Meet the Queensland man with 1,000 ‘grandchildren’

ABC Tropical North

By Harriet Tatham


November 30, 2016 10:32:38

Poppy Wallace with Prep students Abby and Lucy. (ABC Tropical North: Harriet Tatham)
Poppy Wallace enjoys helping the students with reading. Photo:
Mr Wallace helps out with colouring-in. While most people become grandparents one child at a time, Mackay’s Ross Wallace gained hundreds of grandchildren in a matter of hours.Mr Wallace, more commonly known as Poppy Wallace, was adopted as Whitsunday Anglican Grammar School’s grandfather 15 years ago, as a part of their Prep Poppy Program.”I’d finished work and I happened to be talking to a friend, and I said to her, ‘I’m retired, I don’t know what I’m going to do, I don’t have any grandchildren,” he said.”She said ‘Well, why don’t you come to Whitsunday School and be the poppy there?'”It was not an idea Mr Wallace initially jumped at.”I kept making excuses for the whole year and then in 2002, she rang and said ‘School starts tomorrow and I’m picking you up’ and I’ve been here ever since,” he said. “For me it was awesome because my grandfather lives far away, so I’m not very close to him, I don’t get to see him much,” she said.”Poppy Wallace was an awesome step-in grandfather.”

These Year 11 students remember Poppy Wallace reading to them when they were five-year-olds. (ABC Tropical North: Harriet Tatham)
Aside from learning, the program also helps to introduce the students to elderly people — something Mr Wallace said children often missed out on.”A lot of them don’t have grandparents for varying reasons, and some of them have grandparents who are a long way away, and I suppose I can fill the role there a little bit,” he said.”I would never be as valuable as their real grandparents, naturally, because they are extremely important and special and I would never pretend to be, but I do get involved sometimes in little things.”I have young people coming to show me where their tooth fell out or where they’ve cut their knee. Photo:
Poppy Wallace is popular in the classroom and the playground. I tie shoelaces and I wipe tears for the pre-schoolers.” A ‘step-in’ grandfatherYear 11 student Brittany Masters has been a ‘grandchild’ of Mr Wallace for more than a decade, and said having a grandfather around was vitally important because it was something she missed out on at home. (ABC Tropical North: Harriet Tatham)
Educational benefits from programAside from the intergenerational friendships that have developed, Prep teacher Shirley Wood said having a grandfather in her classroom had help with education outcomes.”It’s a social interaction to start, and it’s a chance for Poppy Wallace to talk about the good old days in our curriculum of history,” Ms Wood said.”Poppy talks about good manners, helping people, all those sorts of things, and the children seem to really respect him.”Ms Wood said it was a scheme she hoped other schools would look to introduce.”I wish more schools would probably do it. (ABC Tropical North: Harriet Tatham) It’s hard to get that commitment from people, but well worth it,” she said. (ABC Tropical North: Harriet Tatham)
Young and old build friendshipsThe Prep Poppy Program is designed to bring young and old together — for friendship, guidance and storytelling.”I come into the classroom with the pre-schoolers and become involved with whatever they are doing,” Mr Wallace said.”If they are writing, I assist with the writing; if they are reading, I become involved.”While he is not a teacher, Mr Wallace is also given the opportunity to speak about some of his interests with the five and six-year-olds.”I am given a bit of time to talk to them, and I quite often bring things along and talk about insects, plants, rocks and stones, and fish and animals — all the things of nature,” he said.
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Yellow Ladybugs helps girls with autism connect

666 ABC Canberra


Sophie Kesteven


November 29, 2016 15:36:35

Yellow Ladybugs launched its first event at a trampoline playground in Canberra. (Supplied: Katie Koullas)
Canberra 2600
“She was so happy. “I thought I’d go and talk to [a mother], and she said, ‘Oh Jeannette, my daughter has never had a friend, and look at her now, she’s talking to that girl and they’ve exchanged phone numbers and they are playing together’. it was such a relief.”Ms Kennedy said she was concerned that her daughter’s developmental disability might hold her back from achieving certain things in her life. “They didn’t judge her … (Supplied: Katie Koullas)
Leanne Kennedy was the mother Ms Purkis spoke with that day.Her 11-year-old daughter Sophie was diagnosed with autism in May, and she said she was relieved to connect with such a welcoming and supportive group. We both had a bit of a cry.”

Yellow Ladybugs is a community-based group which helps autistic girls and women connect and form friendships. “Your mind goes to the worst prognosis possible,” she said.”You think she will never be able to go out in the world … She spoke with a number of parents at the event, held at a trampoline playground, who had recently discovered their daughters had autism.”My favourite conversation was a very poignant and teary one. “There were hugs at the end; I’ve never seen her so comfortable and happy,” Ms Kennedy said. but after speaking with Jeanette who’s employed, writes beautifully, speaks well, and is so poised in herself, it’s like — ‘you know what, it’s going to be OK’.”Yellow Ladybugs was established by Melbourne mother Katie Koullas in 2014 after both her daughters were diagnosed with autism. A volunteer-based community group is helping improve the lives of young autistic girls in Canberra through inclusive social meet-ups.Last Sunday, 17 young girls and their parents attended their first Yellow Ladybugs event.The group’s ambassador — Jeanette Purkis, a prominent author and public speaker who was diagnosed with autism two decades ago — said it was important to have a group of this kind available in the region. She said she was pleased other parents in her position in Canberra had a chance to meet.”Canberra is the next big chapter to start [Yellow Ladybugs], and we’ve also had interest from Perth,” she said.”Quite scarily [we’ve also had interest] through America and the United Kingdom, but that’s going to be next year’s goal.”

Off-grid paradise complete with grapes in the bathroom

(936 ABC Hobart: Carol Rääbus) It’s not completely Arctic here,” Dave said about cold nights walking to the outhouse.Outside of the bathroom, the Judges have built a garden nursery on their property.They also have honey bees and a few chooks. It was a no-brainer for us.”In the bathroom they grow figs and a few varieties of grapes which help keep the room shaded in summer.They also have cardamom, aloe vera and a range of succulents — and of course a shower, sink and bath tub.The one thing you will not find in the bathroom is a toilet. That is outside.”It’s only Tasmania. (936 ABC Hobart: Carol Rääbus)
“We feel like we’ve created our home and our paradise,” Zoe said.”If we can earn an income from here, that would be great.”

The dam provides water for the nursery as well as a spot for swimming for the family. External Link:

Video of the Judges' bathroom on the 936 ABC Hobart Facebook page
When Dave and his wife Zoe decided to build the house they did not have much money, but they did have a lot of imagination.”We had hands and ideas so we thought let’s put those things together,” Zoe said.The finished product is a unique home that is off the grid, relying on solar power and passive heating and cooling.But perhaps the most interesting room in the house is the bathroom, which doubles as a greenhouse and conservatory. Photo:
Four-year-old Ellie loves the chickens and is proud of her ability to catch and hold them. The Judges’ house in Saltwater River in south-east Tasmania is not like most others.Aside from the 50 or so skinks living in the bathroom, the 21st century-built home boasts 1830s courthouse doors, timber poles that once stood at the Queens Domain and old windows from the Royal Hobart Hospital.”Everything has a story in this house,” Dave Judge told Helen Shield on 936 ABC Hobart. Photo:
The house is covered in solar panels and they also have a battery room to store power. (936 ABC Hobart: Carol Rääbus)
“It’s just a nice living space,” Zoe said.”I think conservatories and sunrooms are almost essential in the Tassie climate; they’re such a liveable space year round.”It makes a lot of sense to have it as part of your house design and to grow plants in it.
(936 ABC Hobart: Carol Rääbus) 936 ABC Hobart


Carol Rääbus


November 29, 2016 13:44:36

Dave and Zoe Judge and their daughter Ellie have created their own paradise in Saltwater River.
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Kunwinjku Counting Book creators in talks with US publishers

Aboriginal artist's state funeral attracts hundreds
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Gunbalanya 0822
Fibre art exhibition attracts massive crowds
Gunbalanya's youngest artists celebrate happiness
(Supplied: Injalak Arts) 105.7 ABC Darwin


Emilia Terzon


November 29, 2016 12:20:06

The book features animal paintings for children by Gunbalanya artist Gabriel Maralngurra (centre).
So the not-for-profit gallery decided to try out crowdfunding for the first time, with a video pledge and mission statement promising “love from Gabriel” and free children’s books if they reached a goal of $25,000 to print 2,500 more books.The campaign ended up surpassing its goal by almost $8,000.Book ‘important for preserving’ languageOff the back of the crowdfunding campaign, Injalak was approached by a publisher in the United States.”We just got some pretty exciting news from America that there’s somebody maybe interested in pushing it further to distribute further,” Injalak’s Dave Wickens said.Set in escarpment country just a stone’s throw from Kakadu National Park, Gunbalanya is known for its distinct earthy painting style, hidden rock art going back 10,000 years, and screenprinted fabrics often turned into cushions, upholstered furniture and clothing. People want to know more. (Supplied: Injalak Arts)
Mr Wickens said American, German and French tourists who visited Gunbalanya, about 250 kilometres from Darwin, were often the biggest fans of the region’s style.”Overall there seems to be more attention internationally on Indigenous subjects. After being knocked back for an expansion grant, the creators of a West Arnhem Land children’s counting book have smashed a crowdfunding campaign and are in talks with an international publisher.The book features animal paintings by Gunbalanya artist and Injalak Art Centre co-manager Gabriel Maralngurra, alongside text in both the community’s dominant language, Kunwinkju, and English.”It just came into my head,” Mr Maralngurra said of the idea for the book.The Kunwinkju Counting Book created in collaboration with Injalak’s Amber Young and Felicity Wright was initially printed earlier this year as a limited run to sell at the art centre and galleries in Darwin.”It’s for the kids, non-Indigenous kids and Indigenous kids, around Gunbalanya,” Mr Maralngurra told 105.7 ABC Darwin.After the book took off in the Top End, its creators were approached by a grant provider but were knocked back for funding after applying. Photo:
West Arnhem Land is escarpment country near Kakadu and features rock art going back at least 10,000 years. An adult could pick this book up and learn a lot from it, whether it’s just about the native flora and fauna that Gabriel has used.”Mr Maralngurra described the book as unique due to his detailed and “slow painting” style, with each of its 12 featured artworks taking about two-and-a-half days each.His 12 original works have since been sold to a private collector and Injalak is hoping to do more crowdfunded-financed books with other artists, of which there are 300 throughout the community.The book is being re-printed on recycled paper in Melbourne and is expected to be sold across Australia. People are excited to help support that.”From a personal perspective, I think this book is very important for preserving Indigenous language and being a tool for [children] who speak Kunwinkju, but also for non-speaking people to learn a new language.”[This is] not just what you’d call a kids book. External Link:

The video that led the Kunwinjku Counting Book's crowdfunding campaign.