HighCast 046 – Alex McFadden

Alex is an emergency service professional.

I have regular existential conversations with Alex, this one just happened to be recorded. Alex is opinionated and challenging, she is articulate and thoughtful, and is able to converse on many topics.

Being an emergency service professional she is really interested in community well-being and it came through in this conversation. I really enjoyed exploring topics of sustainability and the big picture that we can sometimes ignore when considering overall community resilience and how we plan for and manage the future.

Thanks Alex for the considered and robust discussion. I look forward to making an appearance on your podcast too…

HighCast 045 – Petrea King

Petrea is founder and CEO of Quest for Life Foundation

Petrea is one of those truly inspiring people that you meet every now and then. A cancer survivor, a mentor and well-being practitioner Petrea seems able to transcend every day life and be in touch with the spiritual and the practical at the same time.

Our conversation got deep. We considered the universe, physics and existentialism. We talked meditation, health and solving big problems that face human kind. I learned more about myself and the world in this hour than I had in a long time.

Through her work Petrea helps people through trauma. I felt healed in her presence, and enthralled by her unique perspective on life. I feel really privileged to have met Petrea and hope she can come on the podcast again.

Thanks Petrea!

HighCast 044 – Nathaniel Smith

Nathaniel is Liberal candidate for upcoming NSW state election in March.

Nathaniel is new to the area and is campaigning on a position of a fresh set of eyes and a safe pair of hands. He talks about wanting to bring his daughters up enjoying the natural beauty that is the highlands and surrounds.

I have a sense that this election will be a close one across the state and within the seat of Wollondilly. On the podcast I got the feeling Nat is trying to differentiate himself from the other center and conservative candidates by appealing to the nostalgic and yearning for the good old days some of us have. I’m not sure if this is the right pitch to an area in which change is inevitable and a candidate who can articulate how they’re going to manage change will have strong appeal, but of course, only time will tell.

Nat is personable, he has politician speak down, but occasionally that breaks and he has a laugh as raucous and joyous and any of us. I hope politics doesn’t take too much of the joy out of him, everyone needs to laugh like Nat. 

My discussion with Nat was the second I’ve had with candidates, more to come, but I’m thankful to Nat for taking the time out to meet with me, an hour long conversation, without the “pitchiness” of normal political ventures is a rare thing.

Thanks Nat.

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..!