Sam & Jenny Bailey

Sam & Jenny Bailey

SAM BAILEY grew up on a grazing/cropping farm at Croppa Creek, on the north-west slopes of NSW, attending the small bush school at Croppa Creek before going away to board at The Armidale School (TAS). At TAS he excelled in rugby, cricket and athletics. At eighteen he headed north to Stonehenge, southwest of Longreach in outback Queensland, to work on a property. The following year he went to work as a jackaroo on the Australian Agricultural Company property Avon Downs in the Northern Territory.

In July of that year, 1987, he suffered a spinal injury in a car accident and was left a C6/C7 quadriplegic (which means disability in all four limbs. He still has limited use of his arms and one part hand) After six months in the spinal unit at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane he returned home to the family farm, determined to pursue his dream of being a farmer despite concerns from medical staff that it might no longer be possible. With time, he rebuilt his life. A four wheel bike became his legs around the farm, he developed a hoist to get into the farm machinery and his ultimate achievement was to learn to fly an ultralight aircraft. In 1999 he achieved his final dream, marrying former ABC rural journalist Jenny Black. In February 2000 their story appeared on ABC Television’s Australian Story, and he is now pursuing a career as a public speaker, along with his continuing interest in agriculture.

JENNY BAILEY grew up on sheep and cattle property near Scone in the Upper Hunter Valley, where from a very early age she discovered her passion for horses and riding. She attended Scone Primary and High School. At 15 she did work experience at the local Scone Advocate and decided she wanted to be a journalist. Within weeks of finishing the Higher School Certificate she began work as a cadet journalist at the Muswellbrook Chronicle and Hunter Valley News in Muswellbrook. Over the next ten years she worked on newspapers in the Blue Mountains, Maitland, London (UK), Kempsey and Nambucca Heads, and back to Muswellbrook. In 1992 she joined ABC Radio as a rural reporter in Tamworth. In 1999 she married Sam Bailey, and moved to his family farm at Croppa Creek where she continues to do occasional work in radio and writing, as well as riding horses, helping on the farm and when time allows enjoys painting animals – for which she has won numerous local awards.


Books by this author

Head Over Heels
SAM BAILEY THOUGHT HE had his life as a farmer neatly planned out, until a road accident left him a quadriplegic. Remarkably, this turned out to be just a bump in the road to achieving his goals. With determination, rehabilitation and the unwavering support of family and friends, he resumed farming and threw in skiing and solo flights for pastimes. However, the greatest chapter of his story is how he fell in love and captured the nation’s heart. There are many triumph-in-the-face-of-adversity stories, but this one is an absolute stand out.