Simultaneous Storytime

NSS 2017 Web page banner_0Splat!

Don’t we all love that sound? In fact, anything onomatopoeic, combined with a melodramatic dose of disaster, is enough to have kids and the rest of us cracking up like nobody’s business.

Wednesday, 24th May was the Australian Libraries’ rippingly fun (and nonsensically simple) kids’ event – National Simultaneous Storytime. Eek. I love a great children’s story. Even more so, I love reading stories aloud. Call me ever so slightly embarrassing, but I’m known to do it alone in the privacy of my own backyard. Solo. By myself. With no one listening. Except me…and the characters, of course. And maybe an occasional gecko.

This year’s story is by Tony Wilson and illustrated by Laura Wood. There’s more than enough “splatting” in The Cow Tripped Over the Moon for a whole school’s worth of audience to get a laugh. So it’s a good thing the whole school was brought in to enjoy this ‘behind the scenes’ gawk at a classic nursery rhyme. Along with children in schools and libraries all over Australia, at 11am one autumn morning, National Simultaneous Storytime went off.

St Cecilia’s Catholic Primary School loved this cow. Hope you do too.

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Extraordinary Community

Welcome to Hedland self
Hi-vis MC duties

On the first chilly Friday night in May, Port Hedland invites the whole town along to celebrate something rather special.


In honour of this remote dichotomy of fit in or fly off, last night I fitted into a bit of my favourite high heels and high fashion meets high-vis and hosted “Welcome to Hedland” for the Town. I hope I did Alannah Hill proud. Not to mention this particular Pilbara place that I fell in love with seven years ago.

I adore this annual event for its spirit, its open heart and its simple message: Strangers knock and someone always runs to open the door. There’s aΒ  joke in the north west that you don’t need to wait 25 years to be considered a local. It’s more like two weeks. And that’s stretching the truth. All you really need to do – which I forced my shyness to defy – is to accept the phone number of the local ___ (read soccer club, gardening group, art association) rep. who happens to invite you out for coffee the next day, around the corner, up the street or at one of Port Hedland’s five coffee shops. And, voila! You’re home. It’s not for everyone, but it is for so many tenuous arrivals I’ve lost count. Some people have been here a week, some more than 40,000 years. And it’s all in the choosing.

Welcome to Country
Welcome to Kariyarra Country!
Home Hardware’s Gloria Jacob stands tall and proud.

Funny thing is, by saying yes to human connection, I think I’ve had more coffees in my life in Port Hedland than anywhere else. Local friends will note the irony. Yes, it’s true they cost a dollar more, but they are made with a wink and a smile.

Welcome to Hedland, 2017 saw more than 70 stallholders spruik clubs, associations and connective activities beneath a stunning autumn night sky. Perhaps I’m just excited because I felt that rippling chill on my shoulders at about 8pm for the first time in nine months. Oh, and then the goosebumps really came because I knew it meant winter was on its way. And then I was thrilled to remember that this means the days will soon only reach 27 degrees Celcius – and I can wear boots. Boots!

When I’m not in my thongs.

If you’re new to Port Hedland, welcome! If you’ve never been, do it like I did: Have the question posed – “Should we move to that hot, red, dusty mining town, Port Hedland?” Answer in expletive horror. And do it anyway.

Niki and Elise
Num num Dim Sum with Niki White


Someone will open the door and tug on your heartstrings.


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Cheers to the Mother’s Day Classic, 2017

outfitIt’s more than a privilege being asked to host the Mother’s Day Classic on the second Sunday morning of May each year. It hits me in my core, beneath my two breasts where mum only had one.

Today in Port Hedland, this remote coastal town yet again proved what love, passion and compassion there is in the community by thinking pink and hitting the track to run rings around breast cancer.

My own mum, beautiful Beth, was diagnosed at 39 and had a single mastectomy. For me, this means I am on borrowed time and grateful every day for my health and the increasing percentage of those with five year survival. Early on in her journey, Beth began a steadfast relationship with cancer; she’d call it her friend. Friend.

Might as well work with it, than against it, she reasoned.

I was blessed to have my mum around for a further 20 years following this initial diagnosis, after which she and her friend joined the sky. I’m sure Mum’s up there doing Meet and Greet at the Pearly Gates, and taking newcomers to town to visit Heaven’s version of “The Dangenongs”, as was her wont throughout our Melbourne years.

IMG_5611The Mother’s Day Classic in Australia has been running for many years and Port Hedland, in WA’s Pilbara, is now done and dusted with its eighth. The National Breast Cancer Foundation continues to thrive with its medical research into prevention, treatment and cure for a cancer that affects one in eight in our country. Perhaps our Pilbara event is not as remote as that held in Antarctica, but today’s drew in a colourful crowd of more than 500 good, pink folk, a colourful bunch of flowers and an even more colourful troupe of Australian Army soldiers cranking out their hike with 25kg packs. Nice work, fellas; you’re free to fan yourselves now!

Thanks to the Town of Port Hedland for having me.

Happy Mother’s Day. #MDC2017

Here’s cheers!

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