HighCast 043 – Jenny Kingham

Jenny is a highlands local and self published author.

Jenny is the first author I’ve had on the podcast and the latest in a line of creative types. I’m fascinated by creative people, their drive, their passion and their ability to see life differently. 

Jenny is funny and thoughtful. Her ability to transcend moments into meaning is clearly one of the reasons she has been driven to articulate some of her life moments into fiction for all of us to enjoy.

Jenny’s type of story is the reason I started HighCast. The story of a local person doing something they find meaningful and important for no other reason than that they wanted to.

It speaks volumes about the democratisation of creativity that Jenny has been able to get her story to the world. I’m glad our creative paths have crossed.

Thanks Jenny!

HighCast 042 – Barry Smith

Barry is a highlands local and co-founder of Bowral Parkrun and Highlands Triathlon Club.

Barry is a quiet, unassuming guy. By day he is a dentist, you can tell he really cares about his children, family and creating environments for them to be health and happy. I admire that. We don’t celebrate everyday hero’s like Barry enough, we’re so focussed on celebrity and mediocrity that we forget that community is built by people like Barry and we’re all better for it.

Barry either plays it down or truly doesn’t realise the impact he’s had on highlands community. Through establishing the local parkrun and triathlon club he’s brought health and adventure to so many peoples lives.

If we all had half the impact that Barry has had the world would truly be an amazing place.

Thanks for being a guest on HighCast Barry!

HighCast 041 – Mel Woodbury Kwong

Mel is a Bowral local, ex ballet dancer and Chinese medicine practitioner.

Mel has practiced ballet at the highest level, yet despite that, she is humble about her achievement. She is more than humble, she’s not ashamed of what she has achieved but I get the sense that it doesn’t define her and she is still seeking for something that does.

Her passion for movement is clear. There is a grace and poise in her thoughts and it is reflected in the words she chooses to describe her love of Aikido. As a martial arts practitioner myself I understand her desire to be fluid in her art and her everyday life.

I didn’t realise how in depth the study of Chinese medicine is. I have a new found appreciation for the combination of science and wisdom demonstrated in the practice. It’s brilliant to talk with a person who takes both the science and the personal into consideration when understanding human pain and consequence. Here was I thinking perhaps it was all woo woo…

I left the conversation with Mel feeling complicated and bombastic. Mel is humble and understated. We’re lucky to have her here in the highlands. Thanks Mel.

HighCast 040 – Laurence Manser

Laurence is a stick insect enthusiast and martial arts instructor.

What a great discussion. Apart from the fact that we had a few technical difficulties and I could barely talk this discussion was informative and fun.

Laurence is a quirky, funny and thoughtful man. If I hadn’t of started HighCast I probably would never have discovered his interests and learnt about the interesting world of stick insects and bugs. I might have watched a documentary about them but it wouldn’t be the same.

It really goes to show that we don’t interact enough as humans anymore. We see someone, judge them based on superficial grounds and then move on like ships in the night, but if we don’t connect over conversation, how are we to learn the intricacies of talents, hobbies and joys.

I don’t know why I’m surprised anymore. Each conversation opens up a realm of discovery and engagement I didn’t have previously. This one was no different. Thanks Laurence.


HighCast 039 – Charlotte Pointeaux

Charlotte is a highlands local and founder at Sister Souls Mentoring.

Charlotte came to HighCast prepared. She had a book of notes full of facts and points she wanted to cover off in our discussion. We got through most of them, but like most of my podcast discussions, we meandered and muddled away across broad and varied topics in doing so.

Charlotte is one of those rare people that want to talk about meaningful things. She isn’t satisfied to go through life without pondering what is important, what motivates us and what the bloody hell are we doing here?

It’s not often that I get to meet people like Charlotte but when I do I can tell straight away that we’re going to get along. She gets it. I can’t really explain what it is, rather to say that she is able to converse about spirituality and life beyond what most are willing or able.

I’m really keen to watch Sister Souls Mentoring grow and evolve. You can tell Charlotte has founded it for deeply personal and passionate reasons. In our conversation we pondered whether helping individuals was the way to build community resilience. I think it is and I think Charlotte is helping our community become stronger with every young woman she mentors.

I feel like the world is a better place having Charlotte in it and I’m a better person for knowing her.

Thanks Charlotte.


HighCast 038 – Carolyn Smee + Joseph Lyons

Carolyn is a DJ and owner of Smeebiz does good things. Joseph is Marketing Manager, Interchange Australia.

In a time where everything is commercialised and meaning is disparate, music, primal and heady is a beacon for hippy’s and marketers alike. It was within this realm that I conversed with Carolyn and Joseph about music, life and community and how music is a means of creativity, passion and unity.

Whether or not we love Prince and Kanye, we can all bond over music. We can come together through lyrics, melody and beat. It’s like our hearts pound at different rhythms but in the end they’re all beating and that’s what matters.

This is particularly true of the Rockcan initiative Carloyn and Joseph support. It’s people of all abilities rocking, dancing and playing together. If this isn’t what community is about I don’t know what is.

In the wake of a (at the time of writing this too close to call Whentworth by-election) that proved decisive in it’s message to our leaders, the vision of those that bring us together couldn’t be brighter.

Thanks Carolyn and Joseph shining through music.


I got a bee hive and bees

I blogged a while back about wanting bees and I’d ordered a bee hive, it turned up…

I opened the box and to my, *insert sarcastic eye roll*, I purchased a really expensive piece of ikea furniture, complete with obligatory construction tool…

I’m not the most patient or precise of people at the best of times so I took the hives production as an exercise in exactly those things. I did OK but could have been better.

Last week John Scott from Eezy Beez called me to collect a swarm, so off we went, and we did…

Now the bees are just chillin in front yard…

Can’t wait to put hive together properly and start collecting honey..!

HighCast 037 – Judy Hannan

Judy is a Wollondilly local, Mayor of Wollondilly Shire Council and independent candidate for seat of Wollondilly in 2019 NSW state election.

I’m glad to have conversed with Judy today. She comes across as warm, friendly and with a kind heart. You can tell she has a keen intelligence and wit, and is genuine about her desire to make a difference.

Our conversation ranged across a number of topics but with a central theme of authenticity and accountability in politics. We bemoaned the lack of authenticity in current political debate and culture and the need for grass roots, local and real political activism.

Judy is current Mayor of Wollondilly Shire Council and has been involved in local council for a long period, you get glimpses of “politician” you see on the television and hear on the radio, but mostly she is just a mum who wants to make sure her community can put food on the table and might have enough for a well earned trip to Disney World, I like that, we need more of Judy and less career politician in politics.

I’m sure if Judy and I got into the ins and outs of her politics we’d find lots that we disagree on however today we saw eye to eye. Two people, of different communities and world views who come together to talk about reasonable people, displaying common sense whilst achieving balanced outcomes across economy, environment and community.

I welcome a discussion with any politician, local, state or federal from our community, but you better be as personable and reasonable as Judy 😛

Thanks Judy.


HighCast 036 – Susan Conroy

Susan is a Southern Tablelands local and Executive Director of Southern Tablelands Arts.

When I met Susan she was limping and using a crutch to support herself when walking after a leg injury…

I thought to myself, I might need to push this discussion a bit, but I was not prepared for the dynamo that is Susan. I should have realised that the fact she’d come to the Wingecarribee from Goulburn with only one leg meant that Susan is a woman of action and one prepared to discover the world around her.

Discover she has, a one time social practitioner, Susan is now an arts administrator who uses her role to build stronger and more resilient communities through creativity. It’s funny how as a person who’s profession it is to prevent catastrophe I feel that in many ways, through her work to build social connections, engagement and empowerment, Susan is doing more to mitigate disaster than most emergency service workers.

I was delighted to hear Susan muse on the role of the creative process and creative people. We take our lives so seriously these days, we’re in such a rush to complete all the mundane tasks, that sometimes we don’t appreciate the beauty in our world and take the time to explore meaning and purpose. Susan facilitates us all to do this and I feel better knowing that she is…

I recently read a quote about career. It went along the lines of don’t focus on jobs rather on building relationships with like minded people who have positive, can do,  attitudes and you’ll find really fulfilling opportunities. After meeting Susan I feel like she embodies this and I’m slowly learning from people like her…

Another fantastic conversation – Thanks Susan.


HighCast 035 – Tony Pycroft

Tony is a highlands local and owner of Pure Jiu Jitsu Southern Highlands.

What a story..!

I was sooooo not expecting it. I mention to most guests that I try not to prepare too much. I prepare enough to know what I can converse about if the conversation isn’t really going anywhere but not enough that I loose elements of discovery and intrigue. In this conversation it would never have mattered.

From the outset Tony was incredibly honest and sincere. He told his story with bravery and integrity and with a contentment that only comes from people who have faced their adversity and conquered it.

Tony found martial arts after struggles with drugs and alcohol. Through martial arts he found passion and love and a meaning for life he didn’t have before.

I can see a lot of myself in Tony. I haven’t been to the depths that he has but I know people who have, and I’ve given the party life a fairly good shake, so I have a certain understanding about his trials and tribulations.

Since the podcast went live I’ve had a couple of people tell me that this is my most interesting podcast so far. Whether or not it is, I’ll leave to you, but I can tell you that I’m a better person for having the conversation and doing this podcast.

If anything, through telling Tony’s story, my redemption becomes clearer.

Thanks Tony!