My Country

 My country? Images flicker before me. Purple Noon's Transparent Might It is 1943 and we are ‘in the bush’ at our favourite spot on the Yarra River, Veronica and me. We are clinging to a branch close to the water, and jumping in. Our mother says ‘Smell the gum leaves. Look at it all, so … Continue reading My Country

Footy

Nobody who knows me well imagines that I am an avid follower of Aussie Rules Football. Yes, I was born and bred in Melbourne where Aussie Rules is close to being ‘religion’. Yes, I was born into a family of avid Carlton supporters. I can even sing ‘We’re the Mighty Blues’ word for word. As a young … Continue reading Footy

Healing

Let it heal

In this grim time for planet earth I grasp for signs of hope, seeds of goodness. I recall the healing that gradually, gradually began after the Khmer Rouge horror ended.  Even during this tragic month there have been some sparks of hope. Let it heal The people whose spirit was nurtured here were plunged into … Continue reading Healing

Always

Vera with 3 yo Joan

Sometimes two stories converge, and each gives meaning to the other. Stay with me while I show you. In the time between the two World Wars my mother became a vivacious red-headed young woman working in a factory making silk stockings. On Sunday nights at Jarvie St East Brunswick her family would gather around a … Continue reading Always

Camping

Sand and sea

Sun, Sand and Water One magical part of the Port Philip Bay foreshore begins at the McCrae lighthouse and stretches a few hundred meters towards the head of the bay. This was our campsite, summer after summer, for years. It was bushland then, it became crowded later, now it is restored to its original state. … Continue reading Camping

Yoo-rrook

On a sunny winter morning, during a brief spell in Melbourne’s lockdowns, there was the chance for an hours-long breakfast at Riverside Spoons-in Swan Hill. The ancient gums, the paddle boat and the mighty Murray River spoke of history. The conversation was of history far, far back. Gathered at the table were Vicki Clarke Mutthi … Continue reading Yoo-rrook

The 1928 Chev

Just before the second little girl was born Joe and Vera had saved enough money to buy a second-hand 1928 Chevrolet. This car, eleven years old when they bought it, was destined to find a place in the heart of family. This is as new. Ours was secondhand Vera was in labour when Joe drove … Continue reading The 1928 Chev

Charlotte

Charlotte in Blackburn as a great- grandmother I was a young adult when Charlotte, the youngest daughter of my great-grandmother Honora was elderly but full of life. She loved to tell stories. She knew that a young granddaughter would want to know what life was like when her grandmother was young. Charlotte was a lively … Continue reading Charlotte

The Albino Buffalo

smiling man wearing red scarf and black beanie

Closest image I can find Picture me. I am a newly arrived volunteer in a camp of Cambodian refugees: awkward, gawky, bamboozled. I wobble on a bike through squelchy red laterite mud and cross a makeshift plank bridge narrowly avoiding slithering into the water. I hear full throated laughter and turn my head for a … Continue reading The Albino Buffalo

Abbotsford

Abbotsford Street

I am writing this from Abbotsford. This is without doubt a place of beauty. It is also where I had my first close encounter with the exploitation and injustice which so many women suffered and still do. In these months I have cultivated my tiny garden, forged friendships with my neighbours, and harvested good memories … Continue reading Abbotsford