Small Towns, Big Souls. / by Emily Ellis

If you live in rural or regional Australia, you will know about emergency medical care flights to a capital city. You will know someone who's endured one or you'll have been on one yourself. On the two occasions I had to stay at our nearest base hospital in Orange with my children I thought about it a lot.

I was so grateful that if things took a turn for the worse and we did end up on that night flight to big city health care, at least my family (who are from Sydney) would be there. To stay with and to visit us, to support us emotionally and physically.

This is a luxury most country people are without.

At the end of last winter when Anthony (dad) got sick (really sick) and this beautiful family faced the emergency flight to Sydney followed by a Leukaemia diagnosis and an extended stay; meaning many months off work, huge accommodation costs and constant travel. The local community got together and raised nearly $30K for them. Anthony, Pene (mum) and their insanely gorgeous children Indy, Layla and Arlo.

Months later when Anthony had been transferred back to Orange Base and was heading in the right direction, I was at a local playgroup and Pene confessed to me that when Anthony was really bad she thought about how few photos she had of him and the kids. She had started looking into hiring a photographer. I knew (quietly) that I could do it - so I am immensely pleased and proud to have had the opportunity.

I hope their warmth comes out of the screen at you. They really are the most unpretentious, salt-of-the-earth people. The pictures were taken on Pene’s parent’s farm where she grew up. She showed me “The Train Tree” she would play on with her sisters. Plus a rather large (enormous!) group of full-grown poddy lambs.

“Mum and Dad's poddy lambs" she said rolling her eyes. "Once they have a name they’re not going anywhere”. I wasn’t surprised, it made perfect sense.

Enjoy.

Em xx