“We are slightly different now but people still get us mixed up. We are close but like the idea of being an individual as many times growing up we were referred to as ‘the twins.’ We have both obtained our diploma in childcare and spent many years in the childcare sector. At school we used to get mixed up all the time. We were always dressed the same, had an identical doll as well and we would turn up in identical outfits. I am from Wilmington from a family of seven; and I am number three. I am an identical twin, and my sister is still over there. My dad was a shearer; he would go off early in the morning and come home late in the evening. Somehow Mum would have us all bathed and in bed, so absolutely inspiring. She loved children too and she said, that is why she had so many. There was only 13 years between number one and number seven. We grew up on 30 acres, we had a few sheep and Mum would milk the cow, make her own bread from the wheat Dad had grown. I guess if I get stressed over anything, I used to ask myself, ‘How did Mum do it?’ Really, if she can do seven, how can I not do two. I guess, that gives me the confidence to know that you can do it. I love children. I feel lucky to have three gorgeous grandchildren to love and visit, even though one is further away. When our son was 12 months old, I did family daycare and used to have up to seven children at my house after school. There was about 30 of us who offered family daycare until the childcare centre opened. It sort of dwindled off after that.
I ended up working in childcare for eight years, and then another five years at the school, mostly with children with disabilities and special needs.
My husband Brenton is a fourth-generation islander. The Bells first lived at Stokes Bay and they moved to Kingscote when he was 12 and started the Mitre10. He is still there after 42 years.
It was his dream to have a farm so in 1987 we bought the farm at Birchmore and had 1000 acres and ran 3000 sheep. Unfortunately, we had to sell it in 1992 as the wool price was abolished and sheep were worth very little money. We had to destroy sheep as it was cheaper than freighting them away.
To see your husband having to work so hard and then lose it all, that is life but it’s tough.
It has always been my dream to go to France. On our 10th wedding anniversary we said we would go to France and have dinner at the Eiffel Tower to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. Our dream came true. France to me has this romantic feel to it in my thoughts and dreams. When we went there, it was everything I dreamed it to be. We went from the top down to the bottom, Monaco, Nice, swam in the Mediterranean and back through the alps and back up to Paris again.”