I am a writer and coordinated the Mordialloc Writers’ Group for over 20 years. I founded the group in 1995 with Noelle Franklyn and over the years the group published nine anthologies.
I set up this blog to interact with writers and friends and promote the group’s anthologies and my own writing. I write poetry, short stories, short plays, fiction and non-fiction, memoir and creative nonfiction. I taught creative writing for 20 years, but passion for social justice and equity complements my passion for writing.
One writes out of only one thing—one’s own experience. Everything depends on how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give.
Mordialloc has been my home for 36 years, but I can’t shake off Scotland, my birthplace, or the years growing up ‘in the bush’ at Croydon, Victoria where we settled in 1962. The first nine years of my life were spent in semi-rural Scotland on the edge of Greenock, a shipbuilding town on the banks of the River Clyde. Years spent travelling in the UK, Canada, USA, China, Europe, Japan, the Pacific Islands, New Zealand and Australia, imprinted firmly in memory.
I write about it all – the minutiae and the big picture.
Beach Road shadows the foreshore and in the summer is jammed with cars, motorbikes, and bicycles. The blare of car horns and occasional angry words punctuate the normal traffic din as people journey to and from the city and the peninsula seeking fun of warmer weather.
The walking trail becomes crowded and sometimes dangerous with family cyclists, dog walkers, joggers, parents pushing strollers, keep fit enthusiasts and tourists ambling the track to soak up the beauty of Port Phillip Bay.
For many locals, including me, the beach on a very hot day must be avoided; instead the evening a favourite time to walk the foreshore, or cooler weather, when a winter breeze chills the air and spasmodic rain enlivens the scent of tea-tree, eucalyptus, and banksias.
In cooler months, the population of Mordialloc returns to normal levels, the sand, pier and promenade dotted with only a handful of people – mostly dog walkers tracing their path along the water edge, keep fit fanatics, or tourists visiting locals.
Ah the beach: being rocked in the slight waves, walking and getting soaked to the edge of your knickers by an expectedly deep wave splashing around your ankles. In awe, you watch a sunset stain pink the sand, grass, even the seagulls.
Serendipitously running into friends who happen to park directly behind where you’re sitting or are following the same path as you are as you stride or stroll along the foreshore.
You catch up with local news, celebrate a special anniversary, perhaps share a dinner or cool drink at one of the many local cafes. Lots of lovely hugs and laughter and reliving special memory days.
Life can be unexpectedly kind and beautiful, just when you need it most.
13 thoughts on “About”
I stumbled upon your blog & was so thrilled to find you were from Greenock. I spent the first 8 years of my life there and we came to Australia when my Dad got work with BHP in Whyalla, S.A. I don’t think Scotland ever gets out if your blood.
It certainly doesn’t. I came here when I was nine! Where did you live in Greenock? And do you still live in SA?
Hello, wondering if I can please get your email as I’d love to find out if you have the Aboriginal protest posters you blogged about when you reviewed my exhibition in 2016. I really appreciated the care and detail you made in reviewing my show and was really taken with the images of posters you also shared. thanks so much Paola
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Thank you for reading and giving feedback Paola my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
We lived at Dumfrocker Rd – at least that’s the address I remember. We moved to W.A. for a few years, then I moved to Tasmania and then to Sydney where I married in the late 80’s. I’ve been here with husband & children since then and haven’t yet made it back to Scotland. have you been back?
I was born in George Square and then we moved to Davaar Road Braeside, emigrated to Croydon Victoria in 1962. (I’ve written quite a few blog posts about living in Scotland and Australia because I teach Life Stories.) I dropped out of uni in the 70s and went back for a year, came back here returned to uni and then left again for another year, taking a job as an au pair in Canada the second time before coming back to Australia. My husband and I did a big trip for a couple of months in 1984 (Japan, Europe, UK and America), took our daughters back there in 1992 and 1997. John died in 2002 and I am planning to return to Scotland this year. Haven’t got the nuts and bolts sorted but I arrive London April 25th. Your Dad probably did what my dad did – chased money for the family (there were 6 of us to feed) except Dad was lucky to find jobs in the same area plus he had his sister here and that made a big difference. I had a quick look at your blog and I see you homeschool – I used to do creative writing workshops for homeschoolers because several friends homeschooled. You will have a very rich, busy day!! When we left in 1962 it was ‘dirty old Greenock’ – not so now. My daughters fell in love with the place when we returned and my oldest daughter was back there two years ago and loved Scotland, especially Glasgow and Skye.I know it will be an emotional trip for me – the immigrant’s story – you always feel like an uprooted tree. Have a wonderful day:)
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Fascinating coming across your blog as I have been looking into the war history of our uncle, John Dinwoodie, with whom I had a special bond. My late father Robert was Jock’s youngest brother and I have a trove of family photographs.
I have looked in depth into Jock’s role in Arctic Convoy PQ-18 for which he was awarded the DSC but did not know he was at Dunkirk and know nothing about the rest of his war service. Please help! His daughters Betty and Joan would also love to know more.
I’m a retired daily newspaper journalist and still do magazine work and an occasional micro-blog The Dinwoodie 300. I can be reached at email@example.com
Will send you an email – not sure I can help you with much more than anecdotes I remember my dad sharing. On a trip back to the UK recently I caught up with my cousin April, who now lives in Colchester – her gran was Christina (Teen) Dinwoodie, the sister of my gran Catherine (Kate) Dinwoodie. The two sisters married two brothers: John and Alexander (Sandy) McInnes from Skye. Because my Grannie Kate died during the war it was Aunt Teen who kept up the links with the Dinwoodies and April knows more about them than me. I went back to Scotland in 1973 and met Greta and Freda at April’s wedding 43 years ago when they came through from Edinburgh and I haven’t had any contact since. In fact, it was nice to meet up with April and learn about that side of the family! I’ll check out your blog – the Internet can be wonderful:)
Hello Mairi, whilst researching articles for a church magazine that I design and edit for St Louis de Montfort Aspendale & St Brigid’s Mordialloc (schools & churches), I came across your wonderful blog. In our next edition of the magazine that I have entitled Blessings, the front cover will feature the sacred indigenous trees at Attenborough Park & Mordialloc Creek Reserve. As the next edition will coincide with NAIDOC Week, I am writing to ask for your permission to feature your haiku about the Boon Warrung people? I really love it and it would be perfect for this feature. I am happy to send you a copy of Blessings if you would like. I look forward to hearing from you. Warm regards Berna
Thank you for reading my blog Berna and you can use whatever you like as long as you credit where it’s from _ good luck with your projects. I’m travelling overseas at the moment and won’t be back in Mordialloc until July hence my blog not being updated😊
Hi Mairi, remember me?
I attended some of your creative writing classes in Chelsea last year and I hope to start again soon. When I last saw you, I was still in recovery from a health issue, which I briefly discussed with you. I am feeling well now and returned a month ago from a wedding in France and also catching up with friends and my husband’s relatives in England. The venue for the wedding in France, the Chateau de la Motte Husson, Mayenne, is currently featured in a TV programme ‘Escape to the Chateau’. It was a wonderful and memorable experience.
Will tell you more when I see you!
Keep well and all the best.
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Mairi, I didn’t read more than the first few para.s. The privileged place that religion holds in ostensibly modern society annoys me, but I’m not going to attack your beliefs, or attack you for your beliefs. No doubt like you, I wish the religious right felt the same way.
Your ‘multi-faith’ post wouldn’t accept my comment
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I’m a firm believer in the separation of church and state Bill and would argue against any religion being privileged and as a woman would label most of them misogynistic although I recognise many have transformed and others are still evolving. Tolerance is different to acceptance and there are degrees of faith and practice. We are a multicultural multifaith community and the more we understand about each other the better and that includes respecting atheists, agnostics, pantheists etc.
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