Mcleod's Daughters: articles

the real McLeods

No bull: the McLeod daughters Narelle (front) and Sheridan take time off from their punishing 12-hour day on the farm. Picture: Peter Ward

Plenty of drama for the real McLeods

THEY are the real thing—two Gippsland farmers who have the same name as one of Australia’s most popular shows.

But these McLeod’s daughters get action without the need for lights and camera: they are busy living the real-life equivalent of the gripping TV drama.

Narelle, 32, and Sheridan, 30, are a long way from their namesakes’ film set: the vast outback cattle property of Drovers Run. They run a successful dairy farm in Yarram, 220km southeast of Melbourne, and oversee two others in Leongatha and Inverloch spanning 1000ha.

They don’t have time to watch the hit show, saying they see only “a minute here and there”.

“We don’t need the show; there’s enough drama out here,” Narelle said. “But we wouldn’t mind if we also had such handsome blokes popping around all the time. The gender balance out here is horrible.”

The sisters formed a working partnership in 2000, taking over from mum Elizabeth and late father Max McLeod. The McLeod family and the town of Yarram (population 2100) go hand in hand as far back as 1858.

Their fictional counterparts also inherited the farm after the death of their father. But there’s no make-up or fancy trailers here.

The days are long and hard. Narelle and Sheridan are up at 6am and knock off about 6pm—if everything goes well.

“The show is a little more glamorous than real life,” Narelle said.

“You don’t see too many hipster jeans or RM Williams boots on the farm. You usually save the RMs for a good occasion,” she said.

The pair say the show hasn’t affected them, but they admit to getting curious looks when they tell people their surname.

“We were at the VFF (Victorian Farmers Federation) Annual Conference the other day, and Livestock president Simon Ramsay walked past us and was like, ‘Oh, the McLeods’,” Sheridan said. “We usually get a second look when people see our name.”

But they vowed never to seek any monetary benefit from the show.

“It would be good to have a kickback off it and make some extra money, but that’s not our style,” Sheridan said.

By Sam Edmund
July 17, 2004
Herald Sun