OK… a bit of an experiment here!… We all have our own way of telling the same story. Like Brian & Jacqui Lee.
Both love writing short stories and both are also very creative artists living in a small coastal town in regional Victoria called Yarram.
So when we recently asked if they could write something about ‘how did you two end up in Yarram?’ we weren't expecting a story from both of them written... from their own perspective!
We’ve combined both stories below in a sort of ‘time-line’, to see how each of them recalled what made them decide to settle in Yarram.
When we came to live in Australia in 1987, we lived in the outskirts of Melbourne, between Frankston and Chelsea.
I worked at a nursing home, which had a new owner trying to cut all our resources, and the residents were suffering.
Brian worked for the boss from hell!... in an art studio. He was on anti-depressants and we knew we had to ‘do something’.
Our escape began as weekends away, we would pack the little pop top van, with food and drink and be ‘up and away’ Friday as soon as we finished our toil.
We had friends who joined us and we camped once at a small caravan park in Gippsland.
A seed had been planted!
On that fateful trip, which was over thirty years ago, we made the decision that changed everything, though we didn’t realise it then – we pulled off the highway at a sign that said “PORT ALBERT 10kms” among other descriptive things.
Skip loads of photos and books were discarded, clothes and small furniture, a fridge and a washing machine, most of it given away.
Anyway we loaded the caravan, and found a site at the caravan park on the outskirts of Yarram near Port Albert.
The day we moved was stinking hot, and we had flies all over us when we stopped for a break. We also had a Burmese cat – Tess - that I had rescued some months before.
Brian joined the Lions club and soon had a lot of new friends. We both became very busy. In fact we took on almost TOO much!
Our caravan was changed eventually to a large cabin which the owners offered us at very low rental, so we had a full home, and had to buy a bed… and other furniture!
In 2003 we moved into Yarram itself so we could walk to Clubs and Cafes and the supermarket.
I remember all the times when I was fitter, walking the tracks by the beach over crunchy gum leaves and soft dust rising with each footfall, the sweet wind bringing the smell of the sea, and the scent of Tea Tree.
PORT ALBERT by Brian Lee
Port Albert lies quiet, awash with pure light,
The houses and gardens, an artist’s delight.
Piers, jetties and park crouch low round the shore,
Aglow with rich colour, like a carpeted floor.
The outgoing tide leaves sand damp and brown,
And many hued shells lie all over the ground.
A gull washes feathers of crisp black and white,
In warm sheltered shallows - a splashing delight.
Tiny waves clutter the uncovering sand,
Dancing and tumbling, where water meets land.
Undersea gardens change from deep blue to green.
Boats of all colours turn slow on the tide,
Pulling tight on their hawsers as they float side by side.
Their reflections all a-quiver in a water-borne ‘frieze’.
Shimmering and swaying in the light morning breeze.
Now gold strips of sand thrust their heads into view.
As the tide keeps receding, cleansing anew.
Small boats come in as others go out,
Leaving white foaming wakes all scattered about.
Away to the west, almost lost in the haze,
Wilson's Promontory stands, pale blue guard of the bays.
Hills dressed in trees spread dark green to the sea,
with pale green grassy tops, rock strewn and free.
The sea governs all in this colourful town,
It encircles the place, like a warm turquoise gown.
Small islands are strewn like gems all about,
but Port Albert’s the crown - of that there’s no doubt.
All photos & text (c) 2021 - Brian & Jacqui Lee