No scurvy on ships of the desert

“At Bilbarka on the Darling, Burke and his second-in-command, Landells, argued after Burke decided to dump the 60 gallons (≈270 litres) of rum that Landells had brought to feed to the camels in the belief that it prevented scurvy.” (Context)


Backyard roo


This lone male kangaroo has been hanging out in my parents’ garden and places nearby. I took the pic while he was focused on eating. When I tried to get a better shot he saw me and looked like he might hop off, so rather than bother him further I made do with this one.


Arts Open and Contact

Back in Oz again! I will be exhibiting at Arts Open in Castlemaine, Victoria, on March 12-20. The main dates are 12-14 and 19-20, but the Old Gaol, where my stuff will be, will also be open during the week. I’ll have a cell of my own and will be in it as much as possible. Over 100 artists, many open studios and lots of events! See the program online for details.

After that I’ll be going up to Brisbane for Contact 2016, which is this year’s Natcon (Australian National Speculative Fiction Convention). You’ll be able to find me and my work there in the marketplace on 26-27 March. And then I’ll be coming back to Victoria and putting me feet up 🙂


William James Broadhurst

Australian photographer William James Broadhurst, found on Booooooom.com.

His photos of suburbia and country towns capture the mood I often feel in those places. I can’t put a name to it. It’s lonely but homely. The soul can rest there, but what is it resting on?

I came across this quote recently, and I think it suits:

The function of the imagination is not to make strange things settled, so much as to make settled things strange.

G. K. Chesterton

I think there’s a feeling of strangeness that can only arise in relation to the familiar and the homely, though exactly what prompts it I don’t know. Maybe it’s related to the sense of time passing, the knowledge that the familiar will change into the unfamiliar. If something is already unfamiliar, that sense of pathos-inflected unease won’t arise. Or maybe it’s something else. One of those elusive shades of emotion, tricky to pin down.




I love this cover for The Victorian Railways Magazine, November 1925, by F. (Frank) Hedley Sanders (b. 1902). If my writing is sometimes steampunkish, I need look no further for explanation than my upbringing as the daughter of a steam railways fanatic…

I can’t find much about Sanders online. He seems to have been best known for his illustrations for Home Beautiful, having been described by writer Peter Cuffley as “the man who captured, with pencil, pen and brush, the Australian ideals of house and home” (though he was American-trained).

The electric train with its calm and cosy lighted windows has the higher ground, but the steam engine — that gutsy, barbarian, oh-so-nearly-alive edifice of moving parts — thunders forth from Pluto’s realm puffing, “There can be only one!!”




I wish I could have got a photo of this: two young fairywrens sitting on fence wire in cold weather, one with its wing around the other. Their father was hopping around, looking anxious — you could hear him saying “Get off that bloody fence and come inside where it’s warm!” — and indeed they all flew back to the nest.



I’m back after a great time at Conflux, the Canberra speculative fiction convention. I haven’t been to many conventions, and this was my first small one — quite a contrast from Loncon! It was friendly and relaxed and there was plenty of opportunity to chat to people.

My big news is that “Under Construction”, the sculpture of the little minotaur building a maze, won the E.G. Harvey Award for Australian Speculative Fiction Art, sponsored by the Harvey Australia Foundation. The award came with a beautiful glass trophy (pic below). I’d like to thank the foundation for its generosity, the judges of the award, and the organisers of the convention for all their great efforts!!



Another utterly unexpected outcome of the convention was that I sold all the pieces I exhibited. More thanks to all the people who bought something or who just liked the work. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by the positive response to the art I’ve made so far, and in consequence of being overwhelmed am also feeling inarticulate, but basically I’m happy, grateful, and hopeful for the future!

ETA: It seems to be the little fella’s lucky week. He just won equal 2nd prize at the Lot 19 Spring Sculpture Prize in Castlemaine, Vic. Lot 19 is a wonderful art space with studios currently hosting 26 artists, and as well as the Lot 19 prize there are several prizes donated by sponsors. I’m a bit knocked over as it was an excellent show and I didn’t really rate myself with a chance. The winning piece was the delicate, tender abstract work “New Life Hanging in the Balance” by Domenica Wallace, and Jane Creenaune won the other second prize with her bronze “Semaphore III”.