarat-born and raised, Megan thought she was destined for a city life after graduating from university. While at university in Melbourne, Megan fell in love with Warwick, from Streatham in Western Victoria. Warwick’s love of the land beckoned and they were married soon after.

The Reads made their life in farming in the Streatham area, raising four children who commute 30 kilometres by school bus to Skipton.

“While being at home with the kids and helping Warwick in the office side of things, I had a bit of capacity to do a bit of volunteer work. It has been a saviour to get involved in the community and keep myself active. Over time I’ve been on 20 or more committees and community groups.”

Being active means currently wearing caps as President of the Skipton Kindergarten, President of the Skipton Primary School Parents Club and a leading role in the Skipton Recreation Reserve Redevelopment Committee’s vision for a community hub development.

“Since the 2011 floods we haven’t had a communal place and we don’t have a facility fit for purpose. Our vision is for a community hub where the district can gather, a meeting place that could cater for all aspects of the community.”

The recreation reserve playground was decommissioned a few years ago, so a new playground is also on the agenda. 

Finding $6m for this project is no easy task. The committee is exploring government and private funding opportunities. And you get the impression people like Megan Read will not give up.

“The community has taught me that if you want to get things done, get in and get it done.  Don’t take no for an answer. I secretly like being a squeaky wheel.”

“Fortunately, I have a husband who just gets things done. We have a ‘can do’ attitude and things seem to eventuate.”

Megan would like to see more people experience the rewards of community and volunteering, while acknowledging the hurdles.

“Things have changed a lot in my time out here. I think Covid has changed the mindset in terms of giving of your time.

“A lot more women are working in paid jobs than there were 10-15 years ago.  Many more women don’t have a choice but have to work. I think they are time poor but still rich in community spirit. There’s definitely a change in the mindset.”

If you can give of your time, big or small, Megan says the rewards are many. “You get so much back. The rewards of volunteering definitely outweigh the sacrifice you are giving of your time. The connections you make, the support you get, the social inclusion - it’s a win-win.

“What I have found too is when your chips are down you seem to have the back-up of the community. No matter what your background or socio economic level, if you are a giving person, you will be rewarded. I have personally experienced that beautiful community support and it’s overwhelming the immense pride you get to be a part of this district.  

“Volunteering provides you with a sense of purpose, includes you in the community and my children get to learn by our lead. No matter how much time or effort you have capacity for, your community will always be grateful for your support.”