DeVrye delivers inspiring speech


The stars aligned across the Upper Hunter last month when Catherine DeVrye shared her Australia Day address in Scone.

The popular key-note speaker was quick to acknowledge that she was speaking at Australia’s horse capital. This was ironic given she was born in Calgary (the home of Canada’s famous Calgary Stampede).

“Where I grew up wasn’t the end of the earth, but you could sort of see it from there,” she explained.

“But it’s not where you live, it’s how you live.

“In regional Australia, there is a much stronger sense of community so never lose sight of that.”

The year she graduated from school she lost both of her parents to cancer and made her way to Melbourne to be with her best friend. She came to Australia with a backpack, $200 and a one way ticket for a three month working holiday just to clear her head.

And the rest was history.

Over the past 40 years she has published nine books, worked for the Australian Olympic team, worked for IBM, was a past CEO of Junior Achievement Australia and a former board member of the third largest police service in the world.

“I have lived in Australia for most of my life and I am really proud to have that emu and kangaroo on my passport,” she explained.

“They are the only critters that aren’t capable of walking backwards.

“To me that is very symbolic, what we want to do as a nation.

“We want to learn from the past, be in the present and walk into the future with both eyes open.”

She explained that those opportunities in Australia are there for today for every single one of us.

“In Australia we have to dare to dream, dare to fail, dare to pick ourselves up and try again because it is all about attitude.”

“Australia Day is always a good time to reflect and the Upper Hunter region alone has over 14,500 stories.”