Category: Uncategorized

Lillian was a Bookworm – The Incredible Story of the Girl who Loved Books

By , January 11, 2013 12:58 am

Lillian was a Bookworm – The Incredible Story of the Girl who Loved Books

Top of the tide

By , January 7, 2013 5:14 am

Along the shore,

footstep by footstep,

the thin, crisp line wanders.


Meandering along the top of the tide,

it states: I was here, once.

It binds throughout each coastal bay,

every beach and cove,

weaving Australia with a tidal thread of today.


Tomorrow, the moon beckons a different path.

It’s a Pirate’s life for me!

By , August 29, 2012 4:34 am

A Pirates Life for Me!

Country rain – from Switzerland to Nigeria.

By , December 8, 2011 12:54 am

Driving through stinging rain. Grey clouds hang like a shroud, whilst further to the south, sweeping sheets of white cover the hills and fields, causing small streams in paddocks to run, puddling at fence lines.

Today I am going to film a small country funeral for a Swiss woman, who so loved her family that she travelled each year to stay for a 3 month visit. This year she celebrated her 80th birthday, and then passed away very suddenly.

Today and forever her heart will be part Australian.

Already, I am lost. I drive swinging to the right, as I watch open mouthed as my turnoff to Toowoomba veers to the left. I’m confused by the prolific and complicated road works that jam the Ipswich highway. No matter, I have plenty of time, and I take the opportunity to drive through Ipswich and have a good look around though my sweeping windscreen wipers. I’ve heard that Ipswich has changed a lot – a dynamic mayor with his tea cup collection – and innovative city changes, but today I can’t really see anything new. It’s the same old highway, same traffic, same curious collection of white rocks stacked into a pyramid to my right hand side. Very odd. I don’t get it.

Pulling over to the side of the road, I stab at my new android phone for Google maps, and a strange woman’s voice tells me which way to drive. With my phone propped up within the dashboard, it leads me out of this town and back towards the main highway, where my little Astra competes with huge and fast-speeding semis and trucks.

Water everywhere. Thanks goodness for new tyres. Eventually the turnoff to Laidley appears, and I pull left and enjoy scenery. I always imagined living in this small town, I’m not sure why, something about it pulls me towards a slower life. Children in bright gumboots digging within a muddy garden. Cats sleeping in warm window nooks. Dark grey pigeons abridge rooftops watching the town centre. No sooner had I read all the Christian signs and anti abortion posters *country dream popped* than I am driving out of Laidley, heading towards the small crematorium and chapel.

The rain doesn’t ease, and the paddocks surrounding the gorgeous little cemetery are filling with rivers and brown streams of water, anxious to travel and flow. I hop from my car, from small island to small island of mud. My shoes are already soaked. It’s going to be a long day. A large gregarious caretaker called Barry meets me and together we chat for the next 30 minutes about this and that. He tells me of speeding through the cemetery (no clients of course) and how three special black marble headstones glow in the dark. I shiver with delight. “It’s just reflecting the building lights of course” but I won’t listen, I want to hear how they glow and my goose bumps build up and down my legs and arms.

Eventually the family arrive, huge umbrellas are shaken and stored, and raindrops are dusted off black coats. We’ve lost our Catholic priest, a new young man, fresh from Nigeria. A few phone calls later, it seems he has driven to the Plainlands cemetery instead. He’s on his way. We sit and fiddle, adjusting my video angles, rehearsing. Paula, a young blonde Funeral Arranger, tells me that in her experience, a lot of priests “give these families nothing. Nothing! No comfort, nothing.”

Grosse Gatt wir loben ditch plays. Our young priest arrives with an embarrassed face, he quickly changes into his priestly garments and the Service commences. Firstly, a long explanation and deep apology to everyone for keeping them waiting, and soon we all warm to this likeable, sensitive young man with the dark skin who travelled from Africa, performing the Committal rites to an old woman who travelled all the way from Switzerland to die. I love the journey!

He gives them comfort, and hope and faith. He gives them everything!

The widower speaks no English, and seems happy although a little dazed. It must be a shock: she went too quickly. I am there to film so he can take his wife’s memory back home, and show his neighbours that “he did the right thing.” In thirty minutes, it’s over; we exit the Chapel to Ave Marie. Outside, the hugging begins.

I film as gently as I can, without intrusion, and then head back inside to photograph the detail of the flowers. He wants everything preserved in my camera, and I oblige, clicking petals and the silver Cross and the details that catch my eye. The family are so relieved I’m there, and grateful. Umbrellas are popped open and dribs of black-dressed families huddle together, making their way to their cars. Someone takes my own umbrella, by mistake. Oh well, it can be my gift to them.

They are driving now to a local pub, where a long afternoon of schnapps and toasts will begin; and I leave them to their memories, and drive home; through the concrete canyons of Ipswich Road, past the wonky bridges and enormous overhead highway signs, winding my way through the suburbs to arrive to my own home and find a roast pork dinner – complete with homemade apple pie – all ready to be thrown into the oven. Thank you to my son and his girl, for being so thoughtful. I squeal with delight as I see my kitchen, with dishes full of salads, bowls overflowing with potatoes ready to be roasted, the seasonings, the flavours that beckon. Bottles of red wine are opened, and my husband and other son arrive for dinner.

It’s a perfect ending to a lovely day.

A Christmas Story (to be read aloud)

By , November 30, 2011 10:29 pm

T ‘was the night before Christmas

And in Little Bethlehem

Mary’s labour had commenced

“Thank God” she said, “Amen”.


T ‘was the night before Christmas

And Mary’s labour had begun

“I’m glad I’m off that donkey now,

My bottom is quite numb!”


There was no room inside the Inn

Nor motel in sight,

“Looks like it’s to the stables then,”

And she pushed with all her might.


“Though I’d rather have a Boothville Birth,

I’ve heard they’re really neat,

And after babe’s Leboyer birth

We’d stay in the family suite.”


“I’d rather have a Boothville Birth

And Joe can cut the cord.

I’d rather have a Boothville Birth,

After all, it IS the Lord!”


“Next time I’ll have a Boothville Birth

(My last midwife was a cow!)

I’ll join the Auxiliary

And tell my doctor to book me in,

Right now!”


“I’ll subscribe to the newsletter

And tour friends on Open Day

Oh thank God for Boothville babies,

Hip Hip my Lord- HURRAY!


(Written by Patty Beecham with tongue firmly in cheek November 1990)

The Funeral of Jess

By , January 18, 2010 8:00 pm

This was a lovely, very sad funeral for a beautiful young woman, who’s favourite colour was purple.

“Having watched Patty photograph at a funeral I can certainly recommend her style of work. She is bold yet non-intrusive, appropriately creative with her approach to capturing the memories of such an important event as a funeral in the life of a family. Then looking through her DVD post-production, I was impressed with the quality of the finished product. Patty is someone I would tell other people about, to use her services in capturing the memories of any special event!” February 14, 2010 Bruce Wadd, Celebrant

Life Must Go On

By , January 17, 2010 10:14 pm

Grieve for me, for I would grieve for you.

Then brush away the sorrow and the tears

Life is not over, but begins anew,

With courage you must greet the coming years.

To live forever in the past is wrong;

It can only cause you misery and pain.

Dwell not on memories overlong,

With others you must share and care again.

Reach out and comfort those who comfort you;

Recall the years, but only for a while.

Nurse not your loneliness; but live again.

Forget not.

Remember with a smile.

Navaho Prayer

Terry’s Funeral

By , December 12, 2009 8:26 am

Terry’s daughter approached me to photograph her late father’s funeral, and when I delivered the DVD to her the following day, she told me she probably wouldn’t watch it, only look at the photographs. I told her that was okay, but I’d prefer her to watch the DVD, as the effects and music help ‘paint a picture’ and it all helps with the grieving process. If you cry, hey that’s okay too, it’s healthy and natural to do so. The following day the daughter phoned her Funeral Director and said “I was totally blown away, it was so beautiful” – so I must have done good, right?

Your Story Ep 39: Patty. Funeral Photography, Web Cams and Radio Personality.

By , December 11, 2009 11:04 am

This is an introduction to my interview on Ian Kath’s wonderful podcast site Your Story.

I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Ian earlier in 2009, over cafe glasses of water and a delightful West End afternoon. Make sure you check out Ian’s site, and watch his Tango and travel videos, and of course the other podcasts and interviews. Good one Ian!

Listen now.
Outrageous, vivacious and exuberant (along with some off mic cussing) is what you get when you meet Patty Beecham. It’s a name I haven’t heard for years but there it is in my Twitter stream. Fancy that, you can meet celebrities on Twitter, well you can decide where on the A to Z celebrity line she sits.

As someone who recognised her name I had to go and check out her site and see what she’s been up to all these years. That’s where I listened to her radio cross as she climbed the Story Bridge (long before the safety harnesses of bridge climb) and where I discovered her Funeral Photography and Living Wakes.

Being the daughter of an Anglican Priest, Patty respectfully captures the farewell moments of a persons funeral, that in time when the grieving relatives are ready can be viewed remembering the day they said goodbye with slide shows and DVD’s.

I remembered Patty from her days with Peter Dick on breakfast at 612 4QR, ABC Local Radio nearly 20 years ago. She was the roving reporter who was sent on the “interesting” assignments to give the breakfast show some entertainment, sometimes at the cost of poor Patty being the brunt of the adventures. To get a bit of a feel for the mayhem that ensured check out this archive of the Breakfast Show below, or listen to various episodes of the ABC Brisbane Breakfast Show here . *scroll down to the best bits, lol.

Listen to my interview here .

I see what you don’t see

By , December 10, 2009 11:26 am

I was speaking to a young friend last weekend about my Funeral Photography. He was trying to get his head around the fact that I wanted to take images, and how passionate I was about doing so. I explained that I viewed my work as a service – I am providing a service for grieving families – and I show them how the funeral went, from my point of view.

For example, years ago I photographed a friend of a friend’s funeral, she was in her mid-forties and left 3 teenagers and a distraught husband behind. Naturally they sat up the front of the church, but what they didn’t know, was there were approx another 300 mourners outside the church, coming to pay their respects.

I took photos of the crowd outside knowing the family would be surprised at the large capacity. Later, he thanked me over and over, saying: “Patty, I had no idea. I had NO idea!”

He was so grateful for my images, and a beautiful album for his teenage children to remember their mum’s funeral by.

In a funeral I photographed a couple of weeks ago, the young adult daughter was visibly distressed after her father’s funeral. I say on my website that private grief is not intruded on, so I thought, I won’t go there, we all deserve to grieve in our own way, and in our own time.

There is no right or wrong, so I continued to train my camera on the coffin.

To my delight, family friends came and began to touch, and then kiss his coffin, with much love and tenderness.

She saw nothing of this, as her face was covered. It was my job, to see what she didn’t see.

I hope one day she can take the time to view the DVD and understand the respect shown to her father. It might be next week, it might be on the first anniversary of passing, it might be in 10 years time, but one day, she will be able to see it, and understand.

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