In the 1970s I was involved in the early years of the Australian film renaissance when a radically new sense of national identity was being forged. As Script Supervisor on feature films and television series I worked with actors, directors and crew members creating stories that stimulated fresh insights into our relationship with country, landscape and culture. Researching and filming documentaries gave me an appreciation for how real life stories provide insight into the complex nature of humanity and ecology, and the way they interact.
My writing has been inspired by exceptional people who devoted themselves to protecting our natural heritage and through their activism, writing and photography, have educated Australians about its immense significance.
I first discovered Marie Byles when travelling through northern India visiting the sites where Buddha lived and taught. While absorbing the energy that still existed in those sites after 2500 years my experience was enhanced by reading Marie’s book Footprints of Gautama Buddha. Back in Sydney I learnt of an open day at her home that she had gifted to the National Trust before she died in 1979. The property, named ‘Ahimsa’ for Gandhi’s principle of non-violence, represents much about the woman who was an influential environmentalist and one of the founders of the Australian outdoor community. I was impressed to learn that she was also the first female solicitor to practise in New South Wales in 1924. Over the years my extensive research provided me with an education in the history of feminism and women’s rights in law, the conservation movement in New South Wales, and the introduction of Buddha’s teachings into the West.
In 2003 I gained a Bachelor of Adult Education (Community) majoring in Communication, University of Technology, Sydney. As Training Coordinator for a community organisation I facilitated workshops in communication skills and conflict resolution training school children in the skills of peer mediation. It was greatly satisfying to see the development of their confidence in resolving interpersonal conflicts.
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