Month: September 2017

A Duckinwilla Drive

For a two day and night sleepover I decide to visit my brother, BIG JIM out on his property, 15 km west of Howard not far from Maryborough. In the 2011 census this town called Duckinwilla had 10 people. who lived in the Fraser Coast district – scrubby Chad Morgan country.  Now, the bush can be dry and dusty at any time, however, at present there’s been very little rain so Bill and I journeyed out with our supplies and sleeping bags to greet my junk- minded, practical, ebay enthusiast and retiree brother.

The BIG railway shed was the first surprise. Back in the olden days this shed carried 6 locomotives. Spacious, airy and filled with all sorts of collectibles and junk, I was impressed with the dozens of small holes in the corrugated sheets that allowed sparkling stars of sunlight to filter through. MAGIC! An inbuilt galaxy of stars.

The first evening also displayed the beauty of night stars shining brightly. AWESOME!

There’s the dunny – Frank’s dunny. Who gets to use it first? Bill or Jim. There’s the old rusty car waiting for a photographer like me.




And the tractor.


Bowerbird Jim likes to buy things. On ebay, gum tree or in the sales yards. He really gets a kick out of finding the right thing for his farm and considering its vital use. Take for example, his cane crusher, extracting fluid out of sugar cane.


Then there’s the old cast iron bath tub that was carefully lifted onto plastic drums and rolled into position. A clever tactic.



In his vast shed or place of refuge, lies many interesting items of junk – a crane hook, potters wheel, fish and animal traps, trommel ( mechanical screening machine used to separate materials), old rusty lanterns, a fish smoker, bottles, etc ” everything is useful” Jim says. I love his solid old dining room table, his old dart boards, and bottle collection.


Up in the attic, there’s extra room for sleepers. You do need to climb a very tall ladder to inspect the mysteries of the heavens – here’s Bill on a quest to reach the stars, only to find nothing up there. He did lower a bucket down with rope.



As the day wore on, Jim showed us around his 57 hectare property that used to boast a market garden of vegetables ( tomatoes, pineapples, pumpkins, zucchini, sugar cane) lime trees and bamboo. The beautiful dam was the thing that sold him to purchase this land. And even though I didn’t canoe on the water, we did walk around the dam noting the bird calls, vegetation and beauty of lily pads and trees.





The clumping golden bamboo stood tall and erect in the dry vegetation. The mango trees were in flower but the limes were dead, sad because 5 years ago they were plentiful. Unfortunately Jim cannot spare the time he needs to effectively allow these trees to thrive. We walked around and noticed the small pine trees growing together. James, Jim’s son likes to grow cactus. So there were unusual cacti growing in specific areas. And as you know, cactus thrive on neglect.

I gathered a bag of pine cones and we lit a fire to cook our lamb chops. Neighbour Stuart joined us for a beer. He’s a good mate who lives close by. salt of the earth, quiet listener in contrast to my brother’s loud, intense voice. Jim likes to debate, discuss, impart knowledge, instruct, give opinions, lecture and in between his reports, says, “right”… “right”. At times I love his vulnerability and tears.

Add the F…. and shit words to his stories, my brother likes to be heard. Our conversations centre on family, the earth, success, farming, traps, computers, engineering, Chinese superstition, children, wild cotton, money, bedding, technology and forests.



You know you are out in the bush when you see this shower and boil the billy three times before lunch.


And in between, sleeping, eating and talking in the bush, I like to take my books and catch some reading time – what better way than in a hammock! Bliss!


Until next time dear family and readers, enjoy a different sort of escape. You might look up the name Duckinwilla. And you might ponder my brother’s wisdom or thoughts – Life is like driving on a highway. Some people change lanes and crash! Some people pass by comfortably. Some stop and some take risks. BRAVO Jim! Love you.


Bananas, Bottles and Bubs – Love and Beyond!

Well the little ones have arrived – twins Annabel Elizabeth and James Mark have made their entrance on the morning of September 7. They were a healthy weight ( 3kg and 2.7kg) non- identical and are a blessing to their parents and little sister, two year old Matilda.

When you look into a baby’s face you really do see a miracle – velvet soft, cheeks, button nose, wrinkled slender fingers and the blackest of hair. So three days in hospital and now home again, my daughter is happy to be in her own space.  I stayed in Brisbane to help out. Yes, it’s a tough job having fun with a beautiful toddler who charms the pants off anyone – bubbles, bananas, The Wiggles, cubbies, hide and seek, walks in the park and picking mulberries in the garden- not a bad pastime.

However, add to the mix, very emotional parents, a few sleep deprived nights ( and I do mean 1 or 2 hours of sleep), endless bottles to sanitise, medicines to take, crying to soothe and new routines to navigate, it’s hard work. I watched my daughter and her husband as they tested all the new ways of folding baby wraps, juggling arms and bodies, multi tasking etc. and coping with new challenges.


AH!! Asleep at last. Don’t they look cute and innocent, pure and perfect?

Annie and James are wrapped up and placed side by side like birds in a nest, two peas in a pod.



Here’s me nursing James at the hospital.


Watching his little face twitch and flicker, eye lids gently open and close, knowing in the future this little boy will kick a football, master the ocean sailing, or climb a mountain – it’s amazing. For the time being, I cherish the peace and beauty of this magical moment.

And look at the intimate bond between mother and daughter when they reunite.


Love and beyond is the way I see my grand children. Beyond their problems and imperfections; beyond the confines of school and classroom; beyond their disbeliefs and questioning; beyond their wildest dreams!

So over the next month, I know that my daughter and her household will be turned upside down in a frazzle of feeds, fatigue and fast eating ( they have fantastic meals coming from friends and family) preparation, organisation and beyond all this, a gratitude to God that they are learning what family life is all about.

Are there any tips out there to manage twins?

Here’s a twin JOKE!  What did the Mexican fireman name his twin sons?


Until next time, stay calm and enjoy Spring.

Letter to my Teenage Self

No matter how you are feeling right now – overwhelmed with school, fitting in with friends and coping as a new Christian – exciting and unexpected opportunities are waiting for you. Never forget how loved you are.

I wish I could travel back in time to tell you that you are worthy and artistic, intelligent and resilient. I know that your time spent at Corinda High school with your friends Jenny and Julie were both testing times and fun. You liked having good friends to ride to school with, sharing secrets and swapping study notes. You had found your passion in art with a great teacher who inspired you with her positive smile and quirky sense of humour.

I know that at times you struggled with your “skinny, flat chested” body especially at swimming carnivals. Even though you were attractive, deep within, you were lacking in confidence with boys. The first kiss came at 16 and the warmth of romance with a Welsh boy called Julian. Even this was hard for you.

Now I would like to be able to tell you that at times you were stubborn and quick to anger at your father who always insisted on punctuality. You were threatened by his strict ways with your boyfriends and his blunt comments about sex.

Your world changed when you became a Christian at school, and with this faith came some criticism and tormenting from friends. But you were always so kind and generous with your time able to speak from your heart.

One of the great adventures and successes in your life comes from your openness to people and your hard work. Even at 16 you knew you wanted to become a teacher, helping and inspiring others. You loved writing poems. I know this creativity to be good at school with your contribution to the magazine Koondoo.

At seventeen your life changes with the Brisbane flood and the impact of this disaster on your family. Your sister and brother are always close by even if you are different from them. It’s a time when your grandmother comes out from Scotland to stay with you and this really tests your father and mother. Regardless of your Senior year being challenged with these extra pressures, you do follow your passion into teaching and studying at University.

Now some advice from me. Be organised as it helps in so many areas of your life. Develop your passions and enjoy them. Keep the contacts with your friends and nurture these for they will strengthen you along the way. Remember to send gifts, birthday cards and special messages. Travel because it will broaden your outlook and perspectives in life. Take some risks to toughen your spirit.

Family and friends and a faith in God are vital. Make sure you give generously to others.

There will be tough times ahead, because everyone struggles. Do not compare yourself to others but be thankful for all that you have.

You are a busy person and need some time to relax. I think that your mind over thinks things so try and pray more, be still.


You will grow from a self conscious teenager who always tries her best to be a grandmother one day surrounded by little ones. Just remember when life gets you down, stand up again, count your blessings and walk an hour at a time. You’ll be heart broken, depressed and sad but this will shift as you forgive.

So Margaret, try not to worry too much. Be brave, thoughtful and loving. There is so much I want to tell you. Be yourself and find your own way. Chances are you will make mistakes along the way and I wish I could comfort you. I can tell you that second chances are real and gratitude is a great remedy for sadness.

And lastly Margaret, learn how to be your own best friend.