My Dad was in the Australian Air Force during the War and was away when I was born at Glenelg. When he came back we lived with my maternal grandmother, an aunt and my cousin, Dorothy at Brighton until Dad’s application for a Soldier Settlement Farm came through. We then moved to Wanilla on the West coast and lived in half of an old Army hut. There were three huts in all, shared between six families so there were plenty of kids around. My brother and I did our Correspondence School lessons under Mum’s guidance in the mornings and then spent the afternoons deliriously happy building cubby houses in the scrub. When our house was finally built on the farm we continued to build cubbies but by then we were going to the new school by the local school bus – a truck with a frame on the back covered with hessian – like an icehouse in the Winter and hot and dusty in Summer! We used to poke holes in the hessian to see where we were!
When I was twelve I had to go to boarding school as the roads to Pt. Lincoln and to Cummins were sometimes almost impassable and there was no school bus. Being a quiet , shy and very socially naive young person boarding school was terrible. I survived and did well in Intermediate and Leaving Art but art was not something considered to be suitable for a future job. Women in my family were either nurses or school teachers and I knew I couldn’t be a nurse so I became a Primary School teacher.
I trained at the Wattle Park Teachers College and went to Adelaide Uni. for three years. My first appointment was to Kingston Area School where they had enough Primary teachers but needed teachers in the Secondary School so I became a teacher of English, Science (my future husband used to teach me the lesson the night before I took it the next day!), History, Sport,and even Art! Most of my students were only two years older than me! After that I taught at Cambrai, Ceduna, retrained as a teacher librarian, Walkerville, Morphett Vale South and Willunga. After about twenty years of teaching I resigned and worked in a plant nursery and herb garden. By then my two sons had left school and were working.
In my spare time I went to some art courses at WEA and joined a group up on the Range above Willunga. I had separated from my husband some years before and now met Bob. He sent me off to have Watercolour classes with Arthur Philips but after a year we moved to Burra to do up an old farm house. We had 148 acres of barren land eaten out by years of overstocking. I began drawing and painting again using a corner of whatever room was not being renovated at the time and grew trees from Trees for Life which we then planted on our place – about 9,000 in all over about 16 years of living at Ford’s Corner. I joined the Burra Art Society and was at different times Secretary, Newsletter Writer, Convenor and occasionally guest Tutor. I was in at the very beginning of the Burra Regional Art Gallery organising the volunteer roster and helping curate and hang local artists’ work there. I still exhibit my work there and have had work in galleries in Adelaide. I’m still on the volunteer roster for the Burra Art Gallery and now also volunteer as a tutor in Watercolour for the U3A in Burra. I paint mainly in watercolour, pastel and mixed media, and have won awards in each of these media. My subjects are mainly flowers, people, landscape and occasionally portraits.
When my aunt died and left me small amount of money I used it to go on a Painting Holiday to France and Cornwall. I have since been on painting holidays to Italy, Sicily, China, Croatia, California, Tasmania, Northern Territory and Greece with various tutors including Charles Reid (USA), Lucy Willis (England), Stephen Quiller (USA) and David Taylor (Victoria). I always arrive home with up to a dozen finished paintings done on site and lots of pen and wash sketches in my visual diary. My last trip to three small Greek islands was superb so perhaps I’ll stop travelling while I’m on top!