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Once a biographer - part 2 - more Edna Walling treasures

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Following on from my recent post, here are some more Edna Walling related treasures and pics that I've not shown anywhere before. Above shows Barbara Barnes, Edna's niece, holding up the signboard or 'shingle' that Edna made to advertise herself and her original garden contractor, Eric H Hammond (always referred to as Mr Hammond by Edna). The pic was taken at Canning Downs, Barbara's historic Queensland homestead. Barbara died a while ago and I'm not sure what happened to the shingle, but I do know that Barbara passed on a great deal of Walling's papers and photographs to the State Library of Victoria. I stayed with Barbara for a week during my research for The Unusual Life of Edna Walling, and had the privilege of viewing all this material first hand, and engaging in fabulous conversations with Barbara. She was wonderfully generous - and quite a character, as you can see!  I took these next pics during my recent stay at The Burrow at Wombat Bend (see previo

Festive freebie! - download A SECRTIVE LIFE for free

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  Festive freebie - Smashwords End of Year sale. Download your free copy of A SECRETIVE LIFE. Gift yourself or gift a friend via Smashwords - the bookshop for independent authors and publishers. It's easy, just login to gain your gift of a 5 star novel. 'I loved it' - Miriam Margolyes. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1101126 Sale ends 1st January 2024. And please post a review somewhere if you liked it! A SECRETIVE LIFE: Cecilia is unrepentant as she looks back over a queer life defined by lesbian love and dangerous adventure. She’s been through two world wars, enjoyed the decadence of Weimar Berlin (Gay Capital of the World) and lived to be Out & Proud. Now she’s cornered. Her bittersweet story captures the glittering LGBTQ+ underworld of the 20th century. 'A DELICIOUS READ' - Pamela Rabe.

Once a biographer, always a biographer...

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  I recently returned from a brief holiday at a B&B called The Burrow at Wombat Bend, a wonderful mudbrick cottage set in a wildlife retreat at Dixon's Creek in the Yarra Valley, about an hour north-east of Melbourne. I have been meaning to go there for many, many years - since I'd published The Unusual Life of Edna Walling in fact, because during my research for that biography I had met Sue Forrester, the daughter of one of Edna's dear friends - and Wombat Bend is Sue's home and co-creation. 'The Burrow' is the B&B mudbrick cottage that overlooks a vast billabong surrounded by all manner of native trees and plants - and native wildlife, including wombats. This paradise was once a basic cow paddock and its creation echoes Edna Walling's magnificent self-made Bickleigh Vale Village in nearby Mooroolbark - also once a cow paddock. (See previous blogs re Walling's career as a landscape designer etc.) Sue and I had much to catch up on - and I wished

Edna Walling - a new podcast

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  Sometimes it's good to simply listen. If you'd like to hear me talking for over 50 minutes (!) about the wonderful Australian Landscape Designer, gardener, architect, artist, photographer, author... well, all round fabulous woman - please go here for the podcast:  https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/infinite-women/embed/episodes/Sara-Hardy-on-Edna-Walling-e2a2u32 The podcast begins with my introduction to Edna Walling (see below) - then it broadens into an in-depth discussion across many aspects of Edna Walling’s life. I am indebted to Allison Tyra and her ‘Infinite Women’ podcast for inviting me to be interviewed for her series celebrating extraordinary women in history. Introduction: Edna Walling was a landscape designer, gardener, horticulturalist, journalist, photographer, author – and fine drawer and painter of her watercolour garden design plans. Born in England in 1895, Edna was a trouser-wearing, animal-and-Nature-loving, highly individual being. Her legacy has

While The Men Are Away - fabulous new queer TV series on SBS

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  Oh what a wonderfully witty, clever, funny, moving, lesbian, queer, feminist queer, and super queer-queer TV series While The Men Are Away  is! Oh and sexy, I forgot to mention across-the-spectrum sexy - and that too is very cleverly portrayed. This really is one out of the box and congrats to SBS, Australia's Special Broadcasting Service, for choosing to back this project and the vastly experienced team behind it. The plot is based on a simple premise: While the men are away fighting in WWII, gorgeous Frankie, an Italian immigrant married to an Australian farmer who is 'away', enlists two Women's Land Army recruits, a (bi-sexual?) draft dodger, and her Indigenous farmhand to help run the family farm. What could go wrong? And indeed, what could go queerly right? The story is told in eight 28 minute segments, and they pack such a lot into that small space! The series premiered on 27th September 2023 and can be viewed/binged on demand here: https://www.sbs.com.au/ondema

Lily, meet Iris

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Edna Walling, the brilliant landscape designer, gardener and all round artist extraordinaire, worked very hard on her own and other people's gardens, yet she liked to remind us in her books and journalism that the primary function of said garden was to sit amongst it and enjoy it! Relax and read and dream or doze. Edna Walling also said that she most enjoyed Nature's own groupings, the more accidental the better. I was reminded of this this morning when looking at our clump of lilies - and noticing that a beautiful purple iris had presented herself to add to the display. I love these surprises. Edna Walling openly referred to herself as 'odd' or 'a misfit' in her time (1895-1973) - today I think she'd happily accept the word 'queer'. I have very interesting, indeed exciting news to tell in the near future about this extraordinary woman - and a certain feature film project ... watch this space! Oh, and while you're here, I've been told that th

I so enjoyed being interviewed on Take Me To Your Reader!

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  There's a fabulous radio program on JOY Radio - Melbourne's wonderful LGBTQI+ local station - where writers of all types are interviewed every Saturday between 1 and 2 pm by members of a wonderful team pictured below. They really know their stuff and give great interview! I had the pleasure and honour of experiencing this first hand last week as I was interviewed by Loretta and Rob. I think it must be the most enjoyable and relaxed live radio conversation about 'me and my writing' that I've ever experienced. It really was a joy, and I highly recommend this program. Here's a link to listen; my bit starts about 8 minutes in and lasts 40 minutes. You can search the website for lots of fab interviews with wonderful writers, and download the podcasts:    https://joy.org.au/ takemetoyourreader/2023/09/03/ lesbian-playwright-biographer- and-novelist-sara-hardy-talks- about-her-early-life-coming- out-and-writing-in-different- genres-2nd-sept-2023/ Joy 94.9 FM