20 May, 2023
Gilgandra PROBUS Club News - May 2, 2023
By Gilgandra PROBUS Club
President Pat Thompson welcomed members to the
April meeting where details of a number of possible
excursions were presented by travel coordinator, Denise
Morning tea was then enjoyed, followed by guest
speaker coordinator, Phillip Yeo, introducing a further
excellent speaker, Jen McCutcheon, currently a journalist
with ABC in Dubbo.
Condensing Mrs McCutcheon’s inspirational story
in a short article is not easy. However as she mentioned,
anyone can achieve their dreams by working hard and
enjoying life along the way and now with a career, married
to a local farmer, becoming a mother to her young
daughter, and also looking forward to welcoming a second
baby, she wouldn’t have her life any other way.
Early life commenced with a young Mrs
McCutcheon attending school in Bathurst, where her
father was a teacher. She enjoyed public speaking,
debating, and swimming back then, and the first two of
these have seen her achieve so much in her career as a
news reporter and sports reporter in both Canberra and
While in year 10 she was one of the dancers accompanying
Christine Anu in the closing ceremony of the
2000 Sydney Olympics, what an amazing experience.
This was only to be exceeded in future years.
Between school and university Mrs McCutcheon’s
father was awarded a Churchill Fellowship, so that
meant the family spent six months in Wales, where she
undertook work experience at BBC Wales and in
The family also spent time in America, where
Mrs McCutcheon was in New York when Kurt Fearnley
won the New York City Marathon title in 2009.
She decided to pursue a communications course in
sports journalism and undertook a double degree at
Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Bathurst, while many
of her friends opted to study at Sydney universities.
CSU was a great place to study and receive hands-on
A lecturer, at that time, predicted that all news
would eventually be communicated on mobile phones,
how right he was, way back in 2004. A few CSU graduates
prior to Mrs McCutcheon, were Andrew Denton,
Samantha Armytage and Melissa Doyle – so she is in
Sports journalism was not a popular choice as a
career, with few good positions being available however,
Mrs McCutcheon wrote articles for local newspapers,
volunteered at community radio stations also
undertook work experience at other local stations.
She applied for a cadetship with ABC television and
with only seven positions available, worked her way
through a number of interviews and was selected for one
of these positions from more than 1000 applicants.
Following this she spent three years in Canberra
working in in news and sport and then moved to Sydney
as a sports reporter where she spent seven years.
attended and reported on all the top sporting events such
as the Bathurst 1000 and Eastern Creek V8s, horse racing,
Yankees baseball, US Open, Australian Open,
Daily M Awards and was on the Sydney desk for the
London Olympic Games.
During this time she interviewed people such as
Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt, Novak Djokovic, many
of the top rugby league stars and even ‘Winx’. It was a
busy and glamorous life style, however one of the saddest
parts for Mrs McCutcheon was reporting on the
death of cricketer Phillip Hughes.
During COVID, metropolitan stations relied on
regional journalists for much of their information and
with the many digital platforms now available news stories
can be produced in the bush by ABC regional
One of the many local stories filed by Mrs
McCutcheon was of Hermidale school, which many of
us saw on Landline.
Member Shirley Mudford was particularly
interested in this, as at one time four of her
great-grandchildren attended this school, with one
remaining there today.
Member Margaret Schier thanked Mrs McCutcheon
for her wonderful talk and presented her with a certificate
of appreciation from PROBUS Club.
Mrs Schier mentioned that, like Mrs McCutcheon, she came to a farm in Gilgandra shire many years ago as a new wife, then mother, and could relate to the many challenges that have faced Mrs McCutcheon since her arrival – droughts, mouse plague, and floods.