Tamara's Blog

Mission trip to central Australia Part 3


Our last morning in Yuendumu.  It took a while to pack everything up and then we spent some time praying.  Rosie prayed with us in Walpiri and English.  It was so lovely to have her pray for safe travel for our group.  By 9:30am we were on the road.  On our way out I noticed a sign in front of a building saying something in Walpiri at the top and underneath it read” Place for caring for old people.”  haha blunt!!

And so began our 2 hour drive on the dirt road.  It was a true outback experience friends!  Shortly after we left Yuendumu we saw a Kangaroo hop across the road.  The first alive and whole Kangaroo we’d seen all trip.  The two ways were going with all kinds of useless trivia and of course very informative information about actual hazards in the road ahead.  We tried to find the place in Coniston where the aboriginal massacre took place in 1928.  All we found was the actual town (if you can call it a town) of Coniston.  We stopped and had a look around at some ruins and thought perhaps it might have been close.

After a short stop, we drove on for another hour on the dirt track before we finally reached a sealed road.  We stopped for petrol at Aileron, and checked out a small art gallery there.  Not much to say about this place really.  It was just a small town about 130klm’s north of Alice Springs.

Before we knew it, we were back in our vehicles and heading to Alice to spend our last night altogether.  Finally as we drove up to the caravan park in Alice, dad let me drive the “truck” in to find our last camping spot.  Woo Hoo!! I gotta get me a big diesel 4WD one day!

Our last night in the NT!  We BBQ’d, played cards and chatted the night away (well until about 10pm… driving can be tiring)  I’m quite the fan of camping now, although perhaps next time a camper that actually fits 3 people would be nice.

I had the most wonderful time on this trip and I’m excited to do it again one day.  I’m thankful for the lovely new friends I made, the experience of different communities and the opportunity to ground myself again.


Mission trip to central Australia Part 2


This freezing morning was made more bearable by the campfire that was reignited from the night before.  My dad did this mornings devotions on 2 Peter 1:1-7  A description on how we should live by mentioning 8 things; Faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, patience, godliness, brotherly affection and love.

Just after 9am we headed over to the Papunya Art Centre ( Papunya means kneeling in Walpiri and is the place where dot painting orginated).  We decided to come back later when the artists arrived so we could watch them paint.  So we went for a walk around the community.  We found the local church (which didn’t have a floor) and had what appeared to be an outdoor sunday school area.  There was an old hymn book just lying on the ground outside the door to the church, written in Walpiri.

The sports crew of our group headed off to play some soccer with the kids.  They had a great time.  Most of the kids were running around on the gravel bare foot.  It was so lovely to watch them all get so involved, and enjoy spending time with us and each other.

After a while I headed back to the art centre to find mum and dad who were trying to decide on a painting to buy.  The artists had arrived by now.  It was amazing to see them at work, sitting cross legged like they were born in that position, with their dogs beside them.  After spending a very long time deciding, mum and dad finally chose a painting.  It was one that was still being worked on.  It represents “water dreaming”.  

Now the community dogs….for those that are interested, the female dogs looked like they had a bad case of mastitis, like they gave birth yesterday and are extremely under nourished.  The male dogs are of course entire and look as though if you made eye contact with them they would eat you alive and allllll of them have fleas, ring worm and mange.

Apparently there is a horse that roams around the community as well.  I thought perhaps I should break it in for the locals but soon thought better of it and decided it was not a sensible option.

By 3pm the sports team had begun some clinics with the kids.  I wish I knew more about sport, seeing as when ever I was given a ball I had absolutely no idea what to do with it.  Mum on the other hand got out there and gave it a good shot (I think she should stick to her horse commitments though).   She did however enjoy it and the kids loved her…naturally!  So while they were playing soccer or AFL, (and mum had had enough) we taught some kids how to play “Captain Ball”.

All the older kids had a more intensive coaching session followed by a game.  When they finished we got everyone together for a photo.

These kids are so precious.  Although they have snot pooring out their noses and probably haven’t had a recent shower, they are beautiful.  These photos proove it!

The sports winded up at about 5:30pm and we all spent the night around the fire again.


I did not feel very bright eyed and rested this morning.  I woke up during the night to see the front passenger side door of the 4WD wide open.  I thought I could hear people walking around so I called out to mum and dad (who’s bed is right above mine sort of in the roof of the 4WD) and mum came down to have a look.  She noticed that both our handbags weren’t there, so there was an instant panic but alas they were safely beside my bed.  So what I thought was a “break and enter” turned out to be someone not shutting the door before going to bed.  Even so, it left me feeling very uneasy the rest of the night.

When I finally got up it was like we were at Thredbo not the desert.  It was freezing, windy and raining.  Luckily we got our tents and gear packed up before the real rain hit.  We had the morning devotions in the local demountable which was set up for visitors with a bathroom, a few bedrooms and a kitchen….oh and foxtel.  The devotions this morning were reflecting on a passage from Revelation 3:8.  This passage reminds us that when God opens a door, no man can shut it and when God closes a door, no man can open it.  I found this verse particularly relevant for me and took great comfort in reflecting on the power God has in my life.  In relation to our mission trip it was an encouragement to be aware of the opportunities God has provided for us in these indigenous communities and also being aware of when God might be showing us a community He doesn’t want us to be involved in.

After that, we headed over to the under cover basket ball court for one last game with the kids.  They played what looked like “tip” with a ball to me and a bit of soccer.  These kids are so gifted at sport!  It was amazing to see that with such limited facilities and training they are so talented.

A few hours later we boarded our vehicles and headed to Yuendumu.  It was another 100klms or so of dirt road.  I some how managed to sleep the majority of the way.  We made it there in just 1 1/2 hours.   Yuendumu looks similar to Papunya although much larger and not as spread out.  The rubbish still lines streets and yards and as it had been and was still raining, everything was muddy.  We camped in the Baptist mission worker’s backyard.  There was also an aboriginal ladies house (Rosie) on the same property.  She was there to welcome us and had her own fire going on her front varander.  We spent the rest of the day setting up as best we could in the rain.  If you had asked me if I was enjoying the camping experience on this particular day I would have given you a very certain NO.

Mum, dad and I took a walk (in the rain) later that afternoon to check out the town.  We came across the hospital first which of course got my attention quickly.  We went inside and a nice lady gave us a very quick tour.  There were 2 sides to it.  One side for men and one for women.  Apparently very normal for indigenous people.  It was very well set up with an emergency room (just to stabilize until the royal flying doctors service can come), dental facilities, midwifery and consult rooms.  Not exactly an overly sterile environment as there were 2 dogs in the reception area.

As night time approached, I joined the “younger adults” in some card game action. Namely spoons (aka knives if your 14 and go by the name of Kat, Tam, Kate or Torv) and emperor/scum.  Good times!!  I called it a night at about 9:30…yep my usual, even on holidays I couldn’t shake the granny syndrome.


It was freezing this morning and still raining, so we slept in (probably till 7am…a sleep in for anyone who’s last name is Bell).  This mornings devotions concentrated on the idea of if we’re going to make a difference, help, or learn more about these communities, then we need to be patient.  Allowing them to teach us about their culture and spending time being amongst them as ordinary people.  Not going into these communities as another group of missionaries.

Yuendumu also has an art gallery.  We visited it this afternoon.  Some of the dot paintings there are more modern than those in Papunya.  There was one that was about 3m x 3m and looked like a dot painting of the galaxy.  It was incredible!

This afternoon we farewelled one of the families on the trip.  They decided to leave a day earlier than they had planned as the weather had been so bad there was a chance they may not make it through in the morning.  (To get out of Yuendumu you have to travel along a very outback 4WD only kind of dirt road for about 100 or so k’s).

Later that afternoon the rest of us headed down to the undercover basket ball court and kicked some balls around hoping to encourage some kidsto come over and join us.  It worked, there were about 8 or so which was pretty good considering it was only about 10 degrees and raining.  These kids are so incredible with their sports skills.  I actually enjoyed myself playing some soccer today, i even put up a good defence as goal keeper (which apparently is a very vital role to play).

After a couple of hours playing soccer we walked back to camp to fin Rosie making damper for us from just self raising flour and water.  Her hands must be very tough cause she was touching the metal pan while it was on the fire and flipping the bread while it was cooking just with her hands.  She also had a kangaroo (Marloo in Walpiri) tail cooking on the coals.  As you can imagine i did not taste our skippy friend.  Those that did said it was quite nice though.  (more on roo cooking later)

Rosie’s dogs are never far away.  Her younger dog “Whisky” is just as loyal as my “whisky” although less like a cocker spaniel/beagle and more like a cross between a dingo and every other dog in the community.

The stars finally came out at about 8:30pm signifying the end of the rain!


There were blue skies this morning!  Still very cold but at least the sun was shining.  We headed down to the basketball courts at about 11am and had a game of soccer with about 10 kids.  On our way over i notices a sign on a community notice board saying that Vets were coming to the town soon to “perform operations ” haha I loved the wording.  I think these Vets need to come a little more often!

Later that afternoon “Cobra” (a pastor in the local Baptist church) took us inside the church.  Aboriginal artworks line the walls, each telling the bible stories.  A big stain glass window sits above the front door with each aboriginal tribe’s dreaming story.  Yuendumu is “honey ant dreaming”.  All these pictures from different tribes are set around a crucifix in the middle signifying unity as God’s family.

Some card game action came out again when the sun went down, although i preferred to watch as they were playing 500 and my card skills are almost as bad as my ball skills.  So i helped cook dinner and sat around our “barrel fire”.    The stars were perfect tonight.  So much better than when you look at them in Sydney.  The sky goes on forever out there.  The milkyway streched as far as they eye could see and the stars were the shiniest id ever seen.  Couldn’t help but hum, “How Great Thou Art”  “I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout, the universe displayed….”


This morning was a “use it up” morning.  We had 30 eggs and 2kg of bacon between 15 people.  So breakfast was restaurant quality this morning.  Devotions were run by lovely Sarah who shared about her experiences working and living in the NT.  What an amazing job she is doing!  Leaving friends, family and her home church to come all the way to central Australia to help and support those in need.  My heart was instantly softened by the emotion that poored out of her as she was sharing her experiences with us.

Later in the morning the older men (only those with grey hair and over 40) were taken by an indigenous friend to a sacred aboriginal site out of town.  This is a rare privilege and showed the enormous amount of trust and affection this friend has in our group.  (By the way he asked specifically for the grey haired over 40’s…i wasn’t kidding).

While the older men were off on their excursion, the rest of us spent the morning relaxing in the sun.  Then we thought we better head over to the courts and round up some kids to play basketball.  On our way we stopped at the shop so the guys could buy a kangaroo tail.  $13 later they had what looked like local road kill in their hands.

So they proudly took their piece of Australian wildlife back to camp and we headed to the basketball court.  Only about 3 kids turned up today so we had a half court game.  I actually had started to enjoy this sport stuff by this point.

The men returned late in the afternoon and we all started preparing the barrel fires for the night.  The fires were lit early so that there were plenty of coals for cooking roo tail and more damper.

How to cook a Kangaroo Tail

1) Take tail out of plastic wrapping (if in-fact it was even wrapped in the first place).

2)Put tail in the hot coals of the fire and wait till the fur is completely burnt (you’ll know when it’s well on it’s way cause you’ll smell hair burning)

3) Take tail out of coals and scrape burnt hair off with a sharp knife.

4)Wrap tail in foil and return to coals

5) When cooked, unwrap and cut as desired

6)Try not to vomit as you watch others eat Skippy

We had a great time tonight.  Rosie joined us and took quite a shine to another girl called Sarah on our trip.  She is from the Soloman Islands and everywhere we went the kids just adored her.  I don’t blame them, she is sweetness itself.  Rosie gave her the “skin name” “Nangala”.  Which is Rosie’s skin name too.  From then on Sarah became known as Sarah Nagala.  Quite an honour really, that Rosie considers her family.

After toasting marshmellows and a lot of smoke inhalation from the fire it was time to call it a night.


Mission trip to central Australia! Part 1

This mission trip was planned and organised by Dural Baptist church, primarily to form and strengthen relationships with indigenous communities.


And so the journey began.  Flights were good, we left Sydney in the dark, changed planes in rainy freezing Melbourne and arrived to a warm, bright, gorgeous day in Alice Springs.

First up…we went and picked up our camper 4WD.  I was just hoping for something that had heating, cooling and enough room for 3.  Well, it was yes, yes and…sort of.  The front seat was designed to fit 3 apparently.  I think they meant 2 and a third at your own risk and discomfort.  So mum and I began our 10 days of car cuddling and off we drove to the shops for supplies.  Dad decided that some red wine was needed. I don’t blame him, he was going to be with 2 women in cramped conditions with no escape for 10 days.  Upon his return from the liquor shop (which doesn’t open till 2pm daily) he told us how he had his licence scanned and items scrutinized before the purchasing was complete.  This was just the start of many differences between the NT and NSW.

After our brief visit to the Alice Springs shops we began the 3 1/2 hour drive to Kings Canyon.  Having only recently learnt about pressure sores at uni, I thought it was awesome that I got to actually experience it first hand.  I love mum very much but sharing a normal size passenger seat for over 3 hours was painful!!!

Finally we arrived at Kings Canyon and “set up camp” (hooked up the truck to power) and made ourselves somewhat at home.


After being unconscious for almost 9 hours (trying to catch up on all the sleep thats been lost over the past few months) I woke up in my tiny hard wooden bed ready to face the day.  I wasn’t quite expecting the showers to be less like a shower more like a drizzle but nevertheless, feeling warm again we hit the road bound for an early morning hike through Kings Canyon.  It was a beautiful morning, not a cloud in the sky and the most crispy clean air you can possibly imagine.  The hike started with a very steep incline which made it very easy to take photos as every few steps you took you needed a rest.  After much angst on my part wondering whether my father would make it to the top before having a heart attack, we made it!!

Having NEVER listened in geography at school (Kate Banks you know what i mean) i didn’t learn anything about places, rocks  or the like.  Naturally I’ve learnt more in the past 24 hours about geology and geography than i ever did at school.  Did you know what makes the rocks red?….It’s all the iron in them!  If you already knew that…good for you…if not Woo Hoo I just taught you something!

The scenery was amazing, rocks in all different shapes and sizes, valleys miles deep and hidden waterholes that make you want to go swimming.  If you don’t already believe in God then take a walk through the canyon…a perfect example of perfect creation!

After that amazing 3 hour 6klm trek, we headed to Uluru.  On our way along the Lassiter Highway we came across this very strange tree….

…full of undies!  Another difference between NSW and the NT.  We don’t tend to hang undies on random trees.

Then to our amazement, after feeling quite disappointed about having not seen any wildlife (apart from birds) out of the corner of our eyes we spotted a dingo…ALIVE (or maybe not for long) walking beside the road.

This was just the start of a very long day.  We drove straight from Kings Canyon to Uluru and the Olgas.  2 1/2 hours later we made it to the Olgas. They are incredible.  Huge, smooth and magnificent. I almost had my first non animal nursing experience in the car park at the Olgas.  An elderly man had fallen over and his leg was dripping blood.  His poor wife had blood all over her hands and looked as though she hadn’t a clue about what to do.  Mum and I offered our assistance and made some first aid suggestions but he was rather determined that he did not want help.  You can’t help those who don’t want to be helped.

So after admiring the magnificent red boulders in front of us, we drove back to “the rock” and settled in to watch the sunset.  It just so happened to be the best sunset ever.  We watched the rock change from brown to red to orange while the sky changed from blue to pink to purple.  Before we knew it the sky was black and littered with stars, no rock to be seen!

As we were watching this glorious sunset, a herd of camels trotted across the plain in front of us!

The rest of our night was spent watching a partial eclipse and playing continuous rummy (aka “may I”).


Day 3 started out bitterly cold.  I was so surprised by how cold it was in central Australia.  I was expecting it to be mid 20’s the majority of the time.  We spent the night at Yulara village campsite.  Packed up by 7:30am, we were able to witness the last few moments of the sunrise over Uluru, this time while we were driving around it.  Most of the rock is roped off but we found a section where we could walk right up and touch it.  After spending a few more minutes admiring this awesome creation we began the 4 hour drive back to Alice Springs.

There were a few funny moments that occured on this long and boring drive.  Dad spotted a tower and i asked ” is that the mobile phone reception tower”?  To which he replied “No I think its an old microwave tower”.  Yep, thence grew my long blonde hair in preparation for my extremely blonde moment where I asked “is that what makes peoples microwaves work?” Moving on…..

We stopped at Henbury on the way to Alice.  A place where a big meteorite fell hundreds of years ago.  As you can probably tell, I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about a non existent hole in the ground.  It was a pretty area though so mum and I made the most of it.

We made it to Alice in the afternoon and met up with the rest of the mission trip crew from church.  The “youth” stayed up and played cards (King Mau) till we couldn’t stand the “no real rules” anymore.  Then…I hit the hay, or should i say, hit the wooden skinny mattress.


The showers at this campsite (Macdonnel Ranges Caravan Park) are so much better than the showers at the previous 2 places that I thought they were worth mentioning.  The 20 of us were packed and on the road to Papunya by 8:30am.  Our convoy consisted of 5  4WD’s.  Each had a two way radio so we could be warned of dangers on the road ahead.  Very outback and awesome!  First stop was Ormiston Gorge which is 130klm west of Alice.  The scenery was like something out of an outback movie.

Before we knew it we were on the road again.  No stopping till we hit Papunya.  80klms of dirt road later, we were there.  With plenty of close calls along the way. The 4WD camper is built like a brick and doesn’t soften the blow of sudden ditches driven through at 100 klm/h.

Finally we made it safely to Papunya.  It was like nothing I’d ever seen before.  Rubbish lines the streets and yards, each house is caged in and there are dogs everywhere.

Soon enough someone showed up and showed us where we could camp.  No sooner had we parked than some indigenous kids came over and started kicking around some balls with us, calling us “friend”.   They wanted to help us with anything they could, hammering in tent pegs, blowing up lilo’s and setting up tents.  All of a sudden there were about 15 of them wanting to play and watch us set up camp.  They are all so full of energy, friendly and gorgeous.

We had a little visit from the local police, just to make sure everything was ok.  He told us that the local court was to come to the community soon wih about 30 cases…in a town with a population of only 300 (majority being kids).

The first AFL clinic was held that afternoon.  About 20 or so indigenous kids turned up and the afternoon was spent encouraging them to interact with each other and us as well as getting to know some of their names and just being around the community itself.  We kept going till about 6pm (its light till 7pm).  We got a decent fire going so the men could cook (or sacrifice as it turns out) dinner.  They didn’t burn it too much thank goodness and we enjoyed the rest of the night by the fire before turning in for the night to our 4WD’s, trailers, tents or swags.

PART 2   coming soon!!

Hunter Valley Loveliness

If you have ever been to the Hunter Valley NSW, you will know what i’m talking about.  There is no better place for “country” photos (except for Papa’s).  This particular trip was organised by another one of my closest friends (Lesley) and myself for our darling mothers.  Fiona (my mum) and Wendy (Lesley’s mum aka my second mum) took Lesley and I to Melbourne on a surprise holiday 12 months earlier and we thought it would be nice to return the favour.

Our Hunter Valley trip was planned and booked by May and we did our very best to keep it hush hush till August.  Lesley and I had an enormous amount of fun teasing our mums about where we might be going right up until the morning we left.  The time finally came to tell them where we were going.  They were so excited. Nothing like a country weekend away with wine and cheese to get the ladies excited!  There was another surprise though.  We told them we had booked a horse drawn tour of the wineries for the following day.  It was official…favourite daughters!!

And so we spent the morning driving up, you can imagine 4 ladies in a car on a road trip = non stop talking!  We arrived at the Crowne Plaza late in the morning and left our bags in our luxurious apartment.  Lesley and I took the room with a double bed (It was as if we were 10 years old having a slumber party.)

Off we went on what was my very first winery tour.  First stop “Capercaile”.  As expected (from trying many different wines in the one place) I loved any wine that was sickly sweet.  Mum took it upon herself to start educating me in the “wine language”.  She kept using words like “woody” “fruity” and “taste it in the back of your mouth”.  Lesley and I decided at that point to step outside and have some fun of our own…as you can see.

With a few more wineries crossed off the list, we went for a leisurely drive and there was a photo opportunity at every corner. Rolling hills, gentle paddocks and fences….yes fences, they make for awesome photos!

After a lovely dinner (my first full glass of wine) and a dvd back in the apartment we called it a day.  The next morning we headed off to Pokolbin where we begun our horse drawn winery tour.  Lesley and Wendy had been around horses their entire lives and my mum is just new to “the horse scene” but nevertheless none of us had been driven by 2 gorgeous Clydesdales in the Hunter Valley before.  It was magical. I sat up the front with the driver at the start just aching to grab the reigns and take the horses for a spin.  Feeling it wouldn’t be appropriate to do so I maintained my self control and decided to play photographer instead.And so the weekend came to an end.  Our beautiful mums enjoyed themselves and their daughters just loved spending time with them! Girls weekend away….TICK!!!

I love my mother as the trees love water and sunshine – she helps me grow, prosper, and reach great heights.  ~Terri Guillemets

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.  ~Washington Irving


I love taking photos of chains. Strange i know but i could spend an entire day just photographing chains.  Where you ask?…..Papa’s farm of course!

“Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“If you’re going to hold someone down you’re going to have to hold on by the other end of the chain. You are confined by your own repression.” Toni Morrison

“Love is a chain of love as nature is a chain of life.” Truman Capote“

“My chains are gone, I’ve been set free. My God my Saviour has ransomed me and like a flood His mercy reigns. Unending love, Amazing grace.” Chris Tomlin

Love of my life…..for now!

This is a story that never gets old to me. I love hearing it, i love telling it and i pretty much love everything about it.  Its the story of my pony.

My horse’s feet are as swift as rolling thunder
He carries me away from all my fears
And when the world threatens to fall asunder
His mane is there to wipe away my tears.
~Bonnie Lewis

In 2004 a good friend (Jacki) and i bought a foal each.  Jacki chose a palomino/grey welsh b colt from Tatura, NSW that took our breath away with his movement.  His name…. “Kylandee William”.  I chose a buckskin welsh b filly who caught my eye floating across a country paddock in Bathurst NSW.  Her name… “Cherrington Saffron”.   I agisted Saffron at Jacki’s property as i don’t live on acerage.   As soon as the foals arrived they were off to several shows and with much success.  When they were about 14 months old we let them spend the day together, of course thinking that they were still too young to conceive and would benefit from some socializing.  About 9 months later i was being told by many friends and judges that Saffron was looking obese and i should consider putting her on a diet.  So i did!  We reduced her feed and hit the round yard.   A few weeks later at a local show people stopped telling me she was obese and started telling me shes pregnant.  The judge even told me “the broodmare class is later”.  This seemed like an outrageous claim to me at the time as i couldn’t even remember the foals had been out together and i assumed Saffron was far too young.  The very next day i made an ultrasound appointment at an equine vet clinic.  Off i went in the morning convinced i was wasting time and money.  Before i knew it, the vet was telling me, “oh she won’t need an ultrasound, you probably have about 6 weeks left”.  I said “till what?”  Needless to say Saffron was indeed pregnant and i would have 2 ponies to take care of in a matter of weeks.

So my show pony became a broodmare overnight.  Off came the rugs, in came the prenatal vitamins and regular “stethescope sessions”.  I was so excited i took a stethescope out twice a day and listened to her tummy.  Of course there were concerns.  What would the foal look like?  Would it be ok? She had been on a diet and in full work up until now.  What colour would the foal be?  Both parents were dilutes. Would i get a double dilute foal? All these questions were answered 7 weeks later.  I had a phone call from Jacki to say there was a foal in the paddock.

It was a little colt. He was quickly named “Werribell Peek A Boo” (Werribell was the name of my grandfathers farm and Peek A Boo because he was a surprise)  His paddock name…TOBY!  I will never forget the first time i saw him.  Tiny, skinny and absolutely divine!  As he grew his coat changed numerous times, so it took a while to see what colour he was going to be. He went from chestnut to buckskin to black to bay.  When it came time to wean i had made the decision to sell Saffron.  2 ponies was going to be too much so i made the heart breaking decision to sell her.  I was blessed to find a new owner very quickly and she now lives in Melbourne as a broodmare for a very successful stud.

Toby has been shown since he was 8 weeks old.  We’ve had some ups and downs (especially before he was gelded) and he has well and truly proved himself in the past 12 months.  It was a dream of mine to get a blue ribbon at Sydney Royal Easter Show.  In 2009 Toby blew me away by winning his Welsh Gelding class. It was the happiest moment together so far!He has an adorable temperament. He’s cheeky, loves to play, loves to chew things, carry things and can never have enough attention.  He’s the star attraction on his street with neighbours bringing him carrots DAILY!

He can be incredibly annoying, frustrating and naughty but i figure it keeps him from being boring.  I was incredibly blessed with this “accident” and i wouldn’t change any of it. I love everything about my pony. He’s a delight to show and a treasure to own.

photo by Tracey Bavinton

The love of a friend!

” A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.” (Arabian Proverb)

Even the coldest of hearts desires friendship and companionship. A friend that will love you unconditionally, a friend that will hear and not just listen, a friend that will know what your trying to say even when you can’t say it and know when its just a hug you need. A friend that knows when your lonely and when you need space, a friend that stays close when you don’t have the same things in common anymore, a friend who makes you feel included even if your not and a friend who will stick by you no matter what.

I am blessed to have friends that fit this description. For this post however i will describe one. Her name is Kate. I met this very precious friend in year 7 of high school. She is sweetness itself.  Always ready to listen with an open heart and mind. It wouldn’t matter what i confessed to Kate, she would love me anyway. How lucky am i?  She is full of integrity, strength, generosity and of course beauty.  I was privileged enough to be one of her bridesmaids at her wedding late last year.  This beautiful friend walked down the aisle gracefully by her dads side to the sound of Pachelbells Canon.  As Kate was always open to try new things, in 1998 my twin sister and i taught her how to play this beautiful piece of music on the violin.  She then proceeded to play it with us infront of the entire school less than 2 weeks after learning the 8 important notes. What a friend!!

Kate is always there.  When grandparents pass away, Kate is there.  When relationships break down, Kate is there.  When time are tough, Kate is there.  When you just need someone to listen, Kate is there.

Love you darling girl xoxox

Happiness on a farm!

For those that don’t already know, i am blessed with the most loving of grandfathers.  David Bruce Bell aka “Papa” is the kindest, sweetest, most precious man i know and i absolutely love him with all of my heart.  Papa lives on 10 luscious acres in a valley that makes you feel miles away from the hustle and bustle of suburbia.  With its paddocks, creeks, timbers, flowers and farm equipment it makes for an ideal photography location.  You can just about point the camera in any direction and capture happiness!

“We forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognising and appreciating what we do have.” Frederick Keonig


There’s nothing quite like the colours of autumn. When the leaves begin to change and fall, and the bulbs begin to flower. I love the smell of autumn.  Especially the smoke from peoples chimneys.  The summer loveliness of extended daylight hours has disappeared and the challenge of removing ones self from the bed in the morning becomes a horrid task. However, there can be an enormous amount of JOY to be found in this dazzling season.  These photos were taken on my beloved Papa’s farm, my most favourite place in the world.  It is a haven of peace and happiness and trickles with love in every corner. I hope these photos do it justice.