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.

Carrie Edwards

I grew up predominantly in the Bullsbrook area. My parents moved to Roebourne for a few years but we moved back when I was in Grade 1. I married my brother's best friend and he was a Gingin boy, so we lived there before moving to Bullsbrook. Eventually we ended up back in Gingin. We have three girls and one boy. They did their primary schooling in Gingin and their high schooling at La Salle in Midland. The bus would go as far as Muchea and then it would be a forty-five minute drive to the farm.

My husband loved working in the outdoors and so we started our own turf farm. Our eldest was eighteen by then so she didn't come with us but the other three did and we lived in a shed for about six years. Eventually we got an old dilapidated transportable and I did that up. Our eldest went to England on a two-year working visa, and by the time she was due to come home she'd met this Irish boy in London and that was that. They moved to Geneva to get a defacto visa and they're still there now. We visited when our first grandchild was born and thankfully we also visited a second time in December 2019 when the second baby was born. We were sitting at the table reading about Coronavirus and saying, 'I drink Corona, ha ha ha'. Two months later, boom.

Currently I have a daughter and a son here and our youngest daughter lives in Ellenbrook. The daughter who's here has two little boys who she's sole parenting, so we see a lot of them. My husband and I had our kids early and we thought we'd be child-free by now but here we are babysitting and running daycare. The other two kids haven't produced yet so we'll do it in two waves.

I went back to study after I started working at Gingin Community Resource Centre. I did a certificate in IT and then a few years ago I did my Diploma in Business Management. I much prefer studying as an adult. I was right into it and I wanted to achieve, with none of the attitude I had when I was at school!

Here's my CRC 2008 we were in the little sergeant's house at the end of the police station receiving $20,000 a year from the state government. We were in a tiny little place and interest was growing. We had more people wanting to do courses than we could accommodate and we were bursting out of our skin. We launched a campaign for a bigger building which we funded and built ourselves. We received council support but they didn't think we'd ever get the money together. The stars aligned and the planets shifted. We got the money and bang, up she went. Now we have a full-time trainee, an assistant manager bookkeeper and a community assistant. We've been an auspicing partner for the local community group and they have their meetings here. We do fundraising and we've been out to the mines doing sausage sizzles and God knows what else. Now everyone in town is involved and it's self-perpetuating.

The best single moment of my life would be the birth of my first grandson. I was ready for grandchildren for years before that. As for bad moments, I suffered post-natal depression after the birth of our last child. At the time I didn't take pills, but in hindsight now I would. My husband and I had been turf farming for about eight years and we'd absolutely busted our guts. We weren't making money and I told him I didn't want to do this anymore. We put the farm up for sale and it took so long to sell. You're between a rock and a hard place and you get deeper in debt the whole time.

One of my hobbies is cooking. I love to eat and you can't always expect someone else to cook for you. On the weekends I get up and faff around in the house and wonder what we're having for dinner. I have often said to people that I wished I had the confidence now that I had when I was eighteen. At that age I thought I could do anything. I don't think fifty-two year-old Carrie has the same confidence. My advice is that if you start off strong in something, maintain it. My only burning desire right now is to see my grandchildren in Geneva again.

Human – Carrie Edwards
Interviewer & photographer - Anna Cornish
Writer – Guy Salvidge

Humans of the Wheatbelt is supported by the State Government through the Wheatbelt Development Commission and managed by Wheatbelt Health Network.

#wheatbelt #inclusion #humans

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

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65 Wellington Street, Northam
Phone: 08 9690 2824
Open: 8.30am-4.30pm Mon – Thurs

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Alma Beard Medical Centre
81 Stirling Tce, Toodyay
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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

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