Memoirs of an isolated life

Author Noreen Reeves at the launch of her debut book,Two Shakes of a Dead Lamb’s Tail, last month.
Author Noreen Reeves at the launch of her debut book,Two Shakes of a Dead Lamb’s Tail, last month.

When Reeves’ husband resigned from teaching agriculture and science in Victoria, he decided he wanted to teach outside the state school system.

His new post took the couple to Bougainville Island ” 1300km from mainland Papua New Guinea.

At the time (1971), Reeves was 23 with a two-year-old and another baby on the way and ‘was not happy about entertaining the prospect of such a remote and isolated place’.

Their house had no electricity, water had to be pumped up to the tank on the roof every day, they had no transport and food was delivered by sea.

‘Little did I know that living in isolation would stand me in very good stead in later years,’ she said.

After spending three years on Bougainville Island, the couple moved back to Victoria with their three young children, where they started farming.

They eventually moved to rural WA where they bought a 1000sq km sheep station.

‘Again, we were a long way from nowhere and had to rely on our own intuition, physical and mental resources, ingenuity, adaptability and reliability, and on each other,’ she said.

Reeves said she wrote Two Shakes of a Dead Lamb’s Tail because her grandparents led amazing lives but they died when she was too young to ask questions and hear their stories.

‘I don’t want to lose our story as my grandchildren will never have the kind of life we’ve led,’ she said.

‘I also wanted to convey the message that doing it tough builds character and inner strength. Testing your limits shows you that even when you think you can’t, you actually can if you put your mind to it.’

The book is available from www.xlibris.com and www.amazon.com in paperback and as an e-book.

– The Weekender has three copeies to give away.

Send your name, address and daytime phone number to Two Shakes of a Dead Lamb’s Tail Giveaway, PO Box 885, Joondalup WA 6919 or email @communitynews.com.au.