A Place for Olly to Share

Championing their Olly, and with a dream of helping others with similar dyslexia, level one autism and depression issues, Lisa, and Darren Henly their children Olly, Charleigh and Harry, sold everything, forsaking their city lifestyle, to develop a dream in an old dairy in Jervois, South Australia.

Naming their 26-hectare dream ‘EGO Farm’ (an abbreviation of ‘Everyone's Got an Olly’) the Henly family established the farm to help their Olly and stop youth from falling through the cracks and to give them respite in a country environment away from sterile hospital surroundings. A chance to be with nature, a chance to experience the freedom and healthy lifestyle of living on a farm.


Darren, Lisa, and Olly Henley sitting on their café van’s deck, as Charleigh Hunt looks on while preparing our morning coffees and snacks.

“Our farm provides guests with a chance to discover who they really are and allow them to be comfortable in their own skin,” Olly said. “We want to help young people like me to be comfortable being themselves and to help them take a long-term approach in creating their own balanced life, through the understanding of routines that support improved physical, mental and social wellbeing.”

Away from his family, Olly finds caring and encouraging support from his team at Genuine Support Services Australia.

“Olivia and Tyneile at GSSA are truly wonderful people, they are really good at what they do, and they really care,” Olly said.

Combining the personal support from Genuine Support Services Australian and the practical approach to animal therapy, wellbeing forums and meditation at their farm, Olly has finally found a comforting and safe environment - perfect for personal reflection and sustainable growth.


Olly Henley checking the health of one of the friendly goats at EGO farm.

Identifying as transgender, Olly was born in Nottinghamshire, England before migrating with his family at the age of four to Australia.

“We flew to Darwin, Australia 2004, dad often tells us that he remembers taking us to the local playground in England, it was dirty and there was used needles everywhere. So, when dad got home, he said to mum, we’re moving I don't want our kids being raised in this place,” Olly said.

“I never really fitted into school, I was constantly in trouble, I was having problems with my schoolwork, I was continuously in fights and constantly having arguments with the other kids and teachers - all of that,” Olly said.

Olly was finally diagnosed to have Aspergers, also known as Autism Level One, in 2013.

“Over the years I've been linked with a lot of services and I’m very grateful for all the help I’ve been given, and continue to be given, to help me improve my life,” Olly said. “I even got the chance to see a psychologist and an occupational therapist while I was in high school.”

Olly’s early life has been turbulent, but with the support of family and Genuine Support Services Australia he is looking forward to the future.

“I can not wait to start sharing my story and helping others at EGO farm,” Olly said. “I’m so lucky, I have a wonderful loving and supportive partner – although I always know when I’m in trouble these days - “Oliver, Oliver,” Olly laughs.


Lisa Henley having a good laugh Otis and Baxter, two of EGO Farm’s mischievous domesticated goats.

“When Dad and Mum started EGO Farm, we all didn’t know if our family concept would work, we really didn’t even know what it would eventually look like,” Olly said. “But we’ve all worked really hard as a family to get where we are today - there’s always going to be more to do - we just can't wait to start sharing our place with everyone.”

“We continue to receive lots of support from the community and professionals alike – all Mum and Dad says is that they just want to see more young faces smiling again,” Olly said. “Initially, they just wanted to help me through my dark days, now, on most days, I help other like-minded teenagers work through their struggles.”

EGO Farm’s Kiosk, situated at 2776 Jervois Road, Jervois, is easy to find and is about raising funds and building awareness of autism in our communities - educating people that autism is not a disease, it is a neurological, developmental condition; it is considered a disorder, and it is disabling in many and varied ways.

Olly is also a big fan of movies and is looking forward to producing his own short films about autism in our communities.

“I love movies and the places they take me – and I want to make my own,” Olly said. “I want to share my experiences with others. Like my last five week visit to Glenside in July – it was very helpful. I want to help others to be prepared, help them recognise their lows and symptoms so they can counteract and try to balance their ups and downs, especially with mental health. I don't like calling them episodes.”

Olly is looking forward to joining Genuine Support Services Australia’s Fresh Perspective Photography group as they move into forming a Murraylands Photography and Short Film Club.


Harry Henley with pal Buddy about to go for a Quick walk along Jervois Road.

With family plans to also open a Farm Shop, selling produce from EGO Farm and local artisans, Olly hopes the shop will encourage visitors to collect their own eggs and pick their own fruit and vegetables.

“We welcome volunteers, donations of time or money, and we are particularly interested in sponsorship for our cause, as we strive to help as many young people as we can.”


Charleigh Hunt about to groom two of EGO Farm’s miniature horses.

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