In 1991 Sarah Crooke became the first female councillor to be appointed to the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV), a position she held for seven years.
A well-respected leader, Crooke’s appointment to RASV council opened up pathways for women following her, and her success in later securing a place on Australia’s first rural leadership program in 1992 – the Australian Rural Leadership Program – made her a knowledgeable figure on issues facing Australia’s rural industries, and provided a launchpad into agri-politics.
Hailing from a dairy farm in Gundowring in Victoria’s Kiewa Valley, Crooke’s appointment filled the casual vacancy which arose from the appointment of Mr Rae as a Life Councillor. She was also a Central Councillor with the United Dairy Farmers of Victoria, and was a coordinator of the North East Dairy Industry Group.
In 2004 Crooke and her husband established Gundowring Ice Cream on their 400ha dairy property. It was cream of the crop that year, winning Champion Ice Cream at the Melbourne Royal Show with a raspberry ice cream.
Almost 20 years on from the first batch that sold out at the local farmers’ market, Gundowring Ice Cream has won multiple awards and the delicious, natural flavour range (the licorice is a surprising delight) can be found at stockists across Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.