Dr Ward's Amazing Case on the radio

I’ve always loved radio and my tastes are tragically rigid; the dial never moves from ABC RN. I adore recording studios, all that wood, the knobs and dials and that strange acoustic. I love the idea of stories and music beaming out into the world into the ears of people driving, gardening, washing the dishes … doing whatever.

So I was pretty thrilled when Sarah L’Estrange from ABC RN approached me and Sarah about being part of an audio documentary on the history of the Wardian case. Like YES!

Despite being overdressed (the studio thermostat is set at ‘equatorial’) and over excited, we managed to record ‘The Amazing Case of Dr Ward’ in its integrated state and then Sarah recorded all the musical stings and then I recorded the story without music. In this way the editor could cut and paste the bits and pieces to their heart’s content.

‘The Wardian Case - The box that changed the world’ is now live. Our telling is only part of the doco. You will hear more stories about plant transportation through the voices of Luke Keogh - Historian, Stuart McCook - Professor of History, University of Guelph, Ontario Canada, Mark Nesbitt - Economic botanist, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Tansy Curtin - Curator, Bendigo Art Gallery, Debra Tyler - President, Waroona Historical Society, WA, Kulkarni Choolburra and Christopher Jakobi - Indigenous guides at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. ENJOY!

Jackie Kerin
Newport Folk Festival

Winter is a popular time for festivals in Australia. In my neck of the woods there is a literary festival and a folk festival within two weeks of each other and being an author and a storyteller, I have been known to stick my nose into both. Community means a lot to me; it’s my where I find my strength and support; it’s where I test my ideas; it’s where I go when I feel broken and where I connect and collude with others who who have ideas and are sprouting flight feathers.

However it was the Newport Folk Festival that stretched my energies this year with singing (I’m a rather squeaky soprano in the Newport Community Choir), a children’s storytime with my friend Dharma, the pop-up Flock OZ, a show with Sarah, and I help organise and tell stories around the fire for the Saturday evening.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking but first...

To begin - Dharma’s family have been in the the book trade for decades; her dad co-foundered Readings, Melbourne’s premiere independent book store. Currently they have a business called JP Books. Although specialising in educational books, the front of the business is a gorgeous shop for children. Everlasting Books is an Alladin’s cave of titles for the very young through to young adult. For 10 years Dharma has hosted regular storytimes at Everlasting Books and as a result, she has the deepest and richest repertoire of stories and songs of anyone, anywhere! And we have a ball together every year at the Folk Festival.

For more years than I have fingers, I have, with the help of others, organised a storyteling evening in the old Newport Scout Hall, a retro gem that we all hope will live on forever. Draughty and probably leaky, it has a charm all of its own. A team of us, bake cakes, cook soup, light candles, stoke the fire and welcome festival goers to the hearth.

Fabled Nights by the Fire; vege soup served by Cam who also hosted and kept the wheels turning

Fabled Nights by the Fire; vege soup served by Cam who also hosted and kept the wheels turning

My good friend Dave Davies, reciter of verse and short story

My good friend Dave Davies, reciter of verse and short story

As well as all the storytelling and singing, the festival was happy for me to install the pop-up Flock OZ and prattle on about migratory shore birds and the importance of the local wetlands. A festival is the perfect place to engage community in this way.

So that’s Newport. Next festival is the Hamilton Woolly West Fest. Now this one is a hoot!

Jackie Kerin

BGANZ stands for Botanic Gardens Australia and New Zealand. It’s all about representing the interests of botanic gardens, promoting and sharing information and of course celebrating.

And once a year, on the last Sunday in May, botanic gardens around Australia and New Zealand celebrate with all manner of events.

As part of the fun, Sarah and I were thrilled to have the chance to tell our story of the Amazing Case of Dr Ward in our local Williamstown Botanic Gardens. These gardens inspired us to research the story, so it always feels good to share it under the trees.

A thoroughly happy day!

Jackie Kerin