About Hannah Sparks

Hannah Sparks is a regional journalist based in the Southern Tablelands of NSW. She has eight years of experience reporting stories for print and broadcast media including Fairfax Media and ABC Canberra. Home was originally a farm in Devon, UK, where she studied a Bachelor of Journalism.

Today, she writes from a wool farm in the Tablelands where she lives with her partner and their many dogs.

Hannah is passionate about providing regional communities with a voice and always has time for a cuppa and a yarn.

All Articles

Brother of former Love Island Australia winner Grant Crapp makes surprise appearance on hit reality show
Love Island Australia's inaugural winner, Grant Crapp, says he was “shocked” to hear his brother would appear on the reality television show this season. The younger of the two brothers, Brent Crapp didn’t reveal the news to Grant until after he'd auditioned. “When he told me he was going on I was shocked," says Grant. "I had no idea. But I...
Alina Piloiu preserves a life she was forced to leave behind
In 2015, Alina Piloiu and her husband, Dani, moved to Australia with two pieces of luggage. The young couple had met in Sibiu, Romania, in 2012, while Alina was studying to become a translator. Soon after, she received a scholarship for a traineeship in Luxembourg, and from there, they took what money was left – enough for a one-way ticket – and...
Fifth generation farmer and single mother says women on the land can have it all
It was during the height of the drought between 2017 and 2020 when I met Carolina Merriman. She’d recently been elected as the first female chair of the NSW Farmers Yass Branch and convinced me to interview local farmers about how they were changing tactics through the heat, including alarm clocks set to 4 am and shearing sheds reconfigured. Thursday,...
Olympia Yarger’s farming dream never included maggots and waste
Goterra founder and CEO Olympia Yarger always dreamt of becoming a farmer, but never imagined becoming a maggot farmer. It was visiting her nonna's piggery and battery hen farm on Mugga Lane in Canberra that inspired Olympia's lifelong love of the land. This passion for all things outdoors only grew when Olympia went to boarding school in Yass and weekends...
Superb new homes for rare and extremely fussy parrots
Superb parrots are among Australia's most exquisite and iconic birds, but they're also among the rarest. Fewer than 10,000 are thought to remain in the wild. Part of the issue is the parrot is extremely fussy about where it raises its young, which means it struggles to find a place to call home as suitable trees are removed. The good...
Crookwell District Hospital’s new head of nursing feels at home again
Crookwell is a small town in the NSW Southern Tablelands - population 2641. Goulburn is a 30-minute drive away and Canberra is 90 minutes away. So for many outlying farming communities, the small town’s hospital is often the first port of call in an emergency. It’s also a place of familiarity for residents, with doctors and nurses doubling as aunties,...
Mogo Wildlife Park welcomes endangered, twin golden lion tamarins
Not even lockdown could stop the recent arrival of twin golden lion tamarins at Mogo Wildlife Park. At six weeks old, the curious monkeys are yet to be named, but are soaking up time with mum and dad, which is a rare sight given the species is endangered. Mogo zookeeper Chad Staples says staff aren’t even sure of the new...
A sweet surprise: Robyn Rowe retires but her chocolates and name will live on
What's in a name? A lot, according to Yasmin Coe, who will retain the Robyn Rowe Chocolates name cherished for nearly two decades by Yass Valley residents. The chocolatier and her husband, former ACT Opposition Leader Alistair Coe, purchased the popular business, separate four-bedroom cottage and surrounding 9.6 hectares on Nanima Road in Murrumbateman in May 2021. Yasmin says the...
Sarah was struggling with perinatal anxiety, then she found her ‘tribe’
Health & Wellbeing
They say it takes a village to raise a child, but who can parents fall back on? Sarah Handley of Crookwell in the NSW Southern Tablelands, says parents need a tribe and has partnered with Tammy Hewitt, Renée Rooney and Chloe Love to launch a supportive group for parents experiencing depression and anxiety. The Perinatal Depression and Anxiety (PNDA) Warrior...
Jane and Jay’s edible flowers are inspiring chefs, florists and cafes
Peonies, dahlias, roses and geraniums – they're pretty to look at, but did you know they're also edible? Jane Penders and Jay Dryden are building a life from their edible-flower farm, Cloudland Flower Farm, near Gunning in the NSW Southern Tablelands and inspiring chefs, florists and cafes along the way. Jane is a full-time public servant who relishes the weekends when...
Olive growers enjoy their moment in the sunshine as appetite for the good oil grows
Food & Wine
If you're looking for the good oil then look no further. In just 10 years Australian olive oil has transformed from a cottage industry to large agribusiness placing $1.5 million in growers' pockets. This transformation has come about, quite simply, by Australians buying Australian. However, Australians couldn't buy Australian olive oil without people such as David and John Hannaford of Hannaford...
Gabrielle Chan tells Australians why they should ‘Give a F-k About Farming’
Gabrielle Chan is proof the big smoke isn’t home to all our inventors, big thinkers, dreamers and doers. The journalist who's worked for The Guardian Australia, The Australian, ABC and The Daily Telegraph grew up in Sydney and never thought in a million years she’d move to the country. Yet in 1996, Gabrielle upped sticks from the Canberra press gallery to marry...
Surviving (another) lockdown: Dr Thewes on finding routine, home-schooling and limiting screen time
Health & Wellbeing
The past two years have tested our resilience as a nation. It’s almost unnecessary to repeat the formidable four - drought, bushfires, floods and a global pandemic - because if you haven’t lived through them, you would have been touched by them in some way. So, as we face yet another lockdown while health officials grapple with the latest COVID-19...
Would you donate your brain for research? Here’s why Bec Duncan said yes
Bec Duncan’s mother and grandmother were nurses so naturally she’s always felt strongly about being an organ and tissue donor. However, it wasn’t until she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), aged 38, that she considered donating her brain for research. A lot of people are happy to donate organs and tissue to save lives – 76 per cent of...
Hot in the country: Ensemble & Co, where local artisans and good coffee meet
Best of Region
At 38, Elizabeth Willis, who Upper Lachlan Shire residents know as Billie, put her office job on hold to pursue her dream of running a retail space for local artisans. On 1 February, 2021, that dream became a reality as the doors opened to Ensemble & Co inside the old bank at 75 Goulburn Street in Crookwell. Not many people...
Dramatic crash near Yass sends sparks flying in Home and Away this week
Whether you're a Home and Away fan or call the Yass Valley home, there are two good reasons to tune into the show on the Seven Network this week - it's explosive, and you're guaranteed to see the breathtaking hills surrounding Wee Jasper. In case you need a third reason, former Neighbours actor Harley Bonner also makes his first appearance flying...