Cover Title: Set Yourself Free
Artist Statement: Although figurative, my focus is on exploring the concept of spaces in between. The layers and fabric of our past that lies beneath and defines us as well as the spaces in time, moments when you are between two destinations, when you are still, observing or being observed. I see each piece as a celebration of what it is to be a woman with all our intricacies and complexities. Exploring the sensual and sexual, curvaceous and soft being as well as the powerful innate need to nurture in whatever environment we find ourselves.
For almost fifty years ‘Ol’man’ Geoff Guest and Aunty Norma have run the Petford Wellbeing ‘Training Camp’. This is a place where over 4,000 at-risk youth, and struggling families, have come to turn their lives around. Since Aunty Norma sadly passed away in 2015, ‘Ol’man’ Geoff Guest still now, at 94 years of age, chooses to be on-call 24 hours a day to help anyone in need, and caring for people in the depths of depression, suffering from addictions and behavioural issues, nutritional deficiencies and much more. Over the years Geoff has done a lot of his work by utilising connecting with horses and teaching about nutrition, as well as patience, encouragement and healthy life discipline.
As a member of the Stolen Generation, where Aboriginal Australians were taken from their families, Geoff never had a ‘formal’ education, working on stations from an early age to ‘earn his keep’. He did however, learn a lot about horses and the bush, and as soon as he could, took a horse and some supplies, and rode down to Melbourne from North Queensland as a young teenager. This trek taught him much about survival, maintaining his and his horse’s health and strength, and began his ‘University of Life’ studies which he continues to this day. Learning about bush-food and bush-medicines and many other essential life skills from his experiences on the trail and those he met on the way, Geoff rode back again to North Queensland, a journey of more than five thousand kilometres, and the first of many journeys that took him across the country and the world.
With the skills he gained he was asked to care for animals in the Chinese army when borders were closed to most Westerners, and they requested his skills for their own injuries and illnesses too. Riding against the drug cartels in South America is amongst the many extraordinary life experiences ‘Ol’man’ would need to write several books to share.
He is too busy living his life to stop and write about it though, and at almost 94 he is not easy to keep up with on his daily dawn walk out at Petford, past Dimbulah. Featured on Sixty Minutes and in National Geographic, and the subject of documentaries and countless interviews, Geoff uses his iconic Australian bushman status to promote his encyclopaedic knowledge on health and nutrition, which he sees as essential to dealing with many of society’s ills.
Walking around town with ‘Ol’man’ many people come up with great respect and affection, shaking his hand and recalling stories of their own, or families/friends/countrymen’s stories of how their lives have been turned around by their time at Petford. Many of these thousands of young people had confounded the system, and were brought out to Geoff and Aunty Norma as a last measure. The rate of re-offending after being at Petford is renowned as being one of the lowest of any measures. Through his comprehensive understanding of nutrition, his deep love and care of people, and his amazing expertise with the horses, the youth were led to see their own worth and inner strength by their learning of horse maintenance, leatherwork for saddles and bridles etc., building fences and yards, and many other skills. This enabled many of the young people to come from a place of deep trauma to one of responsibility, and Petford has an impressive reputation for developing the foundations for strong community leadership and healthy families.
At this time Geoff is seeking assistance to create an organic leafy-greens sprouting system for fresh daily living food, and organic sprouts for animal fodder. There will also be an abundant Syntropic Agriculture system set up which includes bush-foods and bush-medicines (which he has long been making medicines and oils from, teaching the ‘Boys from the Bush’ and ‘Rare Earth Oils’ and many other ventures) and edible cactus including dragonfruit varieties. He has researched the system over the years and has the design, will utilise solar energy and recycled materials where possible, and just needs the financial and physical assistance to bring it together. The system will be replicable throughout the Cape York communities and beyond, bringing fresh nutritious immune-system-building living foods to areas often bereft of this, and Geoff plans a national tour of communities to teach a teacher’s course on nutrition and its effects on bodies and behaviours.
There are stories about Geoff Guest’s extraordinarily effective methods in a book available free online on the Laceweb.org website…search ‘Coming to our Senses ~ By the Way’ or scroll down the interesting links on the homepage to find the book-link towards the bottom of the page, definitely worth a read if you are interested in humanity healing from trauma. Geoff’s way has affected the lives of many many thousands of people, healing intergenerational trauma…he is keen to continue his legacy and just requires the assistance of those who can see and feel the enormous value in his work. To read/hear some more of Geoff’s story go to this link https://qram.com.au/2018/02/16/old-ringer-geoff-guest-still-going-at-92/ (that was a couple of years ago when he was only 92…)
With love and care and healing as a central theme, where there is a will there is a way.
If you feel to offer genuine assistance please call Petford Wellness on 40 935 365, thank you.