Earlier this year Chloe Vellinga from the Sunday Times asked me to identify some photos that I love. I enjoyed thinking about which photos have a special significance. Here are a couple of my favourites and why they mean so much to me.
I love football. I remember going every weekend with Dad and my uncle to watch Claremont play. As the years progressed, I became a West Coast Eagles supporter. When my boys started playing football, we joined as “In the Wings” members. Eleven years later, this year, we are finally fully-fledged members and have four seats together. It is fantastic, and the wait was worth it.
I have always had dogs so when my first dog died ten years ago we gave my oldest son Tom a Golden Retriever, Max, as a birthday present. We got our chocolate Labrador Milo a couple of years later when Neil and I blended our family with six kids. My youngest son Lachie turned 15 this year, and the black Labrador Winston was his birthday present. The dogs are part of our large family both at home and at work. They are loved so much and come with the bonus of being wonderful stress relievers, particularly after a tough day.
This photo was taken on my Dad’s birthday. My sisters and I decided to go out just with Mum and Dad – it was the first time that we had gone out for lunch without our partners and children for decades. We had an absolute blast. I asked the waitress to take this photo. I am glad I did because a few months later Dad was diagnosed with terminal, inoperable cancer and Mum was unwell. This photo is a great memory for us all.
Painting of Piccadilly Circus
About four weeks after Dad was diagnosed with cancer, Mum and Dad decided they would like to see England for the last time. My sisters and I decided that we would surprise them, so we turned up in London. We had a ball. Piccadilly Circus has always been a memorable place for us as a family, and we make sure to visit it every time we go. I loved this painting when I saw it in a gallery there. Unbeknown to me, Mum and Dad then bought it for me for my 50th birthday the following year. It reminds me of this special trip and all the wonderful times I have had in London while living there and visiting.
Neil and I
This was taken 30 years ago at Neil’s 25th birthday in London. Neil and I met when I was about 19 when we were both were studying architecture at different universities, and I was dating his friend. After graduating, we both moved to London in search of work. We married different people, each went our separate ways and had families of our own. I divorced many years later, and some years later he divorced. We caught up at an Institute function, fell back in love and have been together for a decade this year.
My children are the most important people in my life. When I was giving birth to my youngest child Lachie, my three older children Tom and twins Sam and Kate were in an art class. Kate painted this for me – it is a painting of me pushing the pram with a very little baby in it. Above are three birds hovering over me, representing Kate and her two brothers because they were so excited to be welcoming another sibling. At the same art class, they painted those cups, and they have followed me to every office desk. The painting, the cups and the photo remind me, even when I am exhausted, or they are annoying, that they are special. They are the driver of everything I do.
Dad’s Old Architecture Tools
Dad collected these old tools. After he died, they were shared with my sisters and I. They sit displayed in my office, just as they were in his office. I love their texture and often wonder about their history. They also show just how far we have come in construction and architecture. They are beautiful.
Originally published Sunday Times, June 18, 2017
Images: Chloe Vellinga and my own collection.
View Sunday Times Article.