Barney Nolan

Barney Nolan
Barney Nolan

I was lucky to survive my birth, and entered this world with a one-third hearing loss in both ears. I was educated at Xavier College, Melbourne, and later studied farm management and environmental science. I left the city straight after HSC to go jackerooing and spent roughly eight years travelling around Australia doing seasonal work and following the good weather.

I am enjoying the opportunity to share my experiences via the DiVine newsletter. I would love to empower and inspire other people with disabilities.

Barney Nolan's articles

An opened and a closed abalone shell.

The abalone were sent to Hong Kong.

I worked as a deckhand on a boat in Victoria. We fished for abalone, a type of shellfish. My job was to pilot the boat to the fishing spot. I then had to shell the abalone the diver brought to the water's surface. The job was a lot of fun but could be scary because the ocean can change very quickly. One day I had to steer the boat towards a huge wave or it would be pushed onto the cliffs. The boat was pushed upwards and then into the air. The pay wasn't good and the job wasn't safe enough so I stopped after six months.
1 comment - on 25/06/2014
A road train on a road in the outback.

We hit a road train.

I was once in a serious car accident on an outback road in Western Australia. I was with two friends when we hit a turning road train at high speed. I was lucky to survive the accident. I tried to help the driver breathe again but he did not survive. I helped the other passenger out of the car and supported him as we walked along a road. I learned many things from this terrible experience. I learned about letting go of anger. I also discovered the benefits of learning emergency first aid, and the horrible results of drink driving.
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Ewes and lambc in a green paddock.
Ewes and lambc in a green paddock.

I worked outside with the animals.

My first job after high school was working as a jackeroo, or farm hand. The farm was owned by the family of ex-prime minister Malcolm Fraser. The job was tough but an adventure. One day when I wasn't careful enough, a bull knocked me off my motorbike and bashed me around a bit. I was bruised and muddy but just glad to still be alive. My favourite memories are having dinner with the Fraser family and working with all the animals. My experience helped me with my working career. I learned a lot about farming and about myself.
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A grassed area with the CERES cafe in the background.
CERES cafe

CERES's cafe is a spot to relax.

CERES in East Brunswick started as a small community garden 30 years ago. Today it is a large area filled with fruit and vegetable gardens and trees. It also has about 300 chickens. Food from CERES is sold to the public every week. The centre has wind turbines, 350 solar panels and runs environmental education programs. There is a weekly program for people in the Deaf community. People with intellectual disabilities work packing and delivering chicken eggs. Some of the paths at CERES are not accessible. But all the buildings are. CERES is a popular place to visit.
2 comments - last comment on 02/07/2012
Cable beach, Broome
cable beach

I slept in a hut by Cable Beach.

In 1994 I lived near Broome in Western Australia. I went on a nine-day walk with the Goolarabooloo people. I learned how to follow bush bees to their honey and how to dig for water. I learned to track and hunt animals. When the walk finished the Goolarabooloo people invited me to stay with them. I worked for four hours a day and lived in a hut by the beach. I ate traditional bush food like turtles and goanna. The next trail walk will be in June this year. I strongly recommend it.
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A distant shot of the Byron Bay lighthouse, the cliffs and ocean.

We could see the Byron Bay lighthouse.

I was the manager of a farm called ReGenesis in New South Wales. It was an organic farm. Organic farming is when no artificial chemicals are used on the soil and plants. We grew fruit and vegetables and sold them to local restaurants and pubs. The farm had small cows that helped keep the grass short. We also planted trees for harvesting and replaced native bush and plants. The farm was a beautiful place to work. It was near the ocean. After a long day of work I would go for a swim at the beach.
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Uluru in Central Australia at sunset, with two trees in the foreground

I have worked in the outback.

I have a hearing impairment. Sometimes my hearing loss has its advantages. I can ignore people. I can sleep without being disturbed. I ruined my old hearing aids. I put them in the washing machine and clothes dryer. My new hearing aids are amazing. I can hear so much more. I am lucky to have had many adventures. I have worked in the gold mines of New South Wales. I have worked in the cane fields of Far North Queensland. Now I work and live in Mansfield, Victoria. I have a daughter named Charlotte. Life is good.
1 comment - on 12/01/2012