SWEET SMELL: The smell of lavender perfume is now an integral part of Tere Bonner’s life.
SWEET SMELL: The smell of lavender perfume is now an integral part of Tere Bonner’s life. Linden Morris

Making dollars from scents

THE sweet smell of personal success and passion continues to drive one Liston-based lavender farmer.

Tere Bonner is no stranger to the land and now has found a career she loves and one which smells just as sweet.

Mrs Bonner's life on the land started when she said "I do".

"We lived in Stanthorpe when I was younger because my dad was in the bank," she said.

"That was when I met Peter - I was 14 and he was 17.

"I liked the look of him then and I still do now.

"I went to teachers' college after school and studied home economics and then a few years later met Peter again."

"My farming adventure started when we married in 1965.

"At that time his parents moved into town and we moved onto the family property at Wylie Creek."

 

Mrs Bonner then went from the family cattle farm to the classroom.

 

"In the early days I would go out and help Peter on the farm," she said.

"I did everything from ring barking to helping with calving problems - I had a smaller wrist so some of the calving jobs were easier for me.

"I started teaching part-time in 1970 and went full-time in 1973.

"I taught at Stanthorpe State High School for 25 years and loved every minute."

Mrs Bonner then looked for inspiration outside of the classroom.

"I have always looked for something to do with the land that didn't cost a lot of money," she said,

"When I realised the only thing in my garden my peacocks weren't eating was lavender, that is when I decided to start the farm.

"Within two months I had spoken to others in the industry and been to Melbourne to check it all out.

"I started Aloomba Lavender with Peter when I was 59 and this year I'm 69.

"We have the B&B and coffee shop and lavender-themed gift shop set up now and are open seven days.

She might be the queen of the lavender fields Mrs Bonner would have been unable to achieve such success without the help of her family.

"This only remains a business opportunity because of the help from my family," she said.

"My eldest son, Martin, does the distillation of our oils, Nicole helps with sewing, Lala (who is four and a half) does the flowers in vases and Deborah does the books and I'm starting to take over some of that again.

"My second son, Tim, helps with the farm work and harvests as do my grandsons Adam, PJ and Thomas, and Peter does too.

"Sharon also comes and helps out.

"It is a family operation, right down to the animals.

Mrs Bonner said, like all careers, farming had its ups and downs.

"The dry times and the large slumps in cattle prices were the hardest things," she said.

"The wet seasons would also be hard when we lost lavender plants but I would rather it be wet than dry any day of the week.

"Since starting Aloomba Lavender I am really proud of our award-winning oils and that this is a different and innovative thing for the district."

The outgoing mother of two and grandmother of five said farming was a lifestyle she would recommend.

"My advice to other women would be to just do it," she said.

"Trying to do something different with the land takes innovation but the serenity of the space is wonderful.

"It is a happy life and I don't regret a minute of it.

"I also believe it is possibly the best lifestyle to raise a family."



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