Mount Sheridan with Katherine Louise
A daughter may outgrow your lap, but she will never outgrow your heart.
– Author Unknown
Our New Home
There was only problem with living at Kewarra Beach. I could not wake up and see the Pyramid. While I did enjoy my time on the northern beaches, moving into our new home in Mount Sheridan felt great. It was fantastic to once again be on the south side of Cairns where my parents and my extended family where and when my heart was.
The block of land we purchased in Mount Sheridan was part of a property development known as Forest Gardens, which contained many gardens and intertwining pathways.
We designed and planned this house clear in my mind that it would be the last place I would live. We chose this site on Mount Sheridan that was well out of the storm surge area and not subject to sea level rise as climate change takes place.
RDLO and Law
The RDLO position was re-advertised as we were planning to move to Mount Sheridan. Again I was granted an interview, and this time while I was not as brilliant in the interview, I was successful. There was some irony that I was appointed to a permanent part-time position based at James Cook University at the same time as our move back to the southside of Cairns. My new position was to assist people with disabilities in transitioning from school servicing all of the higher education sector.
The RDLO position was established by the Australian government as one mechanism to try and address the appallingly low transition rate of people with disabilities, from school to higher education and vocational education and training.
I took on the challenge with great enthusiasm by dealing with students both one on one and in groups to encourage them and to expose into the opportunities available
Once each semester I would hold an ‘options’ event, which involved selecting a number of students with disabilities from local high schools and hosting them at the University. During the two-day event, students got to attend a lecture, have lunch in the refectory, learn about library services and get personally informed on what support services were available. Options helped address the idea that university was ‘out of reach’ by exposing the students to the university so they could see it as just a normal place that they could attend, despite their disability.
Over the years those who help me with personal support have been a tremendous help to me. While I have never had that many hours, I have had some pretty special human beings helping me.
Caroline was a young woman from Canada. A French-Canadian, she had a truly loving soul and was an amazing person. She loved nature and the environment and music and was a proud French Canadian. When Jenny was in hospital giving birth to Katherine, she came in to care for me and help to me and was able to share this very special moment our lives.
Caroline had a passion for caring for others and for the environment. She was one of nature’s soft and lovely people. On 2nd January 1999 Carolyn travelled to Meleny to attend the Maleny Folk Festival. It was something she was looking forward to. On return from Meleny the vehicle in which she was travelling left the road went down a gully. Caroline died on impact.
Caroline’s friends organised a moving service at Crystal Cascades. At the service, Caroline was remember with great fondness I can still recall a huge eagle flying overhead as Caroline was being remembered by one of her close friends. I am not saying her spirit was on the wings of that eagle, but I’m not saying it wasn’t either. I know she would have loved the thought of her spirit having been released and soaring on the wings of an eagle.
Katherine Louise Pyne
Jenny was heavily pregnant as we moved back to the southside at the end of 1999. Local builder Peter Langtree built what was our third new house. Financially, selling our house and building a new one had not been a great idea, but we had ironed our every little access impediment, so this house was perfect for me. I did not have to put up with any of those little annoying barriers that are so often a bane in the lives of so many people with disabilities.
I remember when Jenny first bought Katie home from hospital, feeling some sadness that I would not be able to throw a ball to her or play some of the games able bodied fathers could. It hurt to see other people pick her up knowing I could not pick up for fear of dropping her. Nevertheless, it was not long before I was making her laugh and enjoying the pleasures of being a father.
In the early 2000’s Forest Gardens in Mount Sheridan was absolutely beautiful (as the developer was still investing in the gardens and infrastructure to sell more houses). It was a joy to travel around on the footpath with Katie on my lap. I think as a father you will never ever relive the joy of having a daughter who is threeand four years old. During those years I would go with my motorised wheelchair all around Forest Gardens with little Katie sitting on my lap, holding onto my shirt with her small hand, so that she wouldn’t fall off the wheelchair if I stopped suddenly. It was just an adorable experience.
My old friend Simon re-joined me as my carer. I knew we would make one hell of a team as we took on the world.
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