Life Stories

Pictured with my Mum and Daughter.


I am working on a memoir.

I am pleased to say that it is progressing, at last, due to the invaluable feedback from beta readers on the latest draft.

Right now I am writing a detailed outline and selecting poetry to open the chapters.

It is so much fun to gather all the memories together ready to select the ones I think readers will gain or be the most moved by reading.  My goal is to select around 25 scenes from this outline to build the memoir.

Looking at the nearly 7000 word outline I am beginning to realise I might have to write two books or a book and several articles or stories.

Some of the pieces here are first drafts, fragments, memory flashbacks, and meditations.

I use them as a resource for constructing longer pieces that may be included in the memoirs or creative non-fiction articles.  Some of them have been blogged at ABC Open 500 words and other places too.

I ask only that readers respect my copyright and if they feel moved leave genuine and sincere feedback.

June Perkins  24/07/2015


Remembering my Father in Law

Memories of Howard Perkins, from Daughter in Law  June Perkins

Howard Perkins pictured with his dear wife Helen, and my three children (his grandkids from Queensland).

15th February 2021

The very first time I met Howard Perkins, after visiting the Perkins’s house after a teaching service trip with his son David, he said, ‘You know he’s a good catch,’ about David, with David standing there and blushing, much to his embarrassment.  His Dad was keen for him to be married and figured I might be the one.

At the time David and I were friends, only having just met, but a few days later David knew we would be married.  His Dad had picked it before he did though.

We lived with Helen and Howard for two years in Melbourne about one year after we married having moved from Tasmania my childhood home.  During which time several other people lived with them also including their daughter, Tahirih.  Howard opened their home to anyone in need beyond just his biological family.  Both Howard and Helen loved their children dearly and wanted to see them spiritually happy and well educated and they were devoted Baha’is.  David suffered some major health issues in the years before I met him and his family had thought they were going to lose him. Thankfully he survived and thrived.

Although Howard, never had a degree himself, and used to joke, ‘I could ride through a uni with a thermometer and measure the degrees’, he had an university level knowledge of coins.  And it was through coins that he found out about the Baha’i Faith through his friend Alan Burnell, also a coin dealer.  Howard was the only family member other than David able to attend my university graduation from Melbourne University and it was special to have him share that day with David and I. Later he would proudly attend David’s PhD graduation.

There are so many legendary stories about Howard that David likes to tell to the children and me,  and youth groups and close friends which in time they will hopefully all be recorded, but there were also many special moments just for family.

We visited Helen and Howard a number of times in Melbourne over the years, but it became more challenging as we moved farther and farther away.  Following in Howard and Helen’s inspiring footsteps we decided to home front pioneer, first to Armidale and later for nearly a decade to Far North Queensland.  Howard and Helen spent many years in Tonga, and stories of this time are also legendary to the Perkins family. 

A special time was just after Sandon was born, Poppy and the whole Perkins family (David’s brother sister their kids and friend who became like family Eva) came to visit us in Tuross Head.  All the more special because such total family gatherings would become rarer and rarer over the years.

One of the most special times was a visit Poppy Perkins made on his own to see his grand kids when we lived in Feluga, just outside of Tully.  He played cricket and went fishing and on bush walks with the family.  He said he had been a bit busy to do some of these things with David when he was a small boy and in a way was making up for lost time in childhood. 

We also made it to Howard and Helen’s surprise 50th wedding anniversary celebration in Melbourne, which was a super special time for the whole family and none of us will ever forget the look on their faces when they arrived to a hall full of friends and family to celebrate their accomplishment.

By the time we lived closer to Melbourne relatively speaking (Brisbane), Poppy was no longer well enough to travel very far, so we made one family visit in the last three years, and also David and his grandson Ben were able to make a special visit about a year ago.

Although physically distant, Poppy made sure to ring, and was keen to sometimes help us out when we didn’t have much in the way of finances whilst we were studying and raising our young family.  And this was the way of Howard Perkins, he helped everyone, and gave much of what he had away.

Poppy Perkins, also was a very caring in law, who in many instances assisted my parents when they needed it.  My Mum said she will never ever forget his kind and accepting nature to always see the potential for the best in everyone, a quality she also shares. My Dad also had immense respect for him as well.

Howard with his son David and David’s kids. Poppy visiting Far North Queensland..

For Edward

Ripple Poetry

June pictured with Noel and Edward Broomhall, 2010

Dear childhood art teacher, family friend,

Comforter to many, artist, servant of humanity, believer in the oneness of humanity and unity in diversity.

Remembering your house full of paper and art materials, a rocking horse, and more wonders, of ideas, people, and creative souls, wonderful books, comics, art, photographs and portraits.

Inspirer of my life long appreciation of art.

You and Noel made a place to create, imagine and connect, with many meetings of people from all over the world, including my parents.

Wonderful Broomhall children, forever in my heart, a mini united nations.

Much love to Noel and the children.

And as for Edward M J Broomhall I am sure he is dancing and smiling down at us all in the next world and reunited with old friends, Eve and Dagmar, Ron, my brother Bill, Justin and many more !


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Old Photographs

Ripple Poetry

Every now and then photographs of my life that I have never seen before surface.

This one is of my highschool year 10 formal.

Elena, Richard, me, someone else I can’t remember her name, Leif, Caleb are in this row.

I remember my friend Justin said, let’s go as friends, and his Dad drove us both there.  He brought me a corsage.

I always thought of him like a brother.

Justin  was his name. At first it seems he is not in this picture.

Actually he is behind me.

Justin passed away at nineteen.  He drowned at a place called the Gorge.

I heard this news on the radio.

The dress I am wearing looks white, but it is actually lemon.

The heel on my shoes broke dancing that night.

They were happy times, and also challenging times.

Justin was there for me at many special times.

He treated me…

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Daily reflection 1

Time to write more memories – here are daily reflections. We are the midst of world wide pandemic, but also poverty continues, and strange events happen like people obsessed with doughnuts and disappearances in rivers…

Ripple Poetry


People gather for doughnut discount
the ordinary becomes extraordinary
Why lines too long and crowded for safety?

A mother places her child in a boat
before she disappears in the river
a mystery
Perhaps she saves him before herself?

Selfless and selfish
side by side.
Where is the owl to sort them?

The world swirls pandemics
and poverty
side by side warning song
of the owl
calling for dialogue.
Questions gather like feathers.

Where is the owl?
Can humanity gather the souls to
Give them wings?


Responsive reflections, written in response to daily events.

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Far North Friends

It was a real treat to catch up with our friend Sally Moroney, an artist from Far North Queensland.

We have now known her about twelve years.

She makes beautiful necklaces and presented Sheridan with one of her creations (as Sheridan had taken a liking to one of mine and wanted one of her own).

We went to see the Margaret Olley, A Generous Life Exhibition on the second day of its opening.

It is interesting to visit an Exhibition with artists.  Both Sheridan my daughter, and Sally, who are both artists were such an inspiration to visit the space with.

Sheridan shared about volunteering for the Brisbane Street Art Festival.

I especially loved the images of Indigenous people with a predominance of the colour orange in them.

I always think of Sally and her hideaway studio tucked away near the rainforest, surrounded by creative friends and mentoring young artists and basket makers.

We would sometimes meet for lunch, especially with friends, like Christine, Pam, Kay and Marcia. I sent greetings to them all via Sally.

Some friends you just always have deep conversations with about, the world, time, people, art and more.  And Sally is a treasure. She spent the day helping us clean our home when we were about to move from Murray Upper to Brisbane.

Some friends stand the test of time, and we look forward to catching up with Sally in person when we can.

Tripod, Suzie, David and me: Video Postcard making

Writing and photography are the two things I am most comfortable with when it comes to art and creative expression. But recently I realised it’s really time to continue to hone my video making skills and move out of the comfort zone.

To help me on my quest I called Suzie Cray, the new Cairns based ABC Open producer, who eagerly agreed to come and assist.

In preparation I wrote three short scripts, charged up my camera batteries, and packed it along with my tripod and some water.

Although I’ve made videos before, I am keen to learn from people further along in the process and Suzie has tonnes of experience she loves to share with others.

When I met with her, up at our local store (featured in the video) we selected the best shoot in a day script and listed some shots we could take to help tell the story and off we went.

I had hoped to have the whole family involved but as is usual with family, the best laid plans don’t always come to fruition and it was David, my hubby, who was inspired to tag along and play a cameo role in the resulting video although our children had fun watching me grapple with editing later.

One of the things I learnt from Suzie was to be flexible with the script and go with the flow of events when collecting my shots.

We found a bee on a flower, and later I spotted a butterfly, a tourist taking photographs of the falls, and some lovely ripples in the water.

These found their way into the video postcard.

Suzie did some camera coaching, encouraging me to play with the focus and do some hand held work changing my depth of field. The tripod proved to be a challenge throughout the day and I realised it was just too stiff for some kinds of shots. I worked on some fruitful hand-held panning.

By the end of the day me and my tripod were better buddies and now we can attempt more together!

Suzie, David and I had a lunch break and then we edited my script and Suzie coached me on editing my video. I recorded the narration of the script onto our tablet. Suzie, who had been such a big inspiration throughout the day, had to return to Cairns, and I continued editing, with a short break for dinner.

I didn’t finish the video that day, but went out to collect more interesting shots over the next few days, and worked on polishing the edit of the postcard. I created a subtle soundscape, and had to combine two of the video programs I have access to at home to do what I wanted to, but I was so happy when it was finished. I re-recorded my script.

The first person to see this postcard was Suzie, who spotted a couple of things I missed in my edits, which I’ve hopefully fixed!

What now?

Me and my tripod although friends, might need another buddy, and future video projects beckon. I’m about to assist a dancer create some short videos for her new website, and am looking forward to putting my old skills and new skills from the day with Suzie to work.

First published ABC Open, August 2013. Many of the links to ABC Open within these posts may well be lost over time, and any referring to ABC Open additional links will not work after June 30th.  I have saved my favourite contributions to ABC Open now and you should find most on this blog. However some vimeo links to ABC Open may also soon be lost as well, unless they are my personal vimeo. Those ones are still around for now.

Our Story – Your Story: Bouncing Back from Disaster

Speaking of the experience of contributing to ABC Open’s Aftermath at the Queensland Museum was an honour, privilege and tinged with a sense of responsibility.

I was just one of several guest bloggers, photographers and video makers contributing to this project – and summing up a years’ experience in five minutes of speech and video for the audience in Brisbane was my recent weekend challenge.

During my contribution to the panel presentation, which also included Scott Gamble project creator, and ABC Open producers Miranda GrantSolua Middleton and Carolyn Legge from the Queensland Museum I mentioned as many of the contributing guest bloggers as I could, without making my whole talk a list. Saying their names-  Rob CoxKathleen Mealor, and Kathy Stewart, was like summoning them to give me the courage to finish my speech.

I explained how I got into blogging, came to be a guest blogger for ABC Open, and was mentored by ABC Open, particularly Michael Bromage and Leandro Palacio. ABC Open helped me learn how make videos and through them I was able participate in the production of a documentary of my family’s experience. I spoke about the initial discomfort with the camera and how I became used to it, and took my knowledge of discomfort into being more sensitive in my own interviews within the community.

I became emotional listening to the footage of Carolyn Bofinger’s story. I knew this might happen and had prepared myself for it, but it was still hard trying to compose myself in front of an audience. I spoke about this feeling in the talk as well and about how hearing my friend’s story again made me feel.

This was like asking Carolyn to be alongside me as well and I found that my heart lifted as I thought of the wonderful new life her family has made resettling into Brisbane.

Listening to the producer’s perspective gave me an insight into how emotional hearing our stories made them feel. Many of them have formed friendships with the people whose stories and communities they have represented in the aftermath project and they were very moved by the experiences of people they met.

My own five minutes of video highlighted some of our family’s video footage, that of ABC Open, and some of the digital stories I did, like snippets from the interview with Pam and Joe. It was lovely to hear the audience laugh at the way in which Pam explained her relationship with Joe, and how she couldn’t tell him what to do in the cyclone and had to let him go station himself on the bulldozer, although it was scary it was also ironic and lightened the mood of the day. I apologised for the varying quality of my footage explaining I had learnt on the go improving as I went. I explained we contributors used all our own equipment and weren’t given extra cameras or anything like that. ABC Open is about making the best of what you already own.

Marty Warburton received a mention from both Miranda and Scott, and his video story, part one, was played. This was the first video story I saw when I began to guest blog for Aftermath, and seeing it again did not diminish its power and immediacy. Using his mobile phone, Marty narrated harrowing events as they happened.

I was lucky enough to have met Scott when he and Michael came to visit for the first interview on Cyclone Yasi but I only knew the rest of the panel through their blogs and videos. It was fascinating to hear Scott explain how he had realised a one hour documentary would not do justice to all the stories of the aftermath Cyclone Yasi, not to mention several other disasters that occurred before it. The idea for Aftermath seemed, from his speech, to be about a deeper kind of immersive creation where people would relate to stories in a much more real way. There were too many differences and complexities in the way in which people experience natural disasters that couldn’t come across in a one hour documentary on a cyclone.

Everyone in the panel was very kind to me, Miranda especially. She asked how I was feeling and was extremely sensitive to how this presentation might potentially make me feel. Solua was amazed I could contribute so much material whilst my family was going through the recovery process, ‘How did you do it?’

I was a little bit embarrassed when Solua enthusiastically introduced me as a star for ABC Open’s guest bloggers. I never set out to be a star, I just wanted to share the story of my family and our area from my heart with the best words and images I could find. Yet, moving into the role of spoke person, being a storyteller for the community has become an unavoidable part of guest blogging.

My kind and wonderful hosts whilst in Brisbane are also digital storytellers, Karen Tunny and Daryl Bellingham. They looked after me both before and after the presentation for ABC Open. Karen got me into blogging many years ago, by inviting me to a workshop about blogging. It seemed apt to have them both there in the audience. They kindly showed me and my son around Brisbane. We even tried to plan a trip up to see Marty but ran out of time.

The absolute highlight of the day was meeting another guest blogger in aftermath, Heidi Den Ronden, who shared stories of Brisbane’s floods. I wish I had more time to speak with her, and ask how she was doing. I wished we had more contributors there as I would have loved to have just given all of them a hug – for sharing their stories with such courage and being such strong community builders.

Another amazing gift was the Queensland Museum giving my son free tickets to the science centre. He had an absolute ball and was so happy to solve a murder mystery and experience a science show.  The presenter of the science show had connections to Tully! And we learnt all about the nature of light.

Ordinary people are sometimes called upon to do extraordinary things, and to have writing and telling stories become extraordinary is probably the dream of every writer.

Yet despite all this I really would have rather not gone through a cyclone to have this experience. I would love to be free of the memory of it, but life is what it is and this is now a permanent fixture of my life experience.

What doesn’t break us, makes us… and that is what aftermath has been to my life.

(Presentation given March 10th 2012, Queensland Museum South Bank)

First Published by ABC Open 14 Mar 2012.

Links  to ABC Open will be broken after June 30th 2019.