Doctorate for Co Louth woman who made a new life in Australia

Dr. Rachel McEleney Freebury who is originally from the Lower Point Road, Dundalk and now lives in Western Ausatralia pictured after she was conferred with a PhD from the University of Edith Cowan

Margaret RoddyThe Argus

A solo back-packing trip around Europe, South East Asia and Australia led to Co Louth woman Rachel McEleney Freebury making a new life for herself down under.

The mother-of-three, who married an Australian man whom she met on her travels, has recently been conferred with a Doctorate degree from the Edith Cowan University in Western Australia.

Originally from Dundalk’s Lower Point Road, Rachel attended St Vincent’s Secondary School and then went to work in Paris as an au pair for a few years, before attending Writtle College in England for three years, studying agriculture.

She worked at various jobs in her early twenties and set off on an adventure, backpacking alone through Europe, South East Asia and ended up in a small village Walpole, in the the bush in Western Australia.

It’s a small village, approximately a 5 hour drive south of Perth, and she decided to go there because a fellow woman traveller whom she had met on a train in India was from there.

While in a pub, she caught the eye of local farmer Brian Freebury, who was so smitten that he decided to join her on her travels. They didn’t go far, however, and stayed in Western Australia.

They are now married 24 years, have two daughters, Sorcha (23) who is studying to be a nurse, and Niamh 19, who last summer travelled to Europe and Ireland, and a son, Setanta (19) who is finishing High School. The family moved from Walpole to Brian’s home town of Bunbury, but have a holiday home in Walpole,

Alongside raising her family, Rachel works in Edith Cowan University and was recently awarded a PhD .

Her parents James and Kay, who moved from Dundalk to James’ native Co Donegal, are frequent visitors to Rachel and her family, escaping the Irish winter for four months.