“I ran a theatre company in Adelaide for ten years and formed some extraordinary relationships with different actors and crew. Those friendships are still strong. We used to put on shows in very unusual venues, like the Old Adelaide Gaol, the Botanic Gardens and Old Parliament House was a ripper one too. The first one we did in the zoo, with the lions roaring in the background. It was stressful but extremely fulfilling; I’d come up with the idea for the production and drive it, do all the publicity and direct the actors. But once you finish putting it all together, it becomes theirs, and you just sit back and watch. They take a lot of pride in it as well and it becomes a team effort and a communal artistic piece. It was a really good time. We did it profit-share, but we certainly didn’t get paid for our time, we did it for the love. All our productions went well and I miss it a little bit. I am finding other creative outlets now, like writing and graphic design, so I don’t feel bereft but I hope it’ll be something I can get back to. My priority at the moment is raising kids and the time put into a theatre production is often in the evenings, which is prime parenting time, so this is the right time to just let it rest. Raising the children is more important, so I don’t regret not putting my creative pursuits first at the moment. Being a special needs parent has been a tough road even though they are very high functioning. It has been tough wanting my kids to be the best they can be when there are obstacles in the way of that, but it’s also amazingly rewarding watching who they are becoming.
I want to do the right thing by people. I struggle with that a lot, because nothing is ever the right thing for everybody. There is making sure you are supporting the people that need support, giving to people who need it, being there for your parents and children and friends, and also being yourself and looking after you. It is impossible to always get it right and that is something I struggle with.
I was born in Australia but we travelled back and forth from the Pacific a lot when I was growing up. In grade 4 I was the only white kid in my school class and that was really valuable because you start seeing things more three-dimensionally, seeing what’s cultural and what’s real. I was very privileged to have that experience and I feel sad I can’t give that to my kids, but I am giving other things to them. A childhood on Kangaroo Island is not something to complain about, it’s a pretty beautiful place to raise kids.
If you ask me what the best times in my life are, then it is probably now, living here with this group of people. Part of my decision to move to KI 10 years ago was around seeing the kids I taught at school grow up, maintaining relationships over time, being more connected, and this has really happened living here. I feel more able to be myself than I felt before. I think people learn to be more accepting and forgiving in a small community because you have to. You have to look for the territory where you can get along. If it’s obvious you’re doing your best, people are more willing to give you more chances. I find that very fulfilling and important. I wouldn’t live anywhere else; I plan to be buried here. I love the island.”