Ramsgate, Australia

In 1969, I enrolled in the “Art Teachers Conversion Course”. It was my first experience of formal art lessons. Soon other...

Helen's Cottage - Careful what you wish for. I like happy endings.

In 1979 and 1980, I was one of the broadcasters of the brand spanking new SBS 2EA, Radio program, "_in the Dutch Language_! " (That last bit, in the pre-recorded intro to the program always made Dutch, sound so special! )

I had volunteered to interview immigrants from the Netherlands, on their lives in Australia. I briefly had a house in Nambucca Heads, and during the school holidays, set out to find Helen, in her cottage, in Dorrigo North.

If I remember correctly (Could easily be wrong.), Helen had been one of the two ladies, in the Dutch community, in Sydney, who had led a choir. This had been her sea-change. (Just like I’d hoped to make Nambucca Heads mine.)

Helen had found the ideal life-style. She was artistic and she created things. She had a spinning wheel and from the wool that she obtained from neighbours, she spun the threads for her creations.
In our interview she spoke glowingly about the inspiration that she absorbed from the glorious dawns and the sun setting behind the mountains, observed, daily, from her cottage.
She exhibited and sold her works, in Dorrigo.
She was happy.

A year or so back, in one of the Dutch-Australian Clubs, here, in Sydney, I spoke to the other lady who used to be the force behind the other Dutch choir.
I asked about Helen.
Helen was back in Holland.
She’s happy there, I was assured.
But that makes me sad.
I wanted Helen to live in Dorrigo till the end of her days, spinning and creating and reflecting the colours and surroundings of the Dorrigo Montains.

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  • Martin Derksema
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