On a sprawling 1100ha mixed farming property just outside Tocumwal, a curious mix of animals comes together at the Old Woperana Animal Nursery.
While the weekdays are spent shearing sheep, growing crops and raising beef cattle, Maryanne Ryan and her husband Mark devote the weekends to welcoming the public to their farm and teaching them about their diverse range of animals, from turkeys and camels to ostriches and horses.
It has been a growing business for Mrs Ryan, who has been driven by her passion for animals and children, finding a way to bring the two together in a farm setting and ultimately starting the business in 2015.
Each animal comes with a name and a story. Mrs Ryan said it was intended to be an educational experience, allowing everyone from young children to adults to learn something new about the role each animal plays.
While it has been embraced by the community, the business hasn’t come without its struggles, mainly the floods that hit the region late last year.
‘‘It took a long time to get it back up and running. The farm was obviously the first priority,’’ Mrs Ryan said.
‘‘We were flooded in for about 10 days.
‘‘When a business has to close, it takes a long time to build it back up.’’
Mrs Ryan said it could certainly be a balancing act at times between managing the many nursery animals and tasks such as sowing and harvesting.
‘‘There’s certainly going to be a few weeks in there where it’s busy and you’re juggling a number of things,’’ she said.
‘‘However, I think that sowing and harvesting is that anyway. I’m juggling animals and an animal nursery, the lady next door is juggling getting three kids to school and back. Everyone’s juggling something.
‘‘I think it’s a challenge everyone has. Everybody goes a little bit crazy for a few weeks there.’’
The Old Woperana Animal Nursery is available for group bookings for community groups, families or schools.
■For more information, visit www.oldwoperana.com.au or phone 5874 2035.