“I came from the city and had no understanding of what community meant. I left school and came here for a holiday. I fell in love with the place and thought I’d take on a short summer holiday job and wanted to stay longer. I got a job working at the local motel in Penneshaw, waitressing. Here I am, still here. It’s been the luckiest thing I ever did to come here for a holiday.
I eventually married Ashley, had three children and became entrenched in the community. This is the most exceptional place to raise a family, raise kids and create a new generation. Ashleigh is a fifth-generation local, he and our kids were of course born here, so I am the feral. They are all born and bred.
My happiest place has always been on this island and particularly on our own farm. I love the farm work and I love the fact that we walk in the same footsteps as Ashleigh’s forebearers. The five generations of his family have allowed us to nurture and nourish another generation because of their hard work. I am now blessed with grandkids, how good is that? My passions still revolve around the family and the community, they are the strengths that sustain me. I think for anyone who believes life is a bed of roses, they’re going to be horribly shocked. Life is one challenge after the next.
But this community is so incredible and worth fighting for. They’ve always fought for me and I think we fight for each other when the need comes.
Seeing my son air-lifted off on life support, that isolation becomes extraordinary because you can’t get off with him. We had to wait until the next ferry in the morning which thankfully was the 5.30 ferry, we didn’t have to wait too long. That was the toughest time but at the same time this community did what it does best and wrapped their arms around us. I often pinch myself thinking ‘why are we so lucky’ when you hear so many people aren’t. I don’t know why but we were totally blessed.”