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


Neighbourhood Songs (1)

Memories of the magpie songs…

Ripple Poetry

Playful cockatoos

My neighbourhood is full of birds, cockatoos, ibis, magpies and pigeons.

The magpie song, will be one I can never forget

It has people who care about others in the street.

Who might even lay down their lives for each other

if something fearful should be whispering in the streets

The listener on the doorstep, who feeds all the birds, and takes our bins in and out.

A neighbour full of stories and care.

It has people who left who come back to check on people in the street

because their Nana told them too.

It now has claimed my life for nearly seven years.

It is an old tumbledown house, fixed up rental, made as loving as at it can be.

The people inside are more important than the walls surrounding them.

It is a backyard full of songs and stories, and people watching the stars.


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Mother’s Day and the Mountain

For mother’s day we made a late afternoon trip up Mount Cootha to see the sunset. It was my first mother’s day without my eldest son at home.

One day they will all be winging their way into their lives and so these times are even more precious, to still be a family with children at home.

We looked at the lights of the city make their journey from pink to navy.

A lot of other people had the same idea, and there were people everywhere. Picnicing, photographing, celebrating.

Then headed home for a cheesecake made by my daughter. Youngest gave me a Paddington Bear, he had discovered in an op shop, knowing this was one of my favourite childhood characters.

My children took a liking to Paddington after seeing the movies as teenagers!

Embracing the possibilities of the future, I reflect on this quote.

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
–Anaïs Nin

My Eldest son rings once a week. He too embraces the possibilities of the future.

What mountains will my children climb, on their way to becoming? Perhaps I will see these moments, and perhaps I may be long gone.

But there will always be the memories, Mt Cootha 2021 and others mother’s days.

Dear Ones

Our dear Eldest son has moved to Melbourne.

We miss him but we know he is finding his wings.

He has been getting to know his Nana, cousins, Aunties and Uncles after years of living in other cities.

And his Dad’s sister, especially Aunty Tahirih keenly takes photographs of all the family gatherings.

So precious to do this after dear Poppy recently passed away.

I won’t share these photographs here, just one of our son with his beautiful Nana.

We look forward to our Sunday zooms and phone calls with them both and look forward to catching up in person later this year.

We are so delighted with the young man he has become and wish him all the best in his new Melbourne life.

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.