A Child’s Christmas in New South Wales

As Christmas nears, are your childhood memories happy or bitter sweet? Fruity-rich but dark as a Dylan Thomas poem? After the arid outback of NW Queensland, I loved holidays in northern New South Wales.

Our holiday near Byron Bay draws to an end after the family Christmas dinner at the redbrick riverside house at Brunswick Heads. Uncle KJ is present, shaven and dressed in his Sunday best. I am too concerned with my own rumbling tummy to notice him. I am ten years old, a sixth child of eight.Ruth-Bonetti-koala-child

Being small fry, I am relegated to a coffee table overflow at the celebration with uncles, aunts and cousins. My nostrils flare as plates laden with turkey, ham and vegetables pass along the tables—then halt. Granddad pronounces the blessing. Over the rattle of cutlery I chirp several times before they hear, ‘Where’s mine?’ Mum scrabbles another plateful together.

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Now, as an adult, I visit the redbrick house by the Brunswick River, marvel at the changes, and value opportunities for family to share special times together.

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This year I’ll invite others less fortunate to share our bounty.

And may enough ham and turkey reach your end of the table!

Blessings for a happy Christmas!

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