Three Deaths: The spaces between us

There are three deaths:

The first is when the body ceases to function.

The second is when the body is consigned to the grave.

The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.


Lament of the Labellum – Transgression by Sarah Elson 2016 (Stephanie Lloyd Smith)


Adding Absence by Helen Seiver, 2016 (Stephanie Lloyd Smith)

If you can, (it requires courage), please watch this documentary about the babies lost to infanticide in our Colonial past. It is incredibly moving and such important work…that we bear witness to these small souls and the mothers that suffered so. Through Dr Amanda Gardiner’s exhibition “The Spaces Between Us” via the exquisite work of the artists involved, we can give these banished and discarded souls life and let them know we have not forgotten. Congratulations to all those involved for the deep and painful journey you have undertaken and the profound artwork you have produced and to Dr Gardiner for her deeply wrought and courageous research  on behalf of these mothers and babies.

Dr Gardiner and two of the artist were also interviewed on Radio National.

I know this is a taboo subject but these women and the babies were victims of a patriarchal society, a society that silenced and gave no choice and no voice to these judged and ostracized souls.  Dr Gardiner and all the artists involved have brought to light (in the language of the soul beyond words) a forgotten, painful and shameful period in Western Australian history that has resonance with so many communities and peoples around the world as this research exposes a problem we still have yet to come to terms with in the 21st century.

The next wave updated (part 1): Michelle Michau-Crawford and Emily Paull

Two years on and Michelle Michau-Crawford and Emily Paul are inspirational in their achievements! Here is an update on what these amazing Western Australian writers have been doing.

looking up/looking down

Two years ago, looking up/looking down presented a series on Western Australian women writers to watch out for. As I wrote then:

There’s so much creative energy among writers on the western edge—some of it being nurtured in university writing programs, some finding inspiration and support through writers centres, some brewing entirely independently. This four-part series features eight WA women who are part of that creative flurry. All of them have a manuscript ready, or nearly ready, to submit to agents and publishers, and I hope we’ll be hearing a lot more from them in the future.

It’s a true pleasure to observe the evolution of a creative life, and I’m delighted to present an update on what some of them have been doing. Here’s how Michelle Michau-Crawford and Emily Paull responded to an invitation to review their last two years of writing…

Michelle Michau-Crawford


When I was invited in…

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supplementary information to submission to Adoption Act Review

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Sofia has also written a supplement to her Charter with some important amendments to the original about adoption and surrogacy.



It has been brought to my attention that a position we took in our paper may be used to increase adoptions through surrogacy, and that was not our intention.  I would like to add further information.

This is in regards to the answer we gave under the point of same sex and single sex parents.   We included a paragraph about surrogacy, which we now believe should be treated separately to the Adoption Act.  What we said about same sex and single sex relations in paragraphs 1 and 2 remain our position.

In paragraph 3 we said ‘We assume ‘adoption’ laws will be needed to give these children some identifying information, even if it is false’ (pg.9 of our original submission). I now believe this assumption is wrong and shortsighted.

We do not support adoptions. Nor do we support surrogacy.

  • There is enough evidence of…

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Adoption Act Review – South Australia

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Sofia Gregory, co-founder of the group IdentityRites, has written an utterly compelling and important charter with regard to Adoptee Rights: ADOPTION ACT REVIEW- SOUTH AUSTRALIA. I wish to share this.


We are a group of adults who are adopted. We wish to have input for consideration in reviewing the Adoption Act.  We believe some comments are also relevant to the Child Protection Systems Royal Commission and ask that you forward our submission to Commissioner Nyland.

As adoptees, the adoption process is supposed to act in our best interests, and for our welfare.  Yet as adult adoptees, we have found it very difficult to be fairly represented in the debates about adoption.   We believe the adoption industry has hijacked the debate to provide children for adults who find they cannot live their lives without children.  We question which children need to go into any care arrangements outside their extended families?  We also question the suitability and imagination of adults to take an authoritarian charge of another woman’s child simply because they find their lives are ‘incomplete’ without children.

We note ‘In…

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The next wave (part 3): WA women writers to look out for

looking up/looking down


This is the third of a four-part series featuring Western Australian women writers who have a manuscript either ready, or almost ready, to submit. I’m sure you’re going to be hearing more from them in the future.

In this post, I welcome Karen Overman and Kim Coull.

Kav 4-9-14 041_2Karen Overman

Karen has published a collection of short stories, Night Flight from Marabar (1999), and her 2009 novel, The Avenue of Eternal Tranquillity (a favourite of mine), won a Nautilus Award for Visionary Fiction, announced at the New York Book Fair in 2010. As a short story writer, she has won the Irish Famine Literary Award and the Australian-Irish Heritage Association Award, and as a playwright, the SWY Theatre Company Young Playwrights Award. Her plays have been performed at the Festival of Perth and the Octagon Theatre.

Karen’s manuscript—working title The Blue Moment—is a work of literary fiction in the…

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