Fiona carries the flame for her pioneering family

LIKE her forebears, Fiona Hayward is as dedicated to running her beloved family property, historic Kilburnie Homestead.

Built in the late 1800s, the homestead is the focal point of the 124sq km property. One of only two Heritage Listed buildings in the Shire, the rambling weatherboard and its surrounds are filled with the vestiges of Fiona's long and unbroken Campbell family heritage.

While some might feel it a burden, Fiona is proud of her pioneer roots and enjoys the role of modern grazier.

Preserving the past is as much a passion for her as protecting the future. These are the values that shape every aspect of her life.

Kilburnie Homestead stands adjacent to the Boundary Hill South open cut coal mine. Mining is an important industry for the Shire, but when a new cut threatened the homestead, the underground water, and her livelihood, Fiona was quick to act.

She researched and successfully challenged newly introduced legislation that aimed to silence the landowner's voice on mining encroachments. Her deposition changed the legislation for the better and saved the family legacy. With that fight behind her, Fiona is continuing work on a program to replace traditional clear and burn methods with sustainable farming techniques. Under a gradual rollout plan, changes include feeding select numbers of stock on native grasses and improved pasture in forest and open country.

In her 'spare time', Fiona combines her many talents to help develop young hearts and minds. She teaches speech and drama, supports the annual Eisteddfod and is a Taekwondo martial arts instructor. As an accomplished musician, Fiona plays in a band with other family members, appearing at local festivals and venues.

From April until September, she opens her Homestead doors to the public to host regular festival days of history, art and music, creating connections with the past and giving them new meaning for today.

Fiona Hayward is one of Banana Shire's modern pioneers being honoured in an exhibition currently on display at the Regional Art Gallery at the Council Chambers on Valentines Plains Road until January 20.