I was born in Port Lincoln and due to my childhood with parents Pat and Laurie Woods and sister Paula Rankin, I have had a fortunate life. My love for the sea/fishing started with annual holidays at the Coffin Bay railway shacks with relatives, Dad worked for SA Railway hence the connection. The “Silver Train Carriage” at Little Douglas was our holiday home together with the Gotch and Reynolds families. Fishing for king george whiting, Dad untangling our lines, beaching, playing card and board games and above all lots of laughter. Railway neighbourhood activities ranged from climbing up gravel piles, through huge cement pipes and onto tar drums in the adjacent council grounds to riding billy-carts. An early memory was riding on the back of Mum’s pushbike. Mum was a hairdresser and I remember visiting the ladies and passing curlers and clips to Mum.
Friends included Tracy Trenowden (nee Trezise) as well as Joy Figl and Leonie Baldwin (nee Inglis) who are still my best buds. Once I left school my love for travel began. I did small trips to Western Australia, Tasmania and a Victorian skiing holiday which was about the time I met my husband John Fox. Going overseas with my cousin Alison was next, we travelled around UK and Europe which opened my country girl eyes! John and I married in 1985 and we had three children; Toby, Abby and Brittany, the loves of our lives. We had many holidays to places including Coffin Bay, Victor Harbor and Gold Coast. When Brittany was four I decided to change careers. I became a kindergym group leader, leading to an early childhood worker role at Bishop Kindergarten. I gained a diploma in Early Childhood and left in 2010 due to ill health. My job at the kindergarten was rewarding, I loved working with families and their children.
When Toby finished school and finished a rock lobster season in his gap year we decided to show our kids more of Australia in our off-road pop down caravan and spent 16 weeks travelling up the middle of Australia across the Kimberley, up to Gnaraloo and Exmouth, meeting the Hosking and Clutterbuck families who were having a similar adventure. Yet again lots of laughter, some sibling rivalry and car seat rearrangements between long periods of travel and amazing surfing, diving, hiking through the Bungle Bungles, lots of walking and amazing weather with different coastlines and scenery. All three of our children graduated from university and earned jobs, Toby was in Queensland with his partner Lisa Kuerschner working as an environmental advisor at Laing O’Rourke, Abby was a junior primary teacher at Ceduna Area School and Brittany was a registered nurse at Ceduna Hospital.
John and I then did another caravan trip to the East Coast, this time we bought an off-road van just for us, followed by a trip to the North West Coast, across the Great Australian Bight and Nullabor where we met friends in Exmouth. I have been surviving metastatic breast cancer, living in the country medical care and costs are extremely stressful. We fight on and do the best we can but this has been the biggest challenge for our family. I am lucky to have seen our daughter Abby marry her husband Cade Drummond (pictured). My love of family, friends and the beautiful environment we live in is the essence of life to me, and to be positive and happy no matter what.