At the age of three, Ann Jones arrived from Sydney with her parents and her sister to live on a sheep and cattle property in the Gulf of Carpentaria, where the family remained for the major part of World War II. It was this experience that inspired her to put her creativity to work and document a way of life that has long since gone.
Since her first labourious encounters with correspondence lessons at the kitchen table, education and motherhood have been the major focuses of Ann’s life. She became a teacher by default ‘to escape the expected female career as a shorthand-typist’ and discovered a lifetime vocation.
She tutored in Speech Remediation and lectured in Practical Studies at James Cook University and Australian Catholic University in Brisbane and taught in various roles in Papua New Guinea where she and her husband lived for a number of years.
She now enjoys retirement on Bribie Island.
from Are We There Yet?
Dad stopped the car and switched off the engine. I tried to speak through the film of dust that swirled about us, but I was winded by the drop into the pothole. Mum opened the car door and moved quickly to take me in her arms, and, while I struggled to regain my breath, she held me gently until my lungs resumed their normal rhythm.
Dad unfolded his body from the confines of the Ford to examine the damage. He ran his fingers through his crew cut and said, ‘I hope we haven’t done the axle.’ To ‘do an axle’ in such an isolated place was a serious mishap. We were miles from anywhere with no communication facility and the sun was scorching. When he completed his inspection Dad expressed his relief to Mum, ‘We’ve only blown a tyre, May. I’ll have to patch it, so you may as well put the billy on.’ He was a tall young man, thirty-three years old, with a head of thick, black hair and a heavy, black beard that demanded a twice-daily shave. Because he loved life in the bush and enjoyed working with stock, he had augmented his academic education in Sydney at an Agriculture College.
Mum was two years younger than Dad and had been brought up on a prosperous sheep property in Western Queensland. She was the eldest daughter in a family of ten and received her formal education at a boarding school that embraced the arts. She was a tall girl with fair skin and long, black hair pinned up in the fashion of the day, as a bun at the nape of her neck. She had a happy disposition, loved people and, like Dad, loved life in the country.