By Gisela Horner | Volunteer Bella Vista Farm
From a very young age, Michelle Byrne has always been involved in community work.
Through the church, Girl Guides and Life Saving Clubs – she has been no stranger in wanting to put her energies into helping the community. She was first elected onto council in 2008 and in 2012 was elected the youngest Hills Shire Mayor; a position she held again in 2013 and 2015.
By 2017, the annual voting system changed to a 4-year term and Michelle became the Shire’s first popularly-elected Mayor voted for by residents. With her engaging smile and delightful manner, she is dedicated to the huge task of steering one of the largest growing councils in the State. At present the population is 177,000 and is estimated to grow to 290,000 by 2036. She is determined to meet the challenges in planning and providing infrastructure to meet the needs of residents and businesses.
Born in Blacktown Hospital, her family moved from Kings Langley to the Hills district when she was 14. After attending William Clarke College she went onto achieve a Medical Science Degree in 2000, Honours in 2001 and a PhD in cancer research in 2009 at UTS. She was working in a medical teaching laboratory and also doing medical research in Type 1 Diabetes.
Job insecurity and funding challenges in medical research caused her to look at a backup plan, so she enrolled in a law degree online at University of New England, graduating in 2014. Bella Vista Farm is a Shire project close to Michelle’s heart. “The Farm is one of my favourite places in the Shire – it’s a happy place.
We need to protect and preserve this place for future generations – for my kids, my grandkids, my great grandkids!
“Bella Vista is still like a ‘working’ farm with the sheep being here. You can almost forget you are surrounded by houses, the Metro, shops and businesses.
“My hope is to have the Farm open more often. I would like to expand the area outside the perimeter of the Farm, have more walking paths, BBQ areas and possibly a children’s playground, so families can be out in the fresh air, use and enjoy the ambience of this place.
“I also recognise the wonderful volunteer group who dedicate their time and help to keep Bella Vista Farm alive and the beautiful place that it is”.
Even with her full-time duties she is very much a hands-on mum. Matt her husband, the five-year-old twins Alexis and Maddison and 15 months-old Sophie all love to come to Bella Vista Farm to visit the sheep and run through the gardens.
Bella Vista Farm welcomes visitors to the upcoming Open Day on Sunday, February 7 from 10am to 2pm. Covid rules will be strictly adhered to.
Please share the joy of the Farm. The Friends of Bella Vista Farm will serve Devonshire Teas; talk about the history of the farm.
The sheep will be there along with four Alpacas raised by Ann, a Bella Vista Farm Friend. There is so much for families to see and learn about one of the gems of the Hills Shire. The Bella Vista Farm – Its Past and Its People – A Chronologyis available for purchase at $20. For more information email: [email protected]