Humans of the Wheatbelt

Humans of the Wheatbelt is a disability project that celebrates inclusion within the community.

There is always someone in each story that has a disability whether it is the human, interviewer, photographer or writer.

I’ve been an English teacher at Northam Senior High School for many years and I’m also involved in the Humans of the Wheatbelt Project as a writer. English was always my thing because I loved reading and writing more than anything else. Making money out of writing is hard, but it’s my passion and I love doing it anyway.

I was born in England and lived there until my family moved to Western Australia when I was eight. I grew up in the northern suburbs of Perth and my first teaching appointment was in Merredin in 2006. At the time I had a very young family and my wife Georgie and I were only twenty-three. We had been childhood sweethearts and had been together since Year 10. That first year of teaching was hard work for Georgie and I. Ella was just a baby and Leon was born the following year.

At the end of 2006, I applied for a number of jobs in the Wheatbelt and managed to get one in Northam. We bought a block in York but we couldn’t afford to build on it at that time. York seemed like a happening place to us with all the festivals and events that were on throughout the year. We lived in Northam for about five years before finally moving into our new house in York in 2011. It was around that time that Georgie started working at the high school in Northam. We were separated in 2014, which made things interesting at work because she’s a HASS teacher and I’m in English so those departments are right next door to each other. It was even more interesting in 2016 when I was her boss for part of the time. I was supposed to be in charge, but it just didn’t seem possible!

When Ella and Leon were younger, we used to be involved in a lot of kids’ sport. They played hockey for many years and at one stage I coached Ella’s basketball team in York. I’m also involved with the KSP Writers’ Centre in Greenmount. I’ve been a writer-in-residence there and now I’m on their literary committee. There was a writers’ festival in the Avon Valley for a few years, but that seems to be on hiatus now.

I actually met my second wife, Naomi, at a writers’ group. Years ago there was a book and games shop in the Woolworths Boulevard. The owner had a sign in her window for a writers’ group, so I went along and met two people who would end up being close friends, Naomi and a primary school teacher called Graeme. Unfortunately, the shop closed down soon after, but the writers’ group continues to this day. Naomi is a passionate reader like me and these days she’s a regular customer of the Book Shed in Northam. She’s always buying books from the posts on Facebook and there’s always a pile of books for us to collect from Kaz.

Naomi and I were married in 2016 and we have an almost two-year-old called Roman. My older kids are fourteen and twelve now, so there’s a big age gap. In a way I enjoy fatherhood better the second time, because I took a lot of things for granted when I was younger. The second time around, I’m more aware of the fact that things will change and that Roman won’t be a toddler forever, so I’m not in a hurry for him to grow up.

The most memorable moments of my life involve the births of my children. I remember that when Ella was born, the moment she emerged her skin was purple. I saw her take her first breath and her colour changed from purple to pink. When Leon was born, the first thing he did was piss all over the floor! And when Roman was born, the nurses had hustled me out of the room while the surgeon got Naomi ready for her caesarean, so the first I saw of him he was already on the scales crying his lungs out. So I joke to Naomi that I have no actual proof that Roman is our child.

My piece of advice for younger people is to find something in life that you enjoy and are good at, because when you enjoy what you’re doing you’ll be much happier. I’ve come to realise that you really do need to find happiness in your life and, because we spend so much of our time at work, you should find work that makes you happy if you can.

Human - Guy Salvidge
Interviewers - Shannon Boundry, Anna Clements, Paula Whittington
Photographer - Anna Cornish

Humans of the Wheatbelt is a Wheatbelt Health Network project supported by Department of Communities.

Northam Senior High School Shire of Northam


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The Wheatbelt Health Network offers support including General Practice, Nursing, Mental Health, Allied Health and Visiting Specialists.

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NORTHAM

Wheatbelt Health Centre
25 Holtfreter Avenue, Northam
Phone: 08 9621 4444
Open: 8am-6pm Mon – Fri

Aboriginal Health - Northam
65 Wellington Street, Northam
Phone: 08 9690 2824

TOODYAY

Alma Beard Medical Centre
81 Stirling Tce, Toodyay
Phone: 08 9578 2500
Open: 8.30am – 5pm Mon – Fri

WUNDOWIE

Wundowie Health Centre
GP Services
283 Boronia Ave, Wundowie
Phone: 08 9621 4444
Open: 8.30am – 4pm Wednesdays

NARROGIN

Aboriginal Health - Narrogin
Williams Road, Narrogin
Phone: 08 9881 0385
Open: 8.30am – 4.30pm Mon – Tues

After hours medical assistance: In an emergency call 000 or present to your nearest Regional Hospital emergency department. If you have a non- emergency and would like to consult with a GP then call Telstra Health on 1800 225 523. The service is free to access for Australian residents who reside in the wheatbelt or who are temporarily residing in the Wheatbelt. This service can be accessed before 8am and after 6pm Monday-Friday, before 8am and after 12pm Saturday and all day Sunday and any Public Holidays. Thank you to Western Australia Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) for funding this service.

  • 25 Holtfreter Avenue, Northam

  • 81 Stirling Tce, Toodyay

  • 65 Wellington Street, Northam

  • Williams Road, Narrogin

  • 283 Boronia Ave, Wundowie

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