Cristy Burne

Author, editor, science writer


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A Bibb Track adventure writing competition for young writers

DB_OffTheTrack_WEB 400x200.pngDo you know a young writer who’d love to try their hand at an exciting short story?

I’ll be judging a competition for young writers who’d like to win a signed copy of my latest novel for kids, Off The Track.

What you need to do:

Write a short story about your adventure on the Bibbulmun Track and send it in to friends@bibbulmuntrack.org.au for a chance to win.

Closes: 23rd November 2018
Word Limit: 500 words
Theme: Your Bibbulmun Track adventure
Prize: We’ll be giving away a signed copy of Off The Track to two major prize winners. Runners up will receive a special activity sheet, book mark and more. Plus, entries will be published on The Bibbulmun Track Foundation website.

With thanks to The Bibb Track Foundation:
I’m thrilled to be working with The Bibbulmun Track Foundation on this….

Off The Track was inspired by my family’s own adventures and blisters and marshmallows and hills and dales and uplifting fresh-air experiences on the track.

I was lucky enough to be introduced to hiking by my parents when I was just a kid, and my kids are lucky enough that we also take them hiking. The Bibb is one of our favourite places to go…

Real adventure, right on our doorstep. How lucky are we?!?!?

Bibbulmun Track Cristy Burne.jpg

 

 


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How we hiked the Cape to Cape track: What we packed

Incredible scenery Cape to Cape.jpgIf you’re anything like me, you spend ages fretting and planning and making lists before heading out on holiday or travel. I’m perhaps at my most stressed in the hours before we leave.

To help me stress less, I have multiple lists.

There’s the Travel for Author Visits List, which includes plastic head, Tibetan bowl, scissors, oven mitt and stuffed quokka toy.

There’s the Car Camping List, for when you’re camping and have an entire car to carry stuff in.

And the Hiking Camping List, for when you need to carry everything you need on your back.

It’s this list I’m going to share with you today. We just gave it a good workout on the Cape to Cape track, and I thought it might serve as a double-check or maybe inspiration for What To Pack. I also find it useful for shorter overnight hikes 🙂 I hope you do too!

 

HIKING CAMPING LIST: What we packed

During the day

We hiked in quick-dry trousers, borrowed gaitors (thank you!), quick-dry shirts, wide-brim hats, sunglasses, shoes-of-choice, well worn in and socks-of-choice, as new as possible.

We also borrowed 65-litre packs and carried:

Gear

  • Tent  and fly – we borrowed my sister’s which was around 2.5 kg
  • Sleeping bags and self-inflating mattresses
  • Rainbird rain jackets, in case of rain/wind
  • Thermals top and bottom, for cold nights
  • Spare underwear
  • Warm jacket/s
  • Thongs for wearing after you’ve taken your boots off at the end of the day
  • Hand trowel and loo paper
  • Rubbish bag/s
  • Cape to Cape Track maps (we also had the guidebook, but read it before leaving – too heavy to carry both ;-))
  • Cash and credit card (for all those flat whites and gourmet cafe meals!)
  • Pen and paper, because I can’t live without them 🙂

Kitchen

Cristy Burne on Cape to Cape6.jpg

Hat from K-mart, jacket by Rainbird, dinner cooked with gas!

  • Plastic mugs/plastic bowls/plastic sporks
  • Small chopping board/pocket knife
  • Water bottles (we used leakproof On The Fly Nalgene for sipping along the way; and old PET bottles for storing extra water in our packs)
  • Gas cooker, spare gas, matches, spare matches (we used my dad’s old gas cooker, which was way faster (and smaller and lighter) than our usual trangia)(the same cooker he used to cook for us when we were kids hiking in New Zealand!!)
  • Pot and spondoolie from the trangia

Menu items

  • Breakfast: Muesli/powdered milk premixed in ziplock bags
  • Lunch: Flatbread, cheese and salami
  • Dinner: Angelhair pasta with 2-minute noodle flavours mixed in (we loved laksa!)
  • Instant coffee premixed with powdered milk and sugar in a ziplock bag
  • Snacks: Loads of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate, Carmen’s muesli bars…more chocolate 🙂
  • Soups: Freeze dried miso (super-light, from Coles)
Toe socks.jpg

Life = Changed. Toe socks, baby. They are totes recommended. These are Injinji

Goop/s

  • Sunscreen
  • Mozzie stuff
  • Toothbrushes/toothpaste/lip balm
  • Fixomull and scissors (I think this was made by God)(Warning: it does wear off if you get your feet wet, so bring more than you think you need)
  • Stripped back first aid kit: panadol/bandages/antiseptic cream
  • Head torch and cute 9V battery torch
  • Our phones, on aeroplane mode to save batteries (we used them as cameras, in case of emergency, and to coordinate food drops/pack swaps)

How much water to pack for a day’s hike?

We carried enough PET bottles to have 4.5 litres of water each, and we only filled these for the two nights we were rough camping on the side of the track: we didn’t want to run short of water for cooking, breakfasting, coffeeing, drinking, possibly spilling, possibly finding an empty water tank, etc. (All the on-track water tanks were full and delicious!)

I tend to drink a lot of water, but even I found 4.5 litres was more than required. Still, better safe than dehydrated and sick 🙂 And we were only carrying this much for a couple of hours at the end of the day.

With this much water on board, our packs weighed around 16 kilograms, so we were travelling pretty light, especially after we started eating some of that yummy food.

Our itinerary

Click here to see our itinerary for the Cape to Cape hike.

Any other questions?

If you have any other questions, feel free to get in touch and I’ll try to help. If you do give the track a go, I’d love to hear what you think 🙂

What do you pack?

What else do you pack? Do you have any life-changing breakthroughs or clever hiking hacks to share? Please do! We’d never hiked with Injinji socks or used Fixomull before this hike. I’m always up for having my mind blown by cool hiking gear ideas!

Please comment to share 🙂 And thank you!

Cristy Burne on Cape to Cape3.jpg


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One year anniversary of wreck discovery

SS Macumba_2_Credit Marine National Facility.jpg

Sonar pulses were used to map the 40-metre-deep wreck, showing its broken bow. Photo: CSIRO Marine National Facility

Last October, I was lucky enough to cover the thrilling discovery of a lost wreck. One year on, let’s revisit the events of that time…

On August 6, 1943, two Japanese airplanes attacked the SS Macumba, a 2500-tonne merchant ship in waters north of Arnhem Land.

The ship’s engine room was hit, three crewmen were killed, and the boat sank, disappearing into the ocean.

For seventy-four years, despite many searches, its final resting place was a mystery.

Then, in the dead of night on October 4 last year, the mystery was solved.

Wreck mystery solved

On October 3 2017, the crew onboard the CSIRO research boat Investigator was given just twelve hours to find the Macumba. The vessel was passing by the spot where the Macumba had last been seen, and though many previous searches had uncovered nothing, they wanted to give it another try…

The crew used sonar pulses to search the seafloor in a grid pattern. By studying how the pulses bounced back to the top, the team could work out what might be on the ocean’s bottom.

After ten hours of searching, they spotted some “unusual” features. The ship turned for another look.

 

Shark about to attack dropcam_Credit CSIRO.png

A specialised drop camera was used to photograph the wreck—and this resident reef shark.  Photo: CSIRO Marine National Facility

Midnight success

 

“It was very early in the morning, about 1 am, so everyone was very tired,” says Hugh Barker, voyage manager onboard Investigator. “As soon as [the wreck] appeared on our screens, everyone was celebrating. It was quite special to be the first to see the Macumba in 74 years.”

The team used sonar to map the wreck, which was 40 metres down. They also dropped a camera to photograph it. They discovered the wreck was teeming with life, including “an inquisitive reef shark that seemed to be guarding the site,” Mr Barker says.

The wreck will now be protected as a historic shipwreck.

Frozen in time

Shipwrecks are like time capsules, says Dr Ross Anderson, Curator of Maritime Archaeology at the Western Australian Museum.

“Everything on a shipwreck is frozen in an exact moment of time,” he says. “Shipwrecks, like all archaeological sites and heritage places, are tangible links to our past.”

Dr Anderson’s favourite wrecks are the HMAS Pandora, which ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef in 1791, and the Batavia, Australia’s second earliest shipwreck, which was wrecked off Western Australia in 1629.

Items discovered on both wrecks help us understand how people lived hundreds of years ago.

And there’s still treasure to be found. “There are still many ships lost that were carrying bullion [like precious metals and coins] and other high value cargoes,” he says.

CSIRO research vessel Investigator_Credit CSIRO.jpg

CSIRO’s research vessel Investigator solved the 74-year-old mystery last year. Photo: CSIRO

Searching for treasure

Finding a wreck can be low-tech or high-tech. The divers who re-discovered the Batavia were shown where to look by a crayfisherman who’d spotted the curve of a giant anchor deep in the water.

The Pandora was re-discovered using a magnetometer, which measures changes in the Earth’s magnetic field. In this way, metal objects such as anchors and cannons often help us find lost wrecks, Dr Anderson says.

Other times, colour can point the way. If you’re keen on discovering sunken treasure, keep your eyes peeled for the green of tarnished copper, or the black of crusted silver.

This article first appeared in Crinkling News.

 


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Yeee ha! I’m jumping aboard Russ the Story Bus this year. Hope you can too!

I’m thilled to announce that I’ll be part of this year’s super-fun Russ the Story Bus lineup of children’s book creators…

This will be the second time I have toured regional New South Wales with an enormous automobile for company.

My first vehicular love was the Shell Questacon Science Circus semitrailer

…but perhaps this incredible bus can bust that record!

RussTheBus_2018_hero.jpg

Stupedenous artwork by Sophie Beer, image by Prudence Upton

Part-library, part-artwork, part-stage and departing this week, Russ the Story Bus will tour schools in Greater Western Sydney, North Coast Regional and the ACT right through till mid-December.

Also touring with Russ, just to hold his metaphorical hand, if not steer his literal wheels, are Sophie Beer, who created the amazing artwork that adorns Russ’ sides, and a bunch of other fabulous children’s book authors and illustrators that make me swoon and wish I could stowaway for the whole tour:

Nicki Greenberg, Sandy Fussell, Jeremy Lachlan, Rebecca McRitchie, Martine Murray, Yvette Poshoglian and Damon Young….

And me!

We’ll be bringing stories, adventures, excitement, creativity and fun…and a whole bus-load of fabulous storybooks and children’s novels.

I’ll be touring for just one week of this epic journey – from November 26 to November 30 – and I can’t wait!

There’s more information on booking a visit for your school here. But you’ll have to be quick. This is Russ’ fifth year of touring, so if you miss out in 2018, try again for 2019.

And if you’ve been lucky enough to snag a booking—HAVE A BALL!

I hope to see you bus-side very soon!

 


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Kid power: walking for Telethon

This weekend is Telethon 2018! The perfect time to reprint this inspiring story about Scott Guerini, an ordinary kid who raises thousands of dollars every year for WA’s favourite fundraiser.

Marathon fundraiser

By Cristy Burne

Scott aged 4.jpg

Scott was four when he started fundraising for Telethon.

In July 2017, Scott Guerini finished his fourth fundraising marathon, launched his own book, and won a grant to inspire more kids to make a difference in the world.

“I’ve got my own motto,” Scott explains. “‘It’s easy to make a difference, what can you do?’”

Scott was four when he learned about fundraising in kindy. “It got me thinking, and the hardest thing I could think of was to walk into town from our farm, so I did,” he explains.

He’s since raised over $125,000 for Telethon, a Western Australian charity that pays for research into children’s diseases.

Are we there yet?

The walk from Scott’s farm to the town of Southern Cross, WA, is 25 km. As a four-year-old, he had to ask his parents every morning for two weeks before they’d let him try.

Scott’s mum, Nicole Guerini, remembers: “We said ‘no, it’s too far, you’re too little.’ It seemed like a really crazy idea, but he was really passionate about it.”

When they eventually said yes, Scott was ready. He finished the walk in eight hours and forty minutes, raising over $3000 for Telethon.

Scott has since completed a fundraising walk every year. He’s now 12, and finished his fourth marathon (42.195 km) on 15 July 2017, with a personal best time of eight hours and 45 minutes.

“My favourite marathon was when my little brother Damien walked it with me,” he says.

What’s it like to walk that far? “It’s painful, it’s also very painful,” Scott jokes. “It’s really a mental challenge.” Scott says knowing he’s helping sick kids and babies keeps him going.

Making a difference

Scott signing books at the launch.JPG

Scott hopes to raise more money from sales of his book, Did you know you can change the world, which was launched on 26 July 2017. Scott started writing and illustrating the book in January, but it became reality after Scott received an unexpected phone call from Terry and Dixie Prindiville.

Scott says: “I’d been talking about what I was doing on the radio, and they were listening. They just rang us up and said they wanted to help.”

The Prindivilles donated the money for Scott’s book to be printed, “so all proceeds from book sales can go directly to Telethon,” he explains.

Scott designed his book to be interactive and inspiring. “I deliberately chose non-glossy paper, so people can write in their own ideas.”

Spreading the word

In 2017 Scott won a $5,700 grant to run interactive workshops for kids in the October school holidays. Each workshop used Scott’s book to inspire participants to create an artwork about how they can change the world.

Mrs Guerini encourages other parents to let their children try “crazy” fundraising ideas.

“It’s led to this snowball effect,” she says. “That kind of money [$125,000] can create a real difference.”

This article first appeared in Crinkling News.

Thanks to Scott’s Great Walk for the photos–and the inspiration.


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How we hiked the Cape to Cape track – our 6-day itinerary

How did you survive the school holidays? I was lucky enough to hike the Cape to Cape track with my husband, just the two of us. It was BLISS!

I’m all for taking kids hiking, but not when it’s 20 km a day! And not when there’s a chance for some Awesome Holiday Babysitting. Our kids stayed with their younger cousins and had a blast, riding bikes, playing chasie and exploring from a super dog-friendly Margaret River holiday house (a million thanks to my fab sister and her fab hubbie!!)

And we got our hike on! It was the first time we’ve done a big hike since the kids were born. AND it was ACE!

We were lucky to have AMAZING weather and incredible luck with camp sites, friendly advice, river crossings, the works! There were a few drops of rain at night, but nothing our tent couldn’t handle. And if it rained on the nights we were in a real bed, I can’t say I noticed 🙂

Incredible scenery Cape to Cape2.jpg

For those who are keen for a hiking challenge, the Cape to Cape comes 100% recommended. You pass through some of our south-west’s loveliest towns, so you can break your trip up with meals at great cafes, drink real coffees, stock up on chocolate, etc, as you hike through.

We saw snakes and kangaroos and whales and dolphins and birds and lizards and massive man-eating ants (well, big ants, anyway).

We walked rugged coastlines and through head-high wildflowers and down 365 stairs (and back up the other side!).

We walked along soft sandy beaches, past yawning caves, across rocky rivers and through gorgeous Karri forest.

We chatted and sang and talked to flowers (yes, and they talked back). It was glorious!

If you do want to hike the Cape to Cape with your kids, go for it, but make sure you’ve tried some shorter walks first… We met two kids hiking the full track: both were experienced hikers, both were aged 13-15, and both were LOVING it and always out in front, leading the way for their parents. So. Cool.

Mission Cape to Cape (127ish km)

There are a zillion ways to walk the Cape to Cape track, including guided tours, cottage accommodation that drops you off and picks you up each day, campsites and free camping (which is allowed in the national park only for hikers walking the track).

We spent many hours studying the maps and book and this was the itinerary we decided on in the end:

Time of year: Late September, after a wet winter. The water tanks were all full.

What we packed: Check out this post on what we carried in our packs.

DAY ONE: 21 km – Cape Naturaliste to south of Wyadup

My brother-in-law dropped us at Cape Naturaliste for an early start. It was great to finally be on the track after so much preparation and anticipation. (Luckily, some of that preparation included borrowing a pair of gaiters each. We saw two dugites in the first hour, so gaiters quickly became our best friends)(Gaiters are also useful for keeping sand out of your shoes when you’re walking in soft sand.)

We walked through to Yellingup for a truly lush lunch at Shaana’s (I totally recommend the Superfood Summer Bowl). We sat on a cool shady couch, soaked up the holiday scene, and congratulated ourselves on the first phase of our journey. I’d been worried about whether we would make the distance each day, and here, for the first time, I was confident that we would 🙂

We hiked on, totally blown away by the clifftop scenery and wildflowers, then stopped at La Monts for an overpriced afternoon tea. The place was all concrete, no views…We wouldn’t stop here next time.

We hiked on, somehow missing the water just before Rotary Lookout and instead using a purifier to treat water from a stream further along the track. We filled to max capacity: around 4.5 litres each from this point. This is a huge volume of water, but we needed it to last us through dinner, breakfast and on till lunch-ish the next day.

Cristy Burne on Cape to Cape5.jpgWe walked past a whale carcass on the beach just as the sun was setting…beautiful and sad all at the same time.

A kilometre or two south of Wyadup, we chose an amazing clifftop campsite. We’d tried to get four-walled accommodation, but no-one would have us for just one night due to the long weekend. Just as well. It was glorious.

DAY TWO: 21 km – South of Wyadup to south of Guillotine

We woke at dawn to see dolphins surfing the waves and whales passing by offshore. AMAZING!

We hiked on to Moses Rock Camp Site to refill our water. We hiked quite a few hours with fully loaded packs (So Much Water!), wanting to extend this day by a few kilometres to make Day Three a few kilometres shorter.

Camping sunset2.jpgWell worth it! We ended the day exhausted but satisfied, scoring a sheltered campsite, tucked between the rocks south of Guillotine. The sound of the surf was like a jet engine all night.

Also, I’m not afraid to admit I was in so much pain I couldn’t roll over without waking up.

But also, I was stoked and excited. I was so stoked and excited, I was like a Tardis for being stoked and excited.

DAY THREE: 22 km – South of Guillotine to Prevelly

We were up again at dawn, spurred on by the promise of a shower and a real bed.  We stopped for an amazing coffee at the gorgeous Gracetown General Store (they also have fresh bread, rawsome treats, hiking supplies, designer tees, you name it!).

Track lizardThen it was up over the headland, past the reluctant-to-move dinosaurs, and on. We filled our bottles at Ellensbrook campsite, then continued past the winter diversion with the aim of crossing Margaret River.

We’d heard rumours that, after our wet winter, the crossing was too dangerous (the words “chest-deep” and “quicksand” were used together in a sentence), but every hiker we met said the river could be crossed if you chose your spot carefully. We took off our packs to experiment with spots, and ended up crossing right at the sandbank, where the waves came racing in, and it was (mostly) knee-deep and (OMG-refreshingly) cold. In our heads, the Margaret River crossing was the real crux of the whole hike — and we did it!

Yeeeha! Reward time: We spent that night at Surfpoint Resort with a real bed (!!!) and an en suite (!!!) and shouted ourselves non-dehydrated dinner and a happy hour cold beer/G&T at The Common, just 100 metres down the road. BLISS. All/most/some of the aches and pains faded into track-ready muscles overnight. Serious.

DAY FOUR: 17km – Prevelly to Contos

We slept in till White Elephant Cafe opened at 7.30, then voluntarily added around a kilometre to our day just to feast on their super-tasty coconut bircher muesli and enjoy yet another great coffee plus incredible view for breakfast.

Cristy Burne on Cape to Cape2.jpgWe plunged 365 steps down to Boodjidup Brook to marvel at a bridge that conservation volunteers had built, carrying in all the steel by hand! Like several spots along the track, this glade was infested with arum lily.

We saw endangered hooded plovers racing across the beach on their long legs, drank the best miso soup in the world ever while sitting on a dreamy white-sanded beach, admired the rugged landscape of Bob’s Hollow with its caves and cliffs.

We’d pulled into our pre-paid campsite at Contos that afternoon – we’d booked a site at Whistler’s Circle, which is really close to the start of the next day’s hike. There was a smoking log in the fire pit, so we were able to restart a wood fire just by adding a few twigs. It was terrific to have a wood fire. We stared into the dreamy flames for the half hour of semi-darkness during which we were still awake. And when we crawled into our tent, we could actually bend and move and twist in the required ways to facilitate sleeping bag entry. Something that hadn’t been possible on Day Two. Ahhh, that was a proud moment.

DAY FIVE: 22km – Contos to Hamelin Bay

Like angels in disguise, my parents (who walked the Cape to Cape nearly two decades ago, when it was just a bare-bottomed baby) arrived early with bananas, bacon-and-egg pie (thank you Mum!), and…drumroll…our day packs!! We left our pack-packs in the boot of their car, complete with cooker and gas, tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mat. All we carried was food, water, an extra layer of clothes, and a first aid kit. So light! We felt we could fly.

We strolled through the Boronup Forest, which was all piping birdsong and misty trees. Superb.

Collected plastic rubbish on beach near Hamelin Bay.jpgThen we ended the day with a tough 6 km walk to Hamelin Bay. This stretch of beach must cop the wrong sort of current, because it was littered from top to bottom with bottle caps, discarded glow sticks, bits of lost rope, glass and plastic bottles…all kinds of junk. As we walked, we filled a plastic bag. It soon overflowed! We lugged it all the way to the caravan park skip bins – very satisfying!

We then eagerly treated ourselves to another steaming hot shower and another real bed. The caravan park also has a general store selling chocolates, ice creams, potato chips…all the things we dreamed of… We may or may not have collapsed on the bed while shovelling junk food and watching a Jennifer Aniston rom-com (there are DVDs at reception ;-)).

DAY SIX: 24km – Hamelin Bay to Cape Leeuwin

This killer day wasn’t as tough as I was expecting. There was around 10 kilometres of beach walking, but much of it was across rocks, past blowholes, or along tropical-island-paradise-style lagoons. Not too hard to bear. Plus, we were track-hardened, so we veritably skipped along, soaking up the sunshine and the wide blue and green spaces. Hearts = Full.

Cristy Burne at Foul Bay Lighthouse.jpgWe passed the Foul Bay Lighthouse, and could see the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse from pretty early in the day, and despite some false alarms, I can confirm that it really did — very slowly — become larger as we walked.

The final bit of track was just as deluxe as the rest of it: families of ducklings in a fresh-ish water bay, blue tongue lizards sunning on the rocks, gorgeous single track pathways winding through flowers…and So Much Satisfaction.. We were going to make it!

As we reached the track-end, a friend from school was randomly there  (total coincidence! thanks Jac!) to take our end-of-adventure photo. What terrific timing!! And what a terrific time. We loved it! Our car was waiting in the carpark, dropped off earlier in the day by my sister. We jumped in and drove away, but the great feeling has remained.

Camping sunset.jpgVerdict? 10/10

This is a totally recommended hike. If you want to do it independently, you need to be moderately fit: I practised by carrying a daypack full of dumbbells up and down our street…also totally recommended…I swear, it works!

You also need to be strong in the determination department, and confident in your on-track cooking and water management.

If you want to do it with a bit more luxury, quite a few B&Bs or tour operators offer catered day-hike options which looked fabulous!

YAY! I’ve wanted to do this hike for YEARS!!!

If you’ve been thinking about doing the Cape to Cape track, I hope this itinerary helps you in your planning.

And if you’ve never thought about doing it…I hope it has planted a seed. Try a day hike or two, then an overnight hike (on the Bibbulmun is a great place to start), then off you go!

And if you can think of nothing worse than six days of sand, sub-standard sanitation and muscle pain, then don’t despair. You can still experience the gorgeous clifftop walks and secluded beachs with a day hike or two.

Stay somewhere in the south-west, hike during the day, and book-end your efforts with great food, local wine, hot showers and a comfy bed.

*sigh*  How lucky are we!?!?!

Just us and the waves - Cape to Cape.jpg

 


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Dogs of the Rich and Famous: Pip, Benji…and Meredith Costain

Pip and M.jpgWhy have one adorable dog when you can have two?

This week on Dogs of the Rich and Famous we feature Pip and Benji, beloved four-legged coworkers of Australian author Meredith Costain. Too cute!

About Pip and Benji

Names: Pip (aka Pippus Rattus) and Benji (aka Benji Basenji)

Ages:  20 months (Pip) and 2 years (Benji)

Breeds (or best guess): Kelpie/red heeler cross and kelpie/blue heeler cross.

Perfect puppy cover005.jpgAssistant to: Author Meredith Costain

Meredith writes books for children with lots of music and dogs in them. These include Musical Harriet (which was adapted for TV by the ABC and has five dogs), Dog Squad (lots of dogs), Daddies are Great (dogs on every page), CBCA Honour Book Doodledum Dancing (lots of poems about dogs) and the quirky illustrated best-selling series the Ella Diaries, and new ’sister series’ Olivia’s Secret Scribbles (both featuring the same family dog, Bob).

She lives in an old inner-city bluestone house with her partner and co-dog wrangler Paul Collins and a menagerie of pets (including cats, chooks and fish as well as dogs).

(I think it’s fair to say Meredith LOVES dogs!)(and so do I :-))

Help or hindrance? “Help,” says Meredith. “Their antics and personalities provide loads of material for my books. Every day. They also keep me moving (after hours stuck in a desk chair) by reminding me it’s ‘park time’ with gentle nudges and growly noises.”

“They are also ‘naturals’ when it comes to social media promotion.”

Fave toy: Tennis balls for rounding up in the park.

Fave game: Rounding up the chooks in the garden.