Di Walker (Je'82)

Everything-We-Keep--Cover--by-Di-WalkerAuthor Di Walker's second children's novel, Everything We Keep was recentlypublished by Scholastic Australia, receiving great reviews. "A touching and beautiful read." (The Book Muse) "Walker has succeeded in creating a deeply moving story that tears at the heartstrings. A strong impulse to hold and comfort the lost and lonely Agatha will creep in and catch you unaware." (Kids' Book Review)

Di, who works as a secondary English teacher in northern Victoria, had her debut novel Unpacking Harper Holt published in 2018 by Walker Books Australia. She writes for middle grade readers aged 10+ and also writes a blog about her experiences of writing and getting published on her website

Di's insights into writing are fascinating, as she explains how her character Agatha finally made it onto paper... "I don't write at night. I write early in the morning. I don't write on a laptop, only on my desktop. Agatha sat on that front step for three days; it wasn't until Thursday morning, when I was at home, that Agatha appeared on the page. Why Agatha was in foster care, why her parents were hoarders, and everything else she had to deal with, all unfolded over the next six weeks."

Equally interesting, especially for budding authors, are her revelations about getting a manuscript published. "I've learnt that the publishing world is complicated - what I thought it would be and what it is did not always align." Di explains, "There was a time, before emails, zooms, portals and online banking, when a writer would type out a manuscript, package it up and send it, via post, to a publisher. Then there would be a period of waiting for the postman to deliver a letter, with either a rejection note or a bank cheque. Now it's different. Unpacking-Harper-Holt---Cover-by-Di-WalkerEach publisher has its own criteria for submissions. Submit on a certain day, between these hours, send the first three chapters, the first fifty pages, double space, use this font... If you don't hear from them in six week, three months, six months, twelve months, well that's the rejection letter- silence. The reality is, when you finish a manuscript there are no guarantees that it will automatically be published by a traditional publishing house, which I suppose is one reason why self publishing is so popular." 

"My manuscript (in its unpolished, renovator's delight state) for what would become Unpacking Harper Holt, landed at WBA at the exact time they were looking for a contemporary emotional novel. Had I sent it four months earlier, or three months later, they could have been looking for something else and Harper would have been on the rejection pile rather than on a bookshelf. Having gotten over that first hurdle, then there were other internal processes that Harper had to go through before being signed off - processes I had not even realised existed."



Adam Furphy (M'89)

Businessman and Shepparton resident Adam Furphy (M’89) has added his voice to a new video campaign launched by the Shepparton council to attract more young professionals and skilled employees to the Goulburn Valley. The film, which will be shown on television and online, is part of the long-running ‘Great Things Happen Here’ growth strategy for the region, which has a strong manufacturing and agricultural sector. Having steered his own 150-year-old family business, J Furphy & Sons, through both good and bad times in the region, Adam is fully invested in Shepparton and its ongoing development into a thriving regional centre.

"The bottom line is we need people to come here," he told the Herald Sun recently. "We have some big businesses and some interesting niche businesses that need these skill sets that will have to come from elsewhere.If you want people to come here, they need more than a good job. They need a place to live, services that are appropriate and social amenities of the place that are attractive to them."


John Carter (FB'70), Trent Carter (FB'99) and Kate Carter (Russell, He'01)

Three OGGs are at the helm of a successful mixed-farming enterprise at Wallaloo Park in the Marnoo district in Victoria. John Carter, his son Trent, pictured with wife Kate, along with John’s wife Jenny, run the 4000ha broadacre and Merino sheep business. The Carter family has been at Marnoo for over a century, and John and Jenny started the stud in 1979, building it up into one of Australia’s best known Merino studs.

They are now using data collection and technological aids to hone their systems, making the mixture of stock and crop a highly doable option. This has enabled them to breed an early maturing, dual-purpose animal as well as putting a greater emphasis on wool quality and cut. The integration of livestock and cropping helps drought-proof the business, and the cropping system has been made efficient through the use of the latest technological practices.

The family recently appeared in a Weekly Times ‘Focus’ feature article on Wed 2 June.

Photo: Zoe Phillips, The Weekly Times


Mimosa Schmidt (A'05)

Spending her twenties on building sites, farms and long-haul ships, Mimosa Schmidt knows what it means to get her hands dirty. Often working in hyper masculine spaces, at times being the only woman on site, during these formative years she also learnt what it means to be watched on the job. Her femininity, in the context of hard labour, was still wrongly seen to imply weakness, incompetence, and inexperience.

Dressed in standard-issue, ill fitting workwear, she felt overlooked from the get-go. A feeling that was exacerbated by the harassment and isolation she endured, for which gender seemed to be the only catalyst. Slogging it out in sagging overalls and baggy workshirts, she started to dream up designs that would empower those who have to work doubly hard to earn the respect most others are given freely.

This is what led brand founder and creative director Mimosa to develop SÜK Workwear. The culmination of years of research and inspired design prototypes, SÜK is built on the ethos of celebrating all workers as worthy.

Mimosa was interviewed by Onya Magazine in 2019.


Charlie Gill (A'19)

The-RotundaCharlie is founder and editor of North Fitzroy’s new community newspaper, The Rotunda. Scheduled to have a monthly print run of 6,000 copies distributed throughout North Fitzroy, the eight-page newspaper takes its name from a rotunda located in North Fitzroy’s Edinburgh Gardens. The content of its launch issue includes a pub crawl of North Fitzroy’s “finest” establishments, articles about the Fitzroy Football Club and Piedimonte’s supermarket development, and an interview with local musician Clare Bowditch. “It’s just about making something entertaining and independent that talks to you and your neighbour equally,” Charlie explained.


Sophie Ward (Cl'20)

Sophie Ward

Sophie represented Australia in rowing last weekend in the most unconventional of events. Sophie was selected in the Australian Under 21 Women’s Coxed Eight after a successful racing season with the Melbourne University Boat Club and an impressive showing at the National Rowing Championships in Tasmania in March. @rowingaustralia confirmed at the time of selection that National teams, excluding Olympic teams, would not travel overseas in 2021 and the Under 21 and Under 23 teams were slated to compete in a simulation regatta in Adelaide in line with the World Cup 3 event in Sabaudia, Italy.

Of course, as has been the case for the past 18 months, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry and Sophie, along with three other members of the crew based in Victoria, were unable to travel to Adelaide due to the recent lockdown. Credit to Rowing Australia, who facilitated for the crew to compete as a four on the Patterson River in line with the simultaneous Regatta in Adelaide, ensuring they had the opportunity to wear the green and gold on the water.

While the lead-up to the Rowing World Cup event has been somewhat chaotic, Sophie had the wonderful experience in the lead-up to travel to Sydney and train under the watchful eye of National coaches and former Olympic coaches.