Where are they now?
Barry Girls’ Bookclub
Read about three ex-students who grew up in Sydney and attended Loreto as day girls (all from Barry House!). Coincidentally, they are now all living in the town of Guyra, NSW! Once a Loreto girl, always a Loreto girl…!
JESSICA SISSON (BOKEYAR ’02)
I left school and completed a Bachelor of Sport Management at the University of Canberra. From there, I was working as a pharmacy rep travelling through the bush while based in Sydney. In 2008, I underwent a ‘tree change’ when I landed a job based out of sunny Guyra, NSW. I met my husband here and have settled into life in the country.
We have had the joy of having two boys and now run our own Merino sheep operation at Black Mountain, NSW. I have my own personal training business, work for a local accountant in town, and am loving the lifestyle and opportunities that country life brings!
MARNI TURNER (HIETBRINK ’03)
I grew up in Baulkham Hills and was a day girl at Normo from Year 7. While at Normo, I rowed and competed nationally with Loreto and various club programs.
After finishing Year 12 in 2003, I moved to Los Angeles to complete a four-year, “full-ride”, rowing scholarship at Loyola Marymount University (LMU). I studied a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Psychology. I graduated from LMU in 2008 and after a brief stint of travel, returned home to Sydney with the intention of furthering my studies.
During the time I had been overseas, my parents had relocated to Guyra in the Northern Tablelands of NSW, just north of Armidale. I decided to move to Guyra to live with mum and dad and save some money. As fate would have it, my Normo rowing mate, Jess Bokeyar, was also living in Guyra. One night while I was working in one of the pubs in town, she introduced me to a young fellow, Matt. Guyra suddenly wasn’t too bad after all!
Matt and I dated while I worked in a local feed mill and completed my Bachelor of Psychological Science with Honours at Southern Cross University in Coffs Harbour (which is a short 2.5 hour drive from Guyra; a drive I did weekly for a year). I then moved to Brisbane for two years to complete a Masters in Applied Psychology (Sport and Exercise) at The University of Queensland, before returning home as a registered Psychologist and marrying Matt, the lad from the pub. I now run my own private Psychology practice, Peak Psychology, in Guyra and have two beautiful young sons.
It is lovely being in Guyra with some connections to Normo – and Jess, Alison and I, all Barry girls, are in a book club together. We often marvel at the coincidence that these three city girls ended up in the same patch of bush.
DR ALISON COLVIN (HEALEY ’95)
I attended Loreto as a day girl with my two older sisters, Rebecca (’91) and Catherine (‘93). Our cousin, Melissa Healey (’85), was also a Loreto girl and we are all proud Barry girls. We grew up in Normanhurst only a few kilometres from Marni and Jess.
After leaving school, I completed a Bachelor of Science Agriculture (HONS) at University of Sydney. I then headed north to live in Armidale working in sheep artificial breeding and a ruminant parasitology laboratory. In 2006, I completed a PhD in sheep internal parasites and have worked as an academic in ruminant parasitology since. I am currently managing an Australian Wool Innovation project on farmer parasite control practices. I am also part of an ACIAR government aid project aimed at developing small holder goat production systems in Lao PDR, fulfilling a lifelong desire to be involved in agricultural development aid.
In 2005, I married a farmer and we live with our two kids on our small property near Guyra on the Northern Tablelands. Of course, we are only a few kilometres up the road from Marni and Jess who also married farmers and became farmers themselves. I met Marni and Jess through a book club made up of local farming women.
We laugh at the coincidence of three city girls from neighbouring suburbs – who attended the same school, in the same House – ending up in Guyra married to farmers, and finding each other among the same group of friends! I am blessed to live here and know such wonderful and inspiring women.
From Paris to Braidwood
Article from the Canberra Times, October 2019
SARAH DE TELIGA (’71)
On a recent spring Sunday, a small crowd gathered on the lawns of what used to be a cafe in Collector. It was the opening of an exhibition of recent paintings by Sarah de Teliga, an Australian artist based in Paris.
The works were the result of a month she had spent on the outskirts of Braidwood, feverishly capturing the changing winter landscape around her. The gallery is owned, eponymously, by Helen Stephens, who used to have a gallery in Sydney. When the much-loved Collector cafe, Lynwood, closed some years ago, she bought the property and repurposed it. When de Teliga sent her some sketches earlier in the year from a recent stint in Braidwood, Stephens suggested she come back for a residency and exhibition. “I think it took less than a month to make the arrangements and she arrived in Sydney in the first week of September,” Stephens says. “She travelled with her boards primed ready to start painting straight away, knowing she only had three weeks to get an exhibition together.”
She knew, from experience, that de Teliga would not appreciate any distractions, and there was no fear of that; the house near Braidwood, owned by a friend, was bitterly cold and had no internet connection – she had to travel into town to make contact and send through some of the finished works to promote the exhibition. “We spoke once or twice on the phone while Sarah was working. I was aware that she wanted to be alone and to focus, going out into the bush land every day for hours, painting en plein air in wind, rain and then snow,” Stephens said. “I imagine in the evenings she continued to paint. It was a very intensive three weeks, but that is how Sarah works. She has a lot of energy and commitment.”
As planned, de Teliga had an evocative body of work to show for the three weeks of toil, and many sold at the opening. de Teliga herself, chic and Parisian – striped blouse, white sneakers and cigarette – was obviously pleased with the results, a series of evocative and detailed landscape, displayed in a small, white space across the lawns from the house. The journalist David Marr, an old friend, opened the show, and there was live music. “It was a charming, uplifting afternoon – my most favourite opening,” she said later. “Low key, surrounded by trees and music and good people. My only regret was that I did want to speak a bit more, thanking people, country and sketching the process a little. I have always let the work speak for itself, however it is helpful to give some signposts. But I get very shy.”
Shy is an understatement; de Teliga has been exhibiting her work for 40 years, the last 30 of which have been in Paris, where her husband, Robert Grace, is an architect. But she was also to shy to mention the fact that she was making an appearance in another, very different exhibition here in Canberra. This time, the image involves her own face, staring out from a 1976 cover of Vogue magazine, part of a major exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery celebrating women in Australian Vogue over the past 60 years. “The cover came about whilst I was at art school,” de Teliga says in a phone message from Paris weeks later. “I jumped at the chance to earn $25 without waitressing. The camera liked me.” She recalls that a “boy at a party” once told her she “looked like Sarah de Teliga, upon which he proceeded to tell me he had had an affair with ‘her’. “I encouraged him to reveal all! I had never seen him before in my life, poor fellow.”
She was able to support herself in the early years of her painting career, but never combined the two in any official way. “There was a lot of criticism from my art school chums, and somehow it reflected badly on my commitment to my work,” she says. “I started exhibiting 40 years ago and consistently since, with longer spaces when the children were small. You know the drill – splitting one’s life into compartments family, work, research, reflection, paying one’s way.”
She also appeared in several movies in the 1980s, including “Run Chrissie Run!”, and “Bliss”, based on the novel by Peter Carey and directed by Ray Lawrence. The film’s iconic image features de Teliga as the main character’s mother; she stands, hooded in the rain, carrying a large gold crucifix.
“I moved to Paris with my little family 30 years ago, just to have a look about,” she says, adding that a year or two has turned into decades. And as is the case for many expat artists, being so far from home can sometimes make it feel closer, and the hunger to capture Australian landscape never abates. “My longing and love for Australia and its landscapes is intensified by absence,” she says.
The intensity shows in the works still on display at Collector. At the time of writing, there were only three left unsold. Funny, de Teliga says – these are the three she was most excited about. “I was working on some elements that stepped out of the two dimensions and had separate dialogues with the viewer – I added some changes to flat depiction,” she wrote. “Oh well, the excitement is still very much there.”
Paintings by Sarah de Teliga, were exhibited at Helen Stephens Gallery, Collector NSW, in November 2019. “Women in Vogue: Celebrating Sixty Years in Australia” – exhibition was at held at The National Portrait Gallery, November 2019.
Please note article appeared in The Canberra Times, 31 October, 2019
(Article Acknowledgements, The Canberra Times, / Sally Pryor / Photos supplied)