Grow takes a look at what those in business and industry do when they are not working – what drives them at home and away from the office, shop or factory floor.
Rachael Woodham is a Pakenham real estate agent who, like everyone, needs a little time away from work.
Only, unlike the 36-year-old real estate agent and proprietor of multiple businesses, not everyone travels to outback Australia to find it.
REBECCA SKILTON spoke to the estate agent of many talents.
Owner of kids’ amusement company Dreamer Amusements, animal nursery Animal’s on the Move and her own real estate agency, Unlock Real Estate, Rachael Woodham is a business woman to her core.
Yet with the wealth of work involved in her business endeavours, the Pakenham mother of two says that the freedom of being her own boss is worth any extra labour.
“Running your own business is probably easier (than working for someone else) because I don’t have a boss to tell me what to do,” Rachael said.
“I’m still doing the same sorts of things I was doing before (at previous workplaces) but there’s just a lot of learning to do with set-ups and things like that, but I think I’d rather do it my way than someone else’s.”
But while doing it Rachael’s own way is one of the many positives to adorn her proprietor title, it also means that the majority of her work is done solo.
So, with such an intense work life, how does the owner of a real estate agency, kids’ amusement company and animal nursery spend her time away from work?
“When I was 16 I wanted to join the army,” Rachael explained.
“I was working with my parents’ animal farm at Albert Park Lake and the army happened to be there with their camels.
“Camels are the mascot for the transport unit in the army so I went up and had a chat to them and they said ‘you’re not very big, do you think you could race a camel and be a jockey?’ and of course I told them I could do anything.
“So they told me to catch the train up to Seymour and they’d pick me up there and take me to the races and see how I’d go. And that’s how I got into camel racing.”
At 165 centimetres tall, Rachael has raced for numerous camel racing teams all over the Australian outback.
With her small stature and pre-existing equestrian abilities, she was the perfect candidate to saddle up the humped-backed animals – so much so that her racing team would frequently offer to fly her to and from racing locations to fit into her working schedule.
“When I started racing I was racing for other teams so they would say ‘OK, there are races here, here and here, can you do the circuit with us?’ and if you need to work around work we’ll fly you up or back or you can just jump in the truck with us,” Rachael said.
“I ended up working my work in with the racing and took my animal farm with me and worked at all the outback schools, kinders and childcare centres,” Rachael said.
“I’d be working through the week and racing on the weekends. I kept myself busy.”
In keeping herself busy, Rachael took part in numerous races and owned three camels, even purchasing some at a young age to train for herself.
It was during a trip to the Queensland town of Boulia that Rachael came across an animal that would alter the face of Australian camel racing.
“I purchased a wild camel from Boulia named Regi,” Rachael said.
“I tried training him when I was about 20 and I got pregnant and everyone told me I couldn’t be around wild camels when you’re pregnant so I gave him to my trainer, Peter Hodge.
Peter raced him and he became the best out there. He was the fastest camel in Australia at one stage and I think he still is.”
Known within the camel racing world as the Black Caviar of Racing, Old Regi Boy won 65 or his 68 starts, with Rachael returning to racing to ride him to many of his wins.
At 2.4 metres, the one humped dromedary camel even took home the Melbourne Cup of camel racing, the outback Queensland 1500 metre Boulia Cup an impressive five times.
Yet, despite her success in the camel racing industry, Rachael remains grounded, appreciating the opportunities the sport presented her with.
“It’s something silly and it almost acts as a holiday – it’s nothing to do with work and you don’t have to even think about work when you’re doing it.
“I think a work-life balance is very important. I don’t see the point in working hard all day every day until I am too old to enjoy adventuring around the countryside.
“If I can work hard now and mix it up with adventures and holidays, I’ll always have something to look forward to,” Rachael said.
“I only race a couple of times a year now and I take my kids along to have a laugh.
“But through camel racing I got to travel all around Australia which is probably something I wouldn’t have done otherwise.”