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TV beauty back to her roots

Wednesday, 25th June, 2014

School of the Air Principal Scott Sanford with student Keeley Turner and ex-pupil and TV presenter Grace McClure. School of the Air Principal Scott Sanford with student Keeley Turner and ex-pupil and TV presenter Grace McClure.

By Nick Gibbs

A former School of the Air student has returned to Broken Hill to show a new generation that growing up in the bush can provide the best foundation for success.

Grace McClure’s CV is proof of the benefits of a country upbringing.

The girl who grew up on Trevallyn Station, 280km north-east of BH, has turned a thriving modelling career into opportunities as a TV host and has now written her first book, “You are a Wonderful Mother”.

Not that fame has gone to her head. She stopped in to visit the School of the Air for a special broadcast during a trip back to her childhood home on the land her father Murray continues to work.

She said the resilience that comes with life on an outback station played a big role in staying grounded, particularly when there was work to be done.

“You can’t just say ‘I don’t feel like doing that today,’” she laughed, remembering herding flocks of sheep at shearing time.

Unwavering self-belief and the importance of taking care of yourself and those around you were the main messages during the lesson.

“It’s about loving and believing in yourself and helping others,” she said.

Principal Scott Sanford agreed that the path Grace had forged showed that distance didn’t restrict potential.

“It shows the opportunities are there for them,” he said. “They don’t have to be their own Burke and Wills.”

Many of the current crop of students are those of Grace’s former classmates and when given the chance to ask questions, it was clear that although technology has changed, the highlights of a SOTA education remain the same.

“The fundamentals are still there, the values haven’t changed,” she said.

Sports Day continues to be a favourite on the school calendar and it didn’t take much encouragement for her to belt out an old war cry to the delight of her audience.

Fitness has been important in her life and for Grace. Most recently, she has delved into the gruelling world of competitive Ironman.

The 10-hour plus test of endurance provided a mental and physical challenge unrivalled in competitive sport.

“To push your mind, body and soul to 100 per cent during that time is huge,” she said.

While being blessed with good looks and an enviable career might make it seem easy to maintain optimism, Grace hasn’t been immune to feelings of despair.

Coming through the other side of a battle with depression helped provide the drive for her book and the current focus on motivational speaking.

“I’ve had people tell me the book has changed their lives,” she said, adding that people needed to learn to take care of themselves first before taking on other concerns.

“I think mothers especially tend to put other people first.”

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