It’s been 11 years since the series burst onto our screens, and the girls of Drover’s Run are as gorgeous as ever.
At one point, you could switch on a TV almost anywhere in the world and you’d see an episode of McLeod’s Daughters, the sweeping romantic drama series celebrating the pioneering spirit of Aussie women on the land. “I’m still getting mail from the Netherlands, Germany and Italy,’’ laughs Michala Banas, who played Kate. “I think it was such a great thing to be a part of, because lots of things come and go, but this had a lasting effect on people.’’
Michala left halfway through the final season, in 2009, but fans are still smitten with the series’ strong and independent female characters. “I was petrified when I got the job, because it involved horse riding, sheep, cows and dirt. I’m a city girl, and I really didn’t know anything about that stuff,’’ she admits. “So I learned more than I can tell you. I can drive a tractor and I can –badly – shear a sheep!’’ Michala can’t believe it’s around 10 years since Lisa Chappell and Jessica Napier left the show, as they’ve barely changed – though Lisa has lopped off her locks. But it’s Bridie Carter who really amazes her.
“Bridie looks exactly the same – it’s quite remarkable,’’ she says. “But then, they all look remarkable. I think it’s inevitable that we have all changed, but my time on McLeod’s really does seem just like yesterday.’’ Bridie, Lisa and Jessica were in the original cast, which included Rachael Carpani, Aaron Jeffery, Myles Pollard, Sonia Todd, John Jarratt and Brett Tucker. Simmone Jade Mackinnon joined in Season 3, while Matt Passmore, Luke Jacobz and Abi Tucker starred in later seasons. “I still miss Claire,’’ says Lisa of her character, who was killed off in a truck accident in 2003, leaving fans shattered.
“I loved playing her, but she was very different to me. She wasn’t very feminine, but I’m very feminine, expressive and communicative. I tend to spend a lot of my time ‘in the clouds’. ” “McLeod’s ignited my love with the countryside,’’ says Bridie, who left the show in 2006 after nursing her first-born, Otis, on set. Jessica agrees: “It was so beautiful to be in the country and surrounded by animals. And you never knew what to expect – it would go from dust storms to rain and extreme heat. It was tough, but I loved my time there.’’
Read more and see our beautiful shoot with the girls in this week's Woman’s Day on sale Monday April 1, 2013.