The Miners’ Garden is a story that came to me in 2014. It is inspired by the landscapes of the copper mining town of Burra and the Southern Flinders areas of South Australia. I have always been drawn to the experience of women in colonial Australia and feel that many stories still need to be told. I am very grateful to Island for publishing it and giving the voice of a young girl called Sugar a broader audience.
As a writer, poet, and in more recent years, a dedicated photographer, I have been fortunate enough to spend much of my life in the Southern Flinders Ranges of South Australia which is rich in wildlife especially birds.
It is one of my great joys (whenever I can) to observe the indigenous birdlife, to learn about their needs and their behaviours across the seasons, how they interact with their own kind, other species and the plant life of the Flinders.
When the weather warms, the beautiful Rainbow Bee Eaters arrive from the north to make their nests. They are extraordinary fliers capable of catching insects such as dragonflies on the wing. These birds are attracted to areas that have clean water where insects (an important food supply) can breed, and trees that can provide resting and launch sites for their flights to feed. These birds often seem attracted to the high bare branches that offer a good view of the surroundings.
I hope you enjoy my photo.
In 2013, I completed my Ph.D at Flinders University. My subject was Australian writer Dorothy Hewett whose complex imaginative world intrigued me for all the years of my research. The first pages of her autobiography Wild Card contain some of the most beautiful and evocative images of the Australian farming landscape I have ever read. One of my favourite Australian poems will always be Hewett’s Summer. It begins: This summer I will go back / to the country of sunburnt children / the lost country at the end of the world / where two oceans meet.
MY INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL LEUNIG
For the past 10 years, I have hosted the Late Afternoons program in South Australia for ABC Radio. During my media career, (over 3 decades!), I have interviewed some extraordinary creative minds – writers, dancers, singers, actors, painters and musicians. Many of them are household names, but I will always remember this interview. It was broadcast nationally a few years ago on ABC Radio. The subject was the meaning of human suffering, creativity and redemption, and my guest was cartoonist and philosopher MICHAEL LEUNIG: Annette Marner interviewing Michael Leunig