Tag Archives: Australia

My family’s Anzac Story – Part 2

The women of WW2 were integral to many aspects of Australia’s success abroad and the subsequent recovery at home. They contributed to Australia’s war effort and picked up the pieces of shattered lives afterwards.

My nanna was one of those women. She commenced full time military service at age 18. She worked in Signals, transmitting messages across the globe wherever Australia had personnel. In the “previous experience” section of her enlistment, she included “home duties” and her high school certificate. Her military record is scanned and as I read the faded yellow pages with torn edges, it seems like she had a whole other life.

A life of service, mystery and a little cheekiness. She was 18 and in love with a man fighting on the front lines of Asia. There were secret messages sent to him via her Signals connections. My grandparents stayed in contact throughout their war service and married after they were discharged. They had four babies and stayed together their whole lives.

Katherine Kippen was promoted to Sargent in October of ’43. There are no records of her saving fellow officers lives under fire or any such thing. There are lists of promotions and locations of Signals bases she was stationed.

What her military record can’t ever show is what an incredible woman she was. She was complex, determined, strict, soft, traditional and forward thinking all at the same time. There are a few things she said to me over my life that I will never forget and i will share some of them with you today.

“Don’t give yourself too readily or they’ll never respect you”
I was a teenager crying over some boy at her kitchen table. I was a bit shocked that she said this, but we went on to discuss it for a while. She looked in my eyes and was always gave me her full attention. “You’re worth more than that” were some of the statements in that conversation.

“Katherine doesn’t need to get married. She’ll be right either way”
This comment was delivered with a flap of her hand as she laid in a hospital bed as I was being teased by an aunty for not getting married and going to university to study the environment. She was known for her traditional values, inherited from her predecessors, but with one remark she silenced the room. Gosh I adored her.

“Do what you love”
Pretty self explanatory.

AS she aged and her body refused to participate in her life as readily as she expected, I could see her suffering. My partner and i would visit. They would sit at her kitchen table and talk about sports for ages – tennis, cricket, football. She was a mad sports follower. They got on well. I did a bit of cleaning up during these talks and she always, always thanked me in a way that made everything feel good. She was never over the top but she readily opened her arms an held me close.

Yes, she was number Q142241, and more.

Kath Dyne photo page 3 of 9


My family’s Anzac story- Part 1

Poppa's jungle hammock

In the week leading up to this year’s Anzac Day commemorations, I am sharing some of my family’s story. I will be one person in a crowd at a service this Saturday, crying beneath their sunglasses, like many others. I grieve every Anzac Day and miss my grandparents, but I am grateful for the freedoms we are granted because of their sacrifice. Even if you are against Australia’s current campaigns, I ask you to look around at our beautiful country and be grateful.

This is my Poppa’s jungle hammock he carried throughout WW2. He was awarded the mIlitary Medal. The citation reads, ‘This NCO has given consistent proof of his gallantry and devotion to duty during the New Guinea Campaign. During the BUNA action Sgt Dyne was commanding a section when his Pl [platoon] Cmd [commander] and senior NCO’s became casualties; he took over command of the Pl and displayed great leadership in moving the Pl forward under heavy fire to a position from where he was able to bring fire to bear on the enemies’ flank; although the platoon suffered heavy casualties he refused to withdraw – his action played an important part in that phase of the battle. During the SOPUTA action Dyne again took over command of 13 Platoon when his Pl Comd was killed; in this action and again at SANANANDA he displayed great personal courage: his leadership, initiative and energy had a marked effect upon all those under his command.’. Suffering from malaria throughout his service, Sergeant Dyne continued to serve with the 2/12th Battalion in its campaigns in Papua New Guinea and Borneo. Sergeant Dyne received his discharge on 27 November 1945.

With a broken heart, I say goodbye


Something heartbreaking has been happening in my country. Well not in Australia, but to Australians abroad.

It is something that as one person, I have spoken up about for years to my elected representatives. I have written letters, called their offices, spoken about on social media, signed petitions, modified my consumer behaviour, walked in rallies. The heartbreak continues.

What does one person do when they feel powerless to change injustice that their eyes can see and their heart can feel? I could walk away, close my eyes, deafen my ears, shut down that part of my heart that remembers this ache. I could convince myself to forget. I tried. Time to move on.

Or, I could stand. I could continue to feel the heaviness that hurts my moral sense, I could maintain my awareness and I could bare it for the greater good, for those less powerful than I.

I. What can I do? I will love.

Loving those less powerful gives us strength. Love in itself is the answer. Love is the origin of my heartache and the source of my power. When love withers, then comes apathy and indifference.

So tomorrow morning (or during tonight) when my child asks for me, I will go and give love. When I get up in the morning, I will spare some of my precious time for something I believe in.

With a broken heart, I will say goodbye to my dispair and stand for those less powerful. I will love them, even though they don’t know me. I will continue to speak for those that have no voice except my own.

I will act to Ban Live Export: http://www.banliveexport.com/

Do you have something you are passionate about? I believe that you can make a difference to this world.

Have a beautiful week.


Atrax Track, Manorina and Jolly’s Lookout, D’Aguilar National Park

Palm groves make shady umbrellas
Palm leaves make shady umbrellas

The Atrax circuit is a fantastic walk for families with small children. It is only 750 m long with level, wide paths, timber bridges and stone steps.  It is accessed via the Manorina Carpark on the right hand side of Mt Nebo Road, 22 kilometres from the Brisbane Forest Park Information Centre (only 30 kilometres from the Brisbane CBD).


This track leads through beautiful wet eucalypt forest. The tall, mixed forest offers a diversity of tree species providing dappled light to the rich understorey below. The path winds through little pockets of “fern forests”, past “mossy boats”, trickling creeks, small ponds, through the middle of a burnt out tree, underneath wonderful tree canopies with large epiphytic orchids (Dendrobium speciosum), little palm groves, secret little patches of terrestrial orchids, vines and grassy patches.

This forest offers a wonderful diversity of texture and colour.
This forest offers a wonderful diversity of texture and colour.
What's around the corner?
What’s around the corner?

This is a quality walk with plenty of Nature engagement opportunities. Allowing little people to take their time, run back, run forward, pick up rocks, turn over leaves, balance on fallen logs, play peek-a-boo, make leaf umbrellas, float leaf boats down the creeks, stand in the water, feel the different barks, look up at the sky, walk the brick entrance and jump up the path will have everyone’s heart singing.

The trees seem to reach all the way to the sky!
The trees seem to reach all the way to the sky!
A blackened tree trunk
A blackened tree trunk

There are no facilities apart from a car park, so we teamed this walk up with a picnic at the Jolly’s Lookout picnic area (a couple of minutes in the car back towards the city). The vistas are good out past Lake Samsonvale and beyond. There are toilets and bbq areas (no wood collection from the forest), and one large undercover area at the lookout.

What a Jolly Lookout...
What a Jolly Lookout…
A good spot for lunch
A good spot for lunch

Inormation on D’Aguilar National Park can be found at http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/daguilar/about.html

What a lovely morning out on a glorious winter’s day. A family member brought home a leech from this walk so maybe tuck the little peoples’ pants into their socks just to be safe.

Is it a bird, a plane, no, it’s a whistling kite!

Fully adjustable and reversible sun bonnets using classic styling and contemporary, natural fabrics
Fully adjustable and reversible sun bonnets using classic styling and contemporary, natural fabrics

The Whistling Kite has been industrious of late. I have been busy with an infant on one arm, a sewing machine on the other and a toddler wrapped around my legs. Hooray! Welcome to the official launch of the Whistling Kite Collective. I am very excited to open my Etsy store www.whistlingkite.etsy.com


My store is loaded with some beautiful sun bonnets to suit newborns to children of around 3 ½ years of age. I have also loaded my sun bonnets page with images of my latest custom orders- the “House Party” and the “Super Deluxe”. The jewellery range is coming soon- earrings for mum and a matching bonnet for her baby!

Fancy floral and indigo, stretch denim
Fancy floral and indigo, stretch denim

This blog is being loaded with bushwalk reviews, the Journey of Wellness and a More Natural Life series of posts. The Journey of Wellness series covers my attempts to love myself and those around me completely, without judgement or condition. The More Natural Life series examines how to use nature’s gifts to create a better life.

Cedar Creek is perfect for water play
Bush walk reviews, toddler adventuring and more…

As many of you know, I am a botanist, so there will always be an appreciation of beautiful plants and the natural world. I also love to cook, so frequently upload sweet and savoury recipes.

There are some ultra beautiful locations being reviewed soon- stay tuned!
There are some ultra beautiful locations being reviewed soon- stay tuned!

Want to make contact? whistlingkitecollective@gmail.com

Want to like us on Facebook? www.facebook.com/whistlingkitecollective

We are holding a market stall on 31 August in Brisbane, Australia. The Mathilda Market is a boutique baby, parent, home market with limited run, handmade products. I will have an amazing introductory market special available.

Thank you so much for your support. I really appreciate it. I would love it if you could share widely, tell everyone you know about the Whistling Kite Collective and send me all your good luck vibes!


Xanthorrhoea and Banksia Track Loop- Chermside Hills Reserve

Welcome to the Whistling Kite Collective’s Great Places to Visit series. This is where I review bushwalks and natural areas. Enjoy!

The Chermside Hills Reserve is a great natural area of Brisbane. This beautiful area is only 12 kilometres north of the CBD. Honestly, residents of this city are just so lucky to have such wonderful habitat places on their doorstep.

This wonderful area provides critical habita linkage and a variety of walking and cycling tracks.
This wonderful area provides critical habitat linkage and a variety of walking and cycling tracks.

This important bushland area provides a critical habitat link between the mountains and the coast (known as the Mountains to Mangroves Corridor). The Downfall Creek Environment Centre (open Monday to Friday at 815 Rode Rod, Chermside West) is a good starting and finishing point, as the site also offers a resource centre, track maps, indoor aquariums, activity sheets, touch and feel tables, water, timber playground, undercover bbqs and picnic tables and open grassed areas). The side of the Environment Centre wall is a painted mural of native animals in their habitats. My toddler loves this mural.

Lots of animals and bright colours attract little people to the wall.
Lots of animals and bright colours attract little people to the wall.
The shaded timber playground suits a variety of ages.
The shaded timber playground suits a variety of ages.

This Eucalyptus forest offers a variety of bikeways and walking tracks. The Xanthorrhoea and Banksia Track Loop bushwalk is a good distance for small children (about 1.2 kilometres and also suitable for prams as it is bitumen).  There is a good diversity of vegetation structure and floristics supporting abundant wildlife to engage the whole family.

Wide, sealed paths are suitable for prams in a natural forest setting.
Wide, sealed paths are suitable for prams in a natural forest setting.

Sensory play provided by this forest  include large logs, a timber bridge, small branches, crunchy understorey, rough grass trees, smooth eucalypt trunks and branches, shimmering tree sap from the iron barks, colourful leaves, glistening spiders’ webs and birds’ nests.

In autumn and winter the Banksias are in flower. These large, golden “candlesticks” are full of nectar. Little fingers and tongues retrieved the nectar from these flowers. “Very yummy nectar mummy!” We managed to leave some behind for the sugar gliders! This was a highlight of the walk through the Banksia track section

Banksia nectar is delicious for sugar gliders and toddlers! Photo courtesy of anbg.gov.au
Banksia nectar is delicious for sugar gliders and toddlers! Photo courtesy of anbg.gov.au










The Xanthorrhoea track runs along the southern section of a small gully where we have seen swamp wallabies on a few occasions. “If we pat him, he might jump away”.  There are also plenty of bush turkeys, lizards and other birds in the area.

This area provides a good half day out when combined with a picnic or bbq lunch afterwards at the Environment Centre grounds. You can build your own adventure in this forest as several tracks can be linked for larger walks. Track maps are available online (http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/documents/environment/bushlandandwaterways_chermside_hills_reserves_track_map.pdf) or from the Environment Centre Monday to Friday.

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How we rock the forest

You don't need to pack the kitchen sink when rockin' the forest with small children.
You don’t need to pack the kitchen sink when rockin’ the forest with small children.

We love bush walking as a family. We adventure almost weekly. It brings us together and provides for beautiful shared experiences. Our standard kit is shown below. Various items are added to subtracted depending on the conditions and duration of the walk.

Ergobaby soft carrier
What would I do without this carrier? It is by far my best ever baby purchase. Mine has a handy zip pocket that can carry a nappy, mobile phone, small camera and keys. Our infant is carried in this. She can breast feed, sleep, chat and admire the surroundings. Of course, she wears her Whistling Kite Collective bonnet for enhanced bushwalking comfort!

Kathmandu framed carrier
Our lovely toddler can generally walk great distances for a little person, but sometimes she needs to be carried for a rest.  This carrier is good, but there are many on the market. This carrier also has a zipped storage area that can carry most items required for a half day walk. She is up high and can see over Dad’s shoulders.
kathmandu carrier

Insulated lunch box
Healthy snacks and more substantial lunch items.  For a half day walk we usually take sandwiches, fruit, crackers, natural yoghurt, crackers, assorted dried fruits and nuts; packed with an ice brick.
lunch box

Melobaby nappy change wallet.
There are lots of brands available, but I love this as it has removable microfibre change mats. I holds four disposable nappies, plastic bags for used nappies, small bottle of hand sanitiser, wet wipes and a spare flannel cloth. Now we have two children, we use disposable nappies for bushwalking.

We have a Sanyo video and still camera, plus the cameras on our phones. My Ergobaby carrier pouch holds this camera for quick access. I find that my Nikon DSLR is too large for on-the-go photography when we are with our children. It only comes on particularly scenic walks or when I know flowers are on display.

One pair of spare pants for each child.
If we are beach or creek walking, then I pack a whole replacement outfit!

Water- two bottles

30 + Sunscreen
This is applied prior to our walk and we carry some with us. Its absolutely essential for young children in Queensland, Australia.

Small microfiber travel towel.

If I am taking the girls for a walk by myself our walks are shorter and our kit is very minimal! We always have suitable footwear for each adventure…

Bellbird Grove – Brisbane Forest Park and D’Aguilar National Park

Quality creek exploration
Quality creek exploration

Brisbane residents are super lucky to have this wonderful place only 25 minutes from CBD.

The Turrbal Loop Circuit is an easy walk comprising a few wide steps, boardwalk and a soft path suitable for toddlers. It is 1.7 km long, so depending on the age of your children, some carrying may be involved (more on how we rock the forest coming soon- stay tuned). From the beautiful Rose Gum Picnic Area, the track winds through flooded gums and continues along Cedar Creek.

The vegetation is beautiful, ranging from woodland with a grassy understorey to wet riparian mixed forest with a shaded, herbaceous ground layer. I even saw basal leaves of ground orchids today (hooray)!

Walk on one track, or both to add distance.
Walk on one track, or both to add distance.

This very nice walk offers small children a range of sensory experiences including steps, boardwalk, bridge crossings, stone paths, pebbly beaches, crystal clear water, tadpoles, insects, fallen debris, colourful leaves, forest fruits (like red lilly pilly berries), bellbirds, birdsong and river rocks.

Cedar Creek is perfect for water play
Cedar Creek is perfect for water play

Facilities include undercover and outdoor picnic tables, bbq’s, toilets, water and open grassy areas.