I’m a woman whose heart is for the community of Rosebery, where I live. I’m President of the Rosebery Development Association and amongst other things we run the Fairyland project for the enjoyment of the children (and adults!) in the community. I’m also passionate about art and crafts, and I run an art therapy group to aid others find their way with art.
I’m also a wife, mother of three children and three step children and have twelve grandchildren - my family are the most important thing in my life.
Rosebery is a small rural town with a big heart, nestled in the valley of three surrounding mountains, Mt Black, Mt Read and Mt Murchison. It’s green, wet and beautiful in a photography sort of way, with an ever changing landscape each and every day. Rosebery opens its arms to newcomers continually and helps them to become an integrated part of the community. Where we were once a mine with a town, we are now a town with a mine, although the mine still pays a big part in the community, employing many people from the town.
The people of the community of Rosebery are a very varied lot from all different walks of life. We have seniors who have retired here, families who come for the rural atmosphere and what it can bring to their family, folks who come for work, or people who were travelling through, found Rosebery and liked it so much they stayed. We also have people who came for the cheap housing because Rosebery is known for being the cheapest place to buy a house in Australia!
Being very remote, the challenging aspects of living here are the distances to shopping and health care, although we have a great medical centre, and the distances we have to travel to go anywhere. We just deal with the challenges as they arise, and if anything is needed, there is always someone going up the coast that can collect or purchase it for you or someone will give you a ride if going that way and you don’t have a car.
We started Fairyland in 2013 to give the children on the west coast a local activity that they can come along and enjoy with minimal cost. And who doesn’t love a fairy?! I set about buying every fairy I could find that first year. I wrote letters asking for sponsorship and donations. The Rosebery Development Association came on board with donating the space to hold it in the Heritage Centre, and later took over the sponsorship of it and continue to support the project. We ended up with a fantastic display of fairies with children’s activities thrown in.
Each year we re-evaluate and add more pieces to the display, and change things. We have community members who are always on the lookout for fairy items, and some very generous members of the community let us borrow their fairies, dragons and elves! Secret plans are already in place for making next year better with animated fairies and other moving objects.
Our goal is to give back to the community in a small way that is enjoyable to all. The reaction of the children and adults who love to come and see what different things we have added each year make it all worthwhile. I know it’s talked about a lot during the year, and we have visitors coming back year after year to visit Fairyland, which is a great result.
For Rosebery, I would love to see it prosper, and continue to be the caring town that it is, to keep it from dying like so many other small rural towns. It’s so important to those who live here to be inclusive and envelope the diversity of the people who live here.
Photos By Rebecca Thomson
This project was assisted by Bellendena Small Grants