Shirley Harring

writer, farmer advocate, madwoman

Where I am from

September 14, 2015


I am from dressmaker’s thimbles, from Metters’ gas stoves and days of endless sunshine. From cicadas tick-tocking through  hot, dry heat. I am from the old red brick house built by my grandfather, yellow sand and bore water, the mulberry tree that stained our fingers blue.

I am from the warm eggs fresh from the chook pen, the lupins in the park, the cat who had kittens under my bed when I was just 10. I am from Nanna Duff’s Christmas lunches and GG’s plastic cockroaches, from Joan and Ray and Min and Bert.

I am from the bossy, the stubborn and the scared. The unpredictable, predictably.

From the mother who said “don’t iron your hair” and “eat what is on your plate” and “if you don’t, I will send it to the starving children of Biafra.

I am from late night parties, guitar playing songsters, adult games through children’s eyes.

I am from Friday night Baptist Church groups, Congregational Sunday services, Catholic grandparents, and trying to find my own beliefs through mixed teachings, when church was the place to go on Sunday mornings because the parents were unable to rise before 11am.

I’m from Perth, from Fremantle, from the Round House Gaol, from pavlova, lemon butter, from fresh apricot jam spread on the white bread delivered by the baker to my grandmother. I am from the West, long white beaches, moonlight swims, quokkas. I am from convict stock and free settlers both.

From the Mother who wept for her lost boys, the brother who knew not of the lost boys, and the boys who never knew they had a sister. I am an only child that isn’t. From nowhere, other than a birthplace listed on on paper, a jumble of memories and a broken bloodline. I am from secrets, whispers, photos locked away in dark cupboards in yellowing albums with pages grown sticky with age.


  1. I have only have a quick minute to thank you for calling by but also to say how lovely this is.

    So many shared memories of things growing up for Aussies but also things that are uniquely yours.

    I will come back to read you properly.

  2. Wow- what can I say- just marvellous. I too have similar memories of my childhood- removed from parents incapable of carrying for their 8 children- 4 years in children’s home- fostered out- eventually adopted into a wonderful family. Life now, was more of the “normal type”.
    Enjoyed my school life & went to work after year 11- loved it . Met a lovely English guy, married & three children – now running our own business for 38 years, travel internationally often & I have a wonderful life!!

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