Sunday 29 December 2013


A few months ago I was watching 60 Minutes with my three children. "I used to work for 60 Minutes you know", I told them. My 13 year old son answered cheerily and with a loving smile, "You say that about everything Mum".  

I realised he was right!  I often told my children things like, "I used to model with that actor" in the movie we were watching, or, "I was on assignment with that CNN reporter" when trying to get them interested in global affairs, and, "I used to go out with that rock star", when hollering to turn the music down. I could see their eyes rolling when I'd pipe up in passing, "I've been with those Gorilla's in the Mist", and as Man Versus Wild skydived out of an airplane, "I used to do that". Then, as Angelina Jolie drives through drought stricken Africa in 'Beyond Borders', I cant help but say  " I'm still doing that". 

Its not that my children don't believe me, its just that most of it was before their time. When I asked them what they would answer if someone were to inquire as to what their mother did for a living, they shrugged their shoulders and chimed "I don't know". So my little babies, this blog site is for you.......and anyone else who is interested.


Thank goodness there was no Twitter, Facebook or Blogs when I was a teenager

If my diaries are anything to go by, putting my teenage mind out there on Facebook would have caused me endless grief.I was 13 when I first scribbled into a secret little book whose page borders were gilded with gold, the words "Dear Diary'. In it I  poured out the thoughts of my young, vacillating and self obsessed mind, like kids do today on Facebook. Although the only person who saw my raw words was Mum because no matter where I tried to hide my diaries, she knew my room better than I did. There was no such thing as a password on my dairies. Today, I can't see what's being pumped onto my children's Facebook pages, but almost the rest of the world can!

I also want to demonstrate to my progeny that I too was once a teen. That some things are just timeless between generations: being obsessed with the opposite sex, and being permanently annoyed at your parents for one. While other things change beyond recognition, like some of the words we use, and technology.  I hope my children and their friends will comment and discuss the differences and similarities on this site, and not cringe too much with embarrassment as they do when I laugh hysterically at my own jokes in front of their friends, and pretend I'm cool.I hope other readers will add memories of their own.

My mother is a Dutch immigrant and my late father, Australian from New England of long ago Scottish decent. After a few years living in London and Holland my father stashed my elegant and beautiful mother away in the Blue Mountains, where I spent the rest of my childhood with my sister Jenny. 

I was School Captain of Blaxland Primary School. I then went to Springwood High School where life clocked over day after day, year after year, punctuated with drama, boredom, excitement, boys, our group, sport, study and coming of age situations.

Then one day I didn't win the "Miss Golden Girl of Netball" competition judged by model agent June Dally Watkins. The competition was contested by a photo of oneself playing netball. In the photo submitted of me, I looked deformed beyond all recognition, like I was free falling horizontally at 230 km's an hour. But my legs, blurry as they were, got me to the finals! 

Then on another day after a home life of happiness and harmony, my father announced that he had fallen in love with someone not much older than me who had two little boys, and he was leaving us.

These two events - and growing up in what is now a UNESCO listed World Heritage National Park - were the life changing and character forming happenings of my teenage years.

My diaries were my best friend and confident. Although I lost a few important years, they mostly survived until just last year when some suffered water damage.

The blogs to follow from here will be extracts from my teenage diaries starting 1975.

             Diary 1975                                                                                                    Diary 1976

Written By Petra Campbell

Twitter: @petraau