Knowing several nurses (some who are midwives) I am fairly familiar with the amazing job that they undertake on a daily basis. This can be difficult enough in a well-equipped city hospital, but it is hard to fathom in the middle of the outback with sometimes limited resources and extreme isolation. Having spent much of her forty year nursing career in Melbourne and regional hsopitals in Victoria, Beth McRae had long harboured a yearning to work in a truly outback seting. Deciding to give it a go before she hit retirement age, she applied for a position in a tiny settlement in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. Packing up her life in Victoria, she and her husband Ian set out on an amazing journey, one they are still experiencing.
As a Queenslander I am very familiar with Anna Bligh, having experienced her reign as Premier of our state for several years. Although not necessarily strongly affiliated with the ALP, I would consider myself a supporter of Anna and was very interested to read her biography.
I was aware that Anna's childhood was not always a happy one and she does not gloss over this fact. However I was very impressed with the balanced way she approached this time of her life - expressing the difficult times she and her mother and siblings experienced with some compassion for her father and his battle with alcoholism. Despite the hardships of her early life Anna also speaks of many happy times and also illustrates how her early love of learning and the determination of her mother that she secure a solid future for herself put her on the path to success.
One day Susan Berg was just a normal teenage girl with two parents, two sisters and a brother. Keen to try out the boat he has recently purchased, Susan's father invites his family along for the ride. Setting out in the freezing waters near Melbourne Susan and her parents and brother are not far into their journey when disaster strikes and their boat sinks. Initially they stick together, but soon Susan becomes separated from the rest of her family. Content with the knowledge that her brother (who is a champion swimmer) is with their parents, Susan strikes out alone, battling extreme cold and fatigue as she swims with the sole purpose of getting help. Miraculously she finally makes it to shore on a small island in the bay and finally raises the alarm. But devastatingly when searchers set out the next morning the bodies of her parents and brother are found and Susan's life implodes.
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