Proud of my village circle

Today, I would like to share with you a news article about the success of two little boys from my “village.

How outback brothers Keidan and Blake Coleman scored AFL guernseys with the Brisbane Lions.

The pride I feel towards these two boys and their family is endless, Blake graduated last year with my youngest son and has already reached his goal in life (teaching this weary middle aged writer to keep going).

Keidean and Blake started primary school with Dylan and Ryan at Wynnum Central State School and their older brother, Brian, started AFL at Wynnum Vikings with my eldest son, Liam.

While watching this family from afar over the years, I have watched them grow and shine, support each other and their family and I am incredibly proud of the beautiful young men they are today.

Blake and Keidean, this little middle aged lady will be watching your accomplishments with excitement for years to come and please know that our door is always open to you.

My extended family

A homage to Tyson Bruce

Growing up, I was lucky to be included in an array of various families. My mother and aunties showed me that inclusion is important and needed. My grandfather used to joke, “you mix all of these children up, one day, you won’t know which child belongs to which family.”

I have always been a mother figure of sorts, I am the eldest of five children and had my first baby at the age of 20. That baby opened an entire reference book in my head that I did not know I had. Who would have thought that I would confidently know how to be a mother? Liam was my saviour, he enabled me to draw on those maternal instincts that I was subconsciously taught from my elders.

Three sons later, I have always had an open door policy, a safe house. A spare place to sleep, the ability to divide whatever food I didn’t have even further, to listen and love or even just sit in silence. Isn’t it funny how teenagers always know when it is dinner time?

There were and still are lots of great moments but sometimes it did get too much for me. Nevertheless, I have always welcomed our community’s children into my house, family and lives. I always feel especially special when I see or hear from one of these “kids.” I feel the honour and love hearts in the air from them (the same as I feel towards my female elders).

On Saturday morning, my youngest son Ryan, told me the news that we had lost one of our kids, Tyson Bruce. He had heard the news the night before, while mourning the sixth month anniversary of another friend. Instinctively, I had to get in touch with my son Dylan and my niece Jaimie.

Jaimie had known Tyson since Grade One, for fourteen years. At the time on reading the news, she was stuck at Straddie working her two jobs, while crying and serving customers. She has since returned to the mainland and has been able to grieve with her cousins and I.

Initially, I could not get a hold of Dylan and was so worried about him. Dylan and Tyson were “tight” for many years and despite the age gap, Dylan took Tyson under his wing and thought of him as a little brother. He would try to keep Tyson out of trouble, he would take him away on weekends and cared for him deeply. Tyson even followed Dylan to Alex Hills High and then back to Wynnum High. Eventually, I did get a hold of Dylan and we both wept and told each other how much we love each other. Dyl is still in shock and I am doing my best to stay out of the way but awkwardly hanging around at the same time.

Tyson was a big part of our family, he even helped my sister move a couple of times. Tyson was Ryan’s “big brother” and always watched out for him. He appreciated us and we loved him back.

I feel so honoured and privileged to have watch Tyson grow into a loving, happy and hardworking young man.

Thank you to Tyson’s family for sharing your son with us.

Love from Dylan, Jaimie, Ryan, JP and the aunties.

Back by popular demand –

I have posted very little on my blog for various reasons during the past two years. During this time, I recovered from two back injuries, held three jobs,moved house twice and tried to gently guide my three sons and new daughter to successfully reach their milestones.

I witnessed my eldest son getting married to a lovely young lady.  Not once, but twice.  The first was an extravagant traditional Hindu ceremony (made up of many small rituals), which ran from dawn to dusk in Pitra, Penebel, Tabanon, Bali.   The second, a lovely little civil service and we all danced and laughed the night away beside the bay, in Brisbane, Australia.

The younger two are still under my wings for the time being.  My middle son graduated from high school last year and went on a three-month right of passage to Mission Beach, North Queensland.  Staying with a close family member he assisted in cyclone proofing several properties and looking after two young children.  My youngest son starts senior school next year.  He is a wonderful natured boy and basically runs the house.

With all of this life stuff going on, I didn’t feel the need or want, to write.

It is my readers/fans that have gently coaxed me back in to the writing circle. 

Honestly, I couldn’t believe that I actually had a fan base.  My mothers’ cousin, whom I had not seen for twenty years, approached me over a year ago and asked,

“Julie-Ann, why aren’t you writing anymore?  I like reading your work…”

I was taken aback and quietly excited

Since then, many of my amazing fans have bugged, persuaded and questioned my absence from writing.  You all have planted and watered a seed of creativity in my mind and I promise to tend to it because writing is what makes me happy. I can’t assure that everything I post will be polished but I will like to affirm that I will do my best to entertain you, to enlighten you and to listen to you.

I intend to tell the unheard stories and retell the heard stories.  I want you, my readers to engage with me, I want you to make suggestions; I want you to tell me your stories.  I want to research, investigate and write what you want to read. 

Now that the initial seed has been planted, many more are forming and it is with you, my fellow community/fan base, that I choose to grow with.

Free writing

Writing makes me happy.

The good angel on my shoulder has been telling me to write for at least a year now but my mind has stopped me.

I am in two minds, to just write words and thoughts continuously and,

to think about my fluidity, my language, my grammer, my topic…

At the moment, I am laying on my back thinking what to tell you while trying to continue to write freely.

I have been recovering from two back injuries and have been working on strengthening my body.

I have been juggling various roles at numerous positions while sometimes working three jobs at the same time. 

Additionally, I have been working on myself, my inner-growth, my happiness, my true Jape/Julie-Ann.

As I keep writing, I am thinking of more and more things to tell you.

I am happy and I am going to continue doing all of the other things in my life while writing as much as humanly possible.

The Maids

I felt instantly at ease upon entering the Woolangabba Art Gallery for the closing night of The Maids, as part of The Anywhere Festival.

The instant rush of comfort stemmed from the sweet welcome, Stephen Nothling’s magical art, and the structural historical nuances of the building.

I had recollections of my elaborate catholic all girls’ boarding school as I walked up the stairs to the garret of the Woolangabba Art Gallery.

The character, Claire (Amy Hauser), of The Maids was walking, humming and ahhing while waiting for the audience to settle in.

On time, Solange (Re’anne Duffy) entered dressed as a maid and the corresponding scenes covered Claire as the Madam and Solange as the maid.

These scenes were alive, real and compelling and erupted to a crescendo, as the elaborate ‘red dress’ was unveiled.

The maids, Claire and Solange were on a path to destroy their ever-elegant Madame (played by Caitlin Hill) while destructing themselves.

Madame swaggered into the room, styled in a gorgeous sequined hounds tooth gown, and immediately sets forth her opinions, lack of empathy and hellish truth upon the fragile maids.

The Maids was directed and constructed to use every tiny bit of space of the upstairs of the Woolangabba Art Gallery with minimal props and appealing over the top creations of wardrobe by Harpi designs.

The actor’s portrayed their characters in realistic and captivating real time.

Spittle, tears, sweat and laughs were authentic and harrowing.

Genet’s The Maids is very much a parable for today with its brutal conflict played out between the haves and have-nots, and it challenges the audience to think about the possibility of change.

The Maids hits Brisbane in style

It is seventy years since Jean Genet’s The Maids was first performed at the Theatre de l’Althenee in Paris and it is now Brisbane’s turn to observe this modern classic.

Theatrical devotees are invited to attend the 2017 Anywhere Festival’s up close and personal version of Genet’s The Maids.

The Maids will be presented upstairs at the Woolloongabba Art Gallery from Tuesday 9th to Saturday 13th of May.

Anatoly Frusin, theatre and opera director and acting teacher at Southbank TAFE (where he is currently directing second year students in A Midsummer Night’s Dream), describes The Maids as a ritualistic and satirical examination of the power structures within society.

Frusin said, “It is wonderful to revisit this intense, confronting and passionate play again, I directed The Maids about 25 years ago in New Zealand, and felt the time was right to have another go with some of the incredible graduates from our Acting and Performance Program.”

“I was then introduced to a fabulous designer and recent graduate from the Fashion Program at TAFE and decided that the production must happen,” said Frusin.

The designer of the moment is Kristy Power of Harpi Designs, and her extravagant creations are crucial to the games of identity that lie at the heart of the play.

“Kristy’s amazing gowns are almost like characters themselves, and are integral to capturing the ritual masquerade of The Maids.

“Being in the non-traditional space upstairs at the Woolloongabba Art Gallery the audience will feel like they are both in the maids’ garret and at an intimate fashion show.

“Plus there is a cool bar downstairs!”

The rest of the creative team that is Mad Women on the Shore consists of Amy Hauser, Re’anne Duffy and Caitlin Hill.

The actors are several generations of graduates and Anatoly is very excited to be working with actors he has helped train and seen develop over the years.

Amy Hauser is an emerging Actor and Performance maker who has recently graduated from the Bachelor of Acting and Performance program at TAFE Brisbane.

She has a particular interest in creating, developing and performing works that are intelligent and are relevant to serious topics in today’s society.

Amy has done the majority of her creative work for stage theatre, some of her work includes, The Frogs (Xanthias), Mother Courage and her Children (Kattrin) and The Skriker (Josie).

She is currently involved in the ongoing performance art project House of Milkand has worked with multiple directors and mentors including Brian Lucas, Norman Price, Lisa O’Neill and Anatoly Frusin.

Re’anne Duffy graduated from Brisbane TAFE in 2014, she has worked with Metro Arts and was granted a two week Short Fuse residency where she created her solo piece Jar’d.

Since graduating, she has been involved in the 2high and FAST festivals.

In 2016, Reanne and Anatoly formed Mad Women on the Shore and debuted their first production One Women Wouzeck for the MELT Queer Artist Festival at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

Caitlin Hill graduated from Brisbane TAFE, studying acting in 2014, she has played Justine in Sven Swenson’s Tiptoe, Willow in Girl cried Wolf’s The Wives of Wolfgang, Ensemble for Belloo Creative’s Hanako and Juliet for Share House Theatre Company’s Romeo and Juliet.

Caitlin created Boys Taste Better with Nutella with Peter Wood for Short & Sweet Theatre Festival, winning Best Script, Best Actress and Best Overall Production whick led to a development at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

Genet’s The Maids is very much a parable for today with its brutal conflict played out between the haves and have-nots, and it challenges the audience to think about the possibility of change.

In this theatrical and dangerous game, will it be the Maids or their Mistress who comes out on top?

Death Shrouds - Latest Collection by Harpi
Death Shrouds – Latest Collection by Harpi. Photography by Nick Green and Bella Cullen

Tribute to a beautiful soul

Brad and Kris Gray (stolen from Facebook) Brad and Kris Gray (stolen from Facebook)

Last Thursday (05.03.2015), this earth lost one of its beautiful souls.

Kris Gray of Lota, lost her quiet and strong battle to cancer.

I can’t pretend to have known Kris really well but what I do know is that she was a pillar of strength in her family, work and social communities and will be greatly missed by many.

My meetings with Kris were usually at her place of work – Wynnum Central Coles.

She always asked how I was doing and was genuinely interested in what was going on in my life and it feels like I just saw her the other day.

The last time I saw Kris, I was wondering around Coles, trying to choose food that would feed an army of sons, with very little money. Kris was empathetically laughing at me while she was packing Peppa Pig stock.

“Eden would love these, I should get her one,” she said.

Kris always leant an ear and helped out her fellow man (or woman) and it is for her beautiful family that I write this tribute. Thank you for sharing your sister/mother/grandmother with me because I appreciate knowing Kris.

Kris and James Gray (stolen from Facebook)

My pondering place High tide at Lota – 2.7 m – 10 am – 11 am (New Moon 20.01.2015)

High tide at Lota 2.7m. 10 am – 11 am (new moon 20.01.2015)

Photography by Julie-Ann Ellis
Photography by Julie-Ann Ellis

Wynnum Central State School

MOVE CONCERNS: Gabriel Ellis with her daughter Jaimie at Wynnum Central School (My sister and neice).  December 10, 2010.  Picture: Liam Kidston Source:
MOVE CONCERNS: Gabriel Ellis with her daughter Jaimie at Wynnum Central School (My sister and neice). December 10, 2010. Picture: Liam Kidston Source:

When Wynnum Central State School was operating. 2010.  Sourced from
When Wynnum Central State School was operating. 2010. Sourced from

Wynnum Central State School was opened in 1894 and unfortunately closed its doors in 2010.

The Wynnum Central State School badge, now located at Wynnum State School.  Photography by Julie-Ann Ellis
The Wynnum Central State School badge, now located at Wynnum State School. Photography by Julie-Ann Ellis

Many of the memorabilia has been moved to the newly formed school, Wynnum State School.


The old Wynnum Central Gates at the new Wynnum State School.  Photography by Julie-Ann Ellis
The old Wynnum Central Gates at the new Wynnum State School. Photography by Julie-Ann Ellis

The beauty of the old Wynnum Central State School gates. Photography by Julie-Ann Ellis

Old gates at the new school.  Photography by Julie-Ann Ellis.
Old gates at the new school.