The benefits of retaining youth, or encouraging them to return to rural or remote areas.

The benefits of retaining youth, or encouraging them to return to rural or remote areas.


Isobel was invited to visit the township of Walgett in November and present at their Field Day along with Fiona Simson and Craig Hamilton. With our consultant Babs living nearby, we became aware of a wonderful local success story, very relevant to the topic of succession planning and bringing young people back to the farm, or keeping them in the area. Local business woman Katie Byrnes was kind enough to share her story with us:

“People always ask how I ended up in Walgett…simple answer is – I followed a gorgeous boy!! Now that I am here, I love it! Walgett can be a little sore on the eye when you are just passing through, however when you live here you discover it is an amazingly resilient, vibrant and loving community…and they welcomed my little business and I with open arms! 

Stone’s Throw opened in March of this year and was very much an offshoot of my mother’s giftware business (Under The Arches) in Griffith NSW. She helped me set-up shop and I couldn’t have done it without her. It is a combination of beautiful antique furniture, vintage crystal and silverware, and then an inspiring range of home wares, books, jewellery, and children’s gifts.  I just added some very tasty coffee and amazing locally made home-cooked goodies, and Walgett had itself a friendly new meeting place and of course somewhere to find that perfect gift! 

Pebbles Kids opened (2 doors down) 6 weeks later as my kids collection had started to overflow from the back of Stone’s Throw. It’s became a beautiful serene little corner of Walgett with the most fabulous children’s gifts, and of course a favourite visiting spot for after school outings! 

From the opening until this day, the Walgett Community have been nothing but supportive of my businesses. To open in the middle of extremely dire circumstances of drought, I cannot give high enough praise and thanks to everyone who has dropped in for a cup of coffee or purchased their birthday or Christmas gifts from either store. 

Prior coming to Walgett early this year, I worked in the very furious and fast paced world of Sports Marketing as an events manager, first in Melbourne then Sydney. This was my first choice of career for 7 years and I loved it. It was high energy, high fun, and high stress! However the move to Walgett was a godsend for me – it was (and still is) peaceful, enjoyable, relaxing and a much more fitting way to spend the rest of my life!” Katie Byrne, Stones Throw/Pebbles Kids Walgett.

It sometimes takes the youth and enthusiasm of the younger generation to make these innovations happen, and bring these initiatives to remote communities.

This is the benefit to our local communities when we address succession planning and encourage the next generation to be involved in our businesses, and be positive about their futures living and working in rural and regional areas.