Farmer Will: My secret heartache

Farmer Will: My secret heartache

Will Munsie’s cheery smile hides painful stories of life in the Aussie bush.

Don’t be fooled. Although he’s known for his high spirits and taking girls for a twirl on the dance floor, The Farmer Wants A Wife contestant Will Munsie knows first-hand the toll that isolated country life can take on relationships, and the strength of rural community spirit. Growing up in the southern Queensland town of Warwick, Will attended a school with only three other children in his grade and lived on the sprawling property that has been in his family for more than 100 years.

“I hope I can make a life for my family like the life I’ve had so far,” the 25-year-old says. “But life on the land can be pretty bloody hard.” From his youth, Will developed a deep love for the beauty of Australia – but also learned about the hazards of outback life. When he was 12, he made the appalling discovery that a neighbour had committed suicide. “There’s been tough times out here,” Will says, quietly, explaining that the family friend had been struggling with feelings of depression. “He just cracked one day and pulled a gun on his daughter and wife. They bolted and we – my brother and I – saw them fly past on a motorbike with no shoes on. We knew something was up. “Two days later, we went over to his place to see if he was all right, and we saw him hanging in the shed.”

Shockingly, the tragic circumstances, and trauma suffered by Will, were repeated a few years later, when Will, then 18, and his father discovered the body of another neighbour who had taken his life after separating from his wife and becoming estranged from his kids. “When my brother and I were younger, we were out shooting stuff and cutting the legs off dead animals and dragging dead cattle, and so you get very used to death and that sort of stuff, but it’s definitely a different thing when you see a dead human, especially someone that you know and you grew up with and you looked up to and was a great person. “However, you have to get over it and keep moving on.”

Although Will’s teenage experiences were devastating at the time, he says he still grew up with a deep appreciation of the contrast of life on the land, and while there can be loneliness, isolation and loss, it is often offset by birth and the beauty new life has to offer.

Read more about Farmer Will’s life on the farm in this week’s Woman’s Day, on sale September 5, 2011.

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