Over at WikiAnswers.com, we are extremely proud of our large and growing community of folks who hail from Down Under. For all you young ‘uns out there, Down Under is a colloquialism affectionately used to refer to Australia. One of the brightest shining stars from this land of magic and beauty is our very own On the Wallaby, who watches over a gazillion unique categories including Platypuses and Echidnas; Possums; Ludwig van Beethoven; and Bass and Flinders. She also happens to be the Category Supervisor of all things Australia and New Zealand.
If you’re curious how this amazing lady thunk up the name On the Wallaby, wonder no more. Direct from her bio: “In 1891, Australian poet Henry Lawson penned a now-famous poem entitled ‘Freedom on the Wallaby.’ ‘On the wallaby track’ is an Australian term meaning someone is out wandering and exploring the country. One of my favourite pastimes is driving and exploring with my husband (and my dog).” Dying to know more? Read on!
Where do you hail from?
I live in Australia and have always lived there. I grew up in Queensland, but was born in South Australia, living in small country towns until I was five. I now live in the southeastern region of Queensland near beautiful Moreton Bay, where there are hundreds of islands.
What is your current occupation and what have you done in the past?
I am a teacher and have been for over twenty years. My favorite past job was spending time on my uncle’s native fauna park on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, cleaning out the pens of the native animals. (The Tasmanian devils were a bit scary when it came to feeding time.) I learnt a lot about Australian native animals during that time, but I have learnt a lot more since, and am constantly amazed by how much more there is to learn. My uncle used to regularly come to Queensland to trade Australian native fauna with other fauna sanctuaries. I distinctly remember how careful he had to be the day he released a wedgetail eagle.
Another favourite job was being a cleaner at a motel at the base of Ayers Rock-Uluru. The motels are no longer there, having all been replaced by the Yulara resort, but in my spare time I was free to climb the Rock whenever I wanted, and I explored right around the circumference of Uluru. I was there in summer, though – very hot for cleaning and because the motel operated on generators, we weren’t allowed to put on the air conditioners while we cleaned.
I have also picked oranges in Mildura – also in summer and forty-degree heat! (That’s Celsius.)
What is your key area of knowledge or expertise?
I just love anything to do with Australiana. I grew up with my father’s passion for Australian history and geography, and many childhood trips through Australia’s outback gave ample opportunity to learn more.
Do you have any special interests or hobbies?
Walking and exploring. I love to explore, whether on foot or in the car. Even my dog has become an explorer. When we’re out walking, if she sees an area of bushland or a pathway diverting off the main footpath, she heads straight for it. When I’m driving with my husband, we rarely go straight from “A” to “B”, but divert to “X,Y and Z” along the way. A simple excursion to the other side of town invariably ends up taking all day.
What do you like to do for recreation?
Walk. Drive. Read. Play a variety of musical instruments. Answer questions on WikiAnswers!
Please share a few random facts about yourself, special thoughts, etc.
Nothing exceptional. I am annoyingly pedantic when it comes to spelling, grammar and punctuation, so I get especially annoyed when I make “typos” myself!
What are some accomplishments that you are proud of?
Although Americans are probably not familiar with the Australian author Colin Thiele – “Storm Boy”, “Blue Fin”, etc, – he was my second cousin. I’m proud of that. Some years ago I contacted an American author – Bonnie Leon – regarding a book she had written, set in Australia. One thing led to another, and she asked for my assistance in researching for her new “Sydney Cove” series, a project I enjoyed immensely. I am especially proud of the personal mention and acknowledgment she gave me in the published copy of her first book in the series.
Do you have any special goals or dreams?
I would love to have time to spend traveling wherever I wanted to in Australia, in a motorhome; to explore places I haven’t yet seen. Then I’d like to do the same thing over in New Zealand! And after that, I’d like to explore the United Kingdom, and see some real history, because my husband’s roots go back to England.
What brought you to WikiAnswers.com?
I was looking for an answer for the students I teach, and when I asked a question in WA, I came across an unpleasant answer submitted by a vandal which I did not want my students to experience. I signed in to fix it, and that was it – I was hooked! I found numerous Australian questions which needed fixing and editing, so my interest just developed from there. Now, I keep getting caught up with all the new categories that appear. There’s usually something there that piques my interest and spurs me to learn!
What keeps you coming back to WikiAnswers.com?
WikiAnswers was a platform from which I could indulge my passion for all things Australian, and it was good to know my work was appreciated by others.
What is your favorite WikiAnswers.com activity?
Probably just answering questions. I like recategorizing; I like fixing alternates; I need to fix people’s spelling and punctuation (!) but I especially like answering questions.
How would you describe yourself or your personality?
A positive thinker! I can find the good in any situation, no matter how inconvenient the circumstances may seem at the time. I love knowledge and learning, and I love to convey that knowledge to the students I teach. I love to encourage creative thinking in my students. And I loathe hearing anyone describe something as “boring,” because I figure that there is always something of interest to be found – you just have to be prepared to look for it.