Monday, November 30, 2015


I reckon there should be more Rhetts in this world. Originating from Calcutta, Rhett May is using his talents and fame to fight the deadly ICE epidemic. While there is a lot more to him than published here, along with his group 'Lucifer'  he has travelled through some of our mighty outback - and was wonderful enough to answer some questions about this. His answers follow:

In the heady 70s, along with your band, you toured parts of outback Western Australia. Which towns did you actually perform at?

We performed at Geraldton, Carnarvon, Karratha, the US base in Exmouth, Port Hedland. Also Albany, Bunbury and Kalgoorlie.

How did you enjoy travelling the outback? Were the people friendly, warm and welcoming?

We absolutely loved travelling and playing to the differing tastes of the locals in each of those towns; of course, the Americans were simply the craziest for our music too - but everywhere we went the locals were incredibly supportive and friendly. Always inviting us back to their áfter parties'.

I am thinking you would not have visited any of the sheep and/or cattle stations?

Unfortunately we didn't get around to any sheep/cattle stations, but we did meet a couple of families in their caravans camping beside a river in the aftermath of Cyclone Tracy in 1974. They had lost their homes and all their personal belongings and simply fled Darwin.

You also visited some Indigenous communities. And have quite a story to tell about that. Would you like to tell us something about this too please?

We didn't visit communities specifically. We came across a number of Indigenous people during our travels on the road. One occasion was when we stopped off to investigate some smoke rising about 300 metres off the unmade road. We came upon a family camped beside a fire roasting a wombat on a spit. They offered to share their meal with us but we were on a tight schedule and after chatting briefly about their day, gave them some water and continued on our travels.

On another occasion we were travelling fairly slowly over an unsealed, corrugated dirt road and suddenly, out stepped a couple of guys with their spears in hand. We absolutely freaked but stopped and had a discussion with them about their lives on the move. They had been travelling for a couple of days and simply wanted to see what this great big green truck was doing in the middle of the outback.

We went back to their campsite to see this huge eagle in a cage. It must have been a pet or lucky charm for them. But they opened the cage door and let it out to fly around. It couldn't go very far as it had a rope attached to one of its legs. They couldn't understand that we found it cruel to capture and restrict such a magnificent creature. We were assured that it was not on their menu.

What were your feelings about the outback? Positives? Negatives?

I didn't really think about the outback as 'positive' or 'negative'. To me, everything we did, everywhere we travelled and performed was exciting. All our adventures were fun and new experiences. We simply enjoyed ourselves. Those were simpler days where you took what came to you and made the most of it!! Thinking back, it was all exciting - times to be able to meet and share and experience!

Did you travel by van or fly to the cities/towns and then by car? How was the transport organised?

We travelled everywhere in a convoy. We owned a huge van/truck which was painted lime green and had our name plastered right across, so everyone knew who we were as we entered the townships. Many a time we slept under the stars between towns and states.

Would you want to travel the outback again?

I'm certain I would if the opportunity permits. However, I'm not certain the experiences would be similar as times change and travel has sped up, so the languid and relaxed travel doesn't seem to fit people's agendas these days.

How long were you in each town?

Most times, overnight. But we did a number of residencies for two to four weeks at a time. It was the travelling to and from that was the adventure and the most fun.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world about this?

Just to thank you for your interest in my past and present and ask you to remind everyone that my music is still as strong, if not stronger, than ever. Please try to access my website (links are below) and my social media sites - listen to the message in each song, spread the word that Rhett May has fabulous and thought provoking songs that will also entertain!




Thursday, November 26, 2015


Please tell us a little bit about your childhood and background, your culture and heritage;
Growing up in a small town called Dapto in the 70s was so fortunate for me. Wollongong, being a city in those days, driven by the steel works and mining. Being a Bundjalung man from the Illawarra region, I've become more aware of my culture and the diversity that exists, as I grew older. It wasn't something that you were aware of growing up as it was just part of your life. So going to school with kids from all walks of life and nationalities, racism wasn't really a big part of our life. Being one of a handful of Indigenous families in the area we blended in quite well with the vast majority of Europeans, Americans, British and Islanders and with that it was an interesting insight into other cultures through the mix of people from around the world.

You are a leading chef. Have you always enjoyed cooking? Please tell us a little bit about that - how long you have been cooking, what inspired you to start etc;
In my 30 odd years in cooking I have always seen the kitchen as a safe haven for myself. I love the environment and the creative aspects that the job brings. When you have the right mix of people and music in a productive kitchen it can be magic. Growing up watching my aunts and mum cooking was always enjoyable and as in a lot of Indigenous families the kitchen was a focal and social point in the home. I would sit and watch them mixing things together in a bowel and put it in the oven and it would come out cooked. As a kid that was like magic to me - which inspired me to start making biscuits and cakes around nine years old.

You now cook in city restaurants, on TV shows and universities/education institutions among more. Have you always cooked in the cities and in such situations or have you also cooked in the country, perhaps back at your childhood home, for large numbers of people?
I was trained in a city hospital. Seems funny but back in the 70s and 80s food was prepared fresh and every day. We as apprentices had to do time in the variety of stations around the kitchen. The salad, vegetable, dessert, meat and fish, dietary and pasta kitchens were big and when cooking for a 1200 bed hospital the task was huge but it was a great learning environment as well as social environment working with people from all over the world. These days I work all over the world in different environments and my training and people was a huge aspect to my success today. I love visiting different Indigenous communities, remote and regional cooking in camp and earth ovens, exploring the variety of foods and people and elders from those areas.

You have had your own cooking series. Please tell us about that;
I had an idea for a cooking show in the early 90s and it wasn't until I put myself through Melbourne's premier film school, VCA in Victoria, did I get the opportunity to develop the series and approach the ABCs Indigenous affairs programme, 'Message Stick' to have a 10 minute cooking spot that it all came together. After that, the concept was developed to showcase our amazing country, bushtucker and Aboriginal culture and the series: 'The Outback Cafe' was developed in collaboration with Tourism Australia and the State Tourism Organisations and has been shown around the world and in Australia. It's been an amazing journey and there is a lot more than happened along the way but fundamentally that was how it all unfolded.

You have cooked on TV and in the above. Have you ever cooked in movies at all?
When I had a restaurant in Sydney called 'The Midden' in the 90s I did  cook for film sets which was a great way to be on set and see how all the machinations of the TV and film world worked and inspired me to get into film school and make short films and develop my ideas for a cooking series.

You have some pretty major clients, including Oprah. Please tell us about that;
That was an amazing experience cooking for Oprah's guest whilst in Victoria. These people were taken on a trip of a lifetime and to meet them was a pleasure. They embraced our workshop and got to try kangaroo, emu and crocodile as well as the native fruits and herbs from around the country. It was incredible!

You do have your own business, a restaurant. Do you have more than one? When did you begin this/these and why?
I have had a restaurant and catering company and they are both hard work. I basically started them to get and give people an idea that we have this amazing produce in the country and we don't utilize them. We are blessed to have so much that others around the world are in awe of and that we as Australians take a lot of it for granted. On my crusade to educate our country of these amazing Indigenous foods and produce we have, I have been able to get it on the palate and consciousness of the Australian people which I hope in time will be our national cuisine.

2013 was a very big year for you. Please tell us about that;
Every year has been a big year and don't think 2013 was any different, only that my focus is to educate and inspire young Indigenous and non-Indigenous kids the value of what we have and I think that is where we have to, as mentors, is to focus on the next generation.

You have also been selected for 'Friends of Australia - Plans for the Future'. Is this correct? Please tell us about that;
'Friends of Australia' is Tourism Australia's advocacy programme where influential ambassadors and opinion leaders act as storytellers for Australian holidays in the mainstream media sectors. Through a range of initiatives such as media hosting and profile raising opportunities such as the recent Australia campaign at Milan's World Expo and Restaurant Australia, I get to travel and educate people all over the country and globe about Australia and its amazing food regions and fresh produce and Indigenous people.

You have also trained under major European chefs. Please tell us more about that;
'Rino is an Italian chef and came to Australia in the 60s after travelling the globe. He settled in Wollongong and I was fortunate to have a patient and hands on teacher to guide me through my career. We're still great mates and regularly keep in touch. Through my travels, I've certainly enjoyed working alongside other chefs including Indigenous chefs from other countries presenting Australian cuisine and creating fusion dishes from our respective countries.

And you have published your own cookbook. Have you written more than one? Do you have plans for further books in the future?
Plans are in the pipe-works for a new book when I get a bit of time; also I want to develop product for the Black Olive brand, so watch this space!

What and/or who are your inspirations?
My family and friends inspire me a lot. My values and attitude to life stems from them. A few chefs inspire me and growing up there wasn't much on TV so we had to be creative in a more practical and imaginative way, which I think inspired a lot of what we see today.

What are your short and long term plans for the future?
Another TV series, a new book, develop produce and retirement!

Monday, November 9, 2015


Make no mistake - racism is alive and well worldwide, sadly. And yes, it seems that there certainly are barriers.

I feel incredibly proud to be connected with quite a few of our amazing Aboriginal people – they are all lovely and they are absolutely and justifiably passionate about their heritage and culture. When I was asked to write this article, I turned to some of them to gain their perspectives of the above problems. And their responses have stunned me. They shouldn’t have – I should have had some idea of how bad racism is in Australia – but I didn’t. And what they have told me is literally only scratching the surface.

Looking at medicine, for example – it seems that the number of Aboriginal doctors is rising but trying to gain access to resources that they need to achieve their ambitions, apparently is causing huge problems. There are countless barriers that need to be removed for these people to get ahead. Simply because of who they are, it’s not happening – or if it is, it’s much harder for them than for anyone else. Racism is rife in every sector.

Too many white Australians still believe that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are just lazy and are no good – at the same time, these are the people who want to challenge the narrative that Muslims are all terrorists. In my opinion, this is not true. None of it. However, if you want to think about it – seriously, just remember that remaining silent in the discrimination of others really makes you just as racist - not that that is going to make a bar of difference to many. Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – you know, the First Peoples to inhabit our nation - have faced systematic oppression for centuries and have always lived in a situation where they are shunned and belittled by migrants and colonisers alike

One of my friends asked me which aspect I was actually interested in – education, housing, health, employment, economic development, sport, media, land rights – whoa! The list continues. Then she asked whether I was asking about systematic racism, institutionalised, online – or ‘just’ to your face? She added that there are just so many barriers occurring across the board, due to racism that it’s really only those that are unable to access due to racism that are acutely aware of it. It seems that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people no longer even try to access any resources that do not show any sign of Aboriginal cultural understanding. How tragic.

They have problems trying to access private rentals, as do other immigrants to Australia, from what I understand. All racism. Access to varying services. Access to information. Barriers abound everywhere.

I was given a lot of examples by my different connections, all of whom I consider to be friends, but really far too many to even think about covering here. One lady recalled an incident that her son experienced. It involved the boy being falsely labelled a thief – there is a considerable story to this, too much to recount here, but suffice to say that the mother said she had to teach her son to just deal with it. She felt it was useless for them to fight the accusation because no-one really cares anyway. They would be told that they had ‘misinterpreted the actions’, 'pulled the race card', 'acted irrationally', 'had other problems' - or they were just not needed as a customer. Given that the entire thing was not the fault of the son, I find this amazing – I would not have thought any business at any time could afford to lose customers.  It’s a store I wouldn’t be going near again. Barriers.

During the times of the Black Civil Rights movement in the 60s and 70s, the Aboriginal Elders and supporters met to create the very foundation of basic services for their people who live in the capital cities on the eastern coast of Australia. In doing this, they fought for things that  should have been taken for granted – legal and health services, access to education and public housing etc. These are basic services, for goodness sake – services that all mankind should have access to. They are not luxuries but even now they are only in the city centres. For Aboriginal people living in remote communities – these services do not exist, pure and simple. They should exist – but they don’t.

Treatment of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is unacceptable. One of my friends tells me that she has the ‘gift of the gab’ which has helped her talk her way past the inbuilt racism that they see whenever they try to step in to the ‘white world’- a term many detest using. It seems that most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are living in two worlds: at home, they can be themselves and be black, but when they go to work (if they are lucky enough to have a job) they try to act white. She adds that those who cannot step out of their ‘black world’ are the ones who fail. So sad. This is a result of past experience and treatment of their Elders – it seems their people who do not live in such a way are seen as too radical if they have different views to the majority.

So, yes, there is racism everywhere and many, many barriers exist for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Another friend also mentions that the worst kind of racism she has found is the role that mainstream media portrays of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander or Indigenous (which she explains is actually the lazy term the media prefers to use the keep the word count down) people. She adds that it is very fortunate that we have the ABC and SBS who do go out and find positive stories, but sadly the negative stories aired by the commercial channels are the ones that create the vacuum seal of the worst things happening in our communities. She adds there is never a thought about the struggles the Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander people live with on a daily basis.

She also recalls an argument she had with one of her relations in the 1980s. It seemed he, like so many white Australians, was complaining that Aboriginal people get everything for free. This is a complaint that I can verify as I hear it regularly too. But it’s not fair. Not at all. And this is a very typical example of one of those barriers. My friend explained that earlier that week, her niece (step-daughter of the above-mentioned relation) unsuccessfully applied for Austudy. The reason for the failure? She is related to a white man who earns too much money and because he is married to her mother, a black woman, the lass is not eligible for Austudy. Seems to be to be a very clear barrier.

Another friend, an artist, tells of some very blatant racism that he has endured. He mentions that sometimes it is the covert body language of Non-Indigenous persons that convey their inner racism. When this talented artist has attended workshops, he could ‘feel’ Non-Indigenous people looking at him in a critical way. How absolutely shameful. It seemed he was the only Aboriginal person in the room at one stage and when the workshop ended and it was time for mingling, he was left standing alone despite his own efforts at trying to approach people. They just turned away. Attending other art award evenings he has simply been ignored.

Many people claim they are not racist at all – but they are. And there are times when my blood boils when listening to conversations around me. People making racist jokes, at the same time claiming that they are not racist. And I have heard non-Indigenous people claiming that certain things should not be accessible to Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander people. Why not? I have asked, only to be ignored. So, effectively, they are encouraging those barriers.

My artist friend continues by adding that Aboriginal people have an inner radar for the ‘vibes’ that other individuals give off. It’s all about energy and believe me, they feel it.  Even through his amazing artwork (which I have had the huge fortune to see and write about) he is connecting to country – his style of painting is a blend of landscape and also some ancestral dreaming work from his inner visions. It can also be dictated by distinct areas of Aboriginal culture. Looking at his work and having grown to know this man (and his wife) through emails etc even I am starting a feel a little of the power that he talks about. But then, I am not racist.

When this artist recently applied for an arts grant (still pending approval), he was rather – interested – when approaching people to write letters of support for him. As he explains, some were helpful, others not interested. Some were outright rude. When I was approached, I felt so privileged that I wrote one which I can only hope will help him achieve the success he so deserves.

This amazing man and his wife have gone on to tell me some amazing stories of pure and blatant racism which has been displayed to them. They have not been included here as this article is calling more for barriers – and anyway, my blood is now boiling.

What I cannot understand and continues to annoy me so much – why are there barriers in place for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people when some of their skills, as in the works of the above artist, could do so much for Australia, for all our homeland?

But racism and those associated barriers are not confined to our Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people. Australia, like most nations, is blessed with an enormous multi-cultural population – but so many of these people, whether legal immigrants or not, share that feeling of racism. A German friend of mine tells about some of her experiences and those of her family, when they first came here in 1964. As Germans – you know, normal people - they were subjected to some awful treatment, being called everything under the sun. Horrible. As my friend says, she still feels bad about the shame she was made to feel simply because of where she was born. While she has not mentioned any particular barriers, I have absolutely no doubt they were well and truly present. Just because they were German. She does add that sometimes she feels the price paid for trying to be a ‘true blue Aussie’ – is way too high. Agreed.

A final word from one of my Aboriginal friends. As she says, sadly the above is the image that most people who aren’t Aboriginal have of the First Peoples of this country – and of some immigrants. In her own words: ‘Sadly this is the image that most people who aren’t Aboriginal have of the First Peoples of this country. We live in one of the richest countries in the world, but Aboriginal people are living in third world conditions. We don’t choose to have poor health, poor education, poor living standards or work in jobs that pay way less than what we can possibly earn. This is life for most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’.
So, yes – there continue to be barriers everywhere, right across the board.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015



1    Please tell us a little bit about your childhood, your background;

I had no brothers or sisters to blame things on, so I was the sole focus of my parents' attention. This was both good and bad! My father was a police officer...for real! Always on the lookout for delinquent behaviour!

2   You are a character actress, comedienne, writer, researcher, equestrienne and published author. Have you always wanted to be in entertaining, somehow or did you aspire toward something different completely when you were younger?

I was always writing stories, as far back as I can remember. I would rush home at lunch time, writer a short script, then take it back to school, talk my teacher into letting us rehearse and then perform for the class. And we are talking elementary school here!

3   You have performed in quite a few TV programmes/shows etc. Can you tell us which ones and a little bit about that generally?

Well, my favourite was a TV series about professional wrestling; I played the physician in several episodes. This was awesome because much of it was filmed in their dressing rooms! But also because the director let us improvise and the scenes in the ring were filmed in front of a live audience. I remember him coming up to me afterwards and laughing:  'I didn't know where you were going with that!' Some of the films I have been in - 'Hit Man', 'The Riff', 'Holiday in Her Heart', 'Painted Hero' and 'Slap Her, She's French'. Among the TV series are 'Walker, Texas Ranger' (two episodes), 'PCW' (two episodes) and 'Hawaii Five-O'. Commercials include 'Nike', 'Marcus Cable' and 'Disney'.

4  You also have some 'special abilities'- ie you can read at quite a few words per minute. Please tell us something about this;

When I check out books at the local library, patrons are sometimes amazed at the quantity. I explain that I can read very fast and they always say:  'What a gift!' I can read 1,189 words (per minute) with comprehension. This fact has made it very easy to research and in Diplomacy and Military Studies at Hawai'i Pacific University, I excelled in Open Source Intelligence Gathering. I like to listen to 'Big Data's' song 'Dangerous', because I was told by an instructor that as a great researcher, I was dangerous! LOL.

5   You have also done some teaching? When, where and what exactly?

I taught at both a four year university and several community colleges in Texas. My areas of expertise are: US History, US Government, Texas History, Texas Government and English Composition. I have also tutored students in writing. This was between 2004-2010. However, I did standup comedy for some years before this and I can tell you, standup was excellent practice for teaching college.

6   As a writer, what publications do you have on the market?

In the past, I have posted some online stories/poems, on and The only thing I really have on the market right now is myself. I am on sale today. Just so people know.

7   Are you self or traditionally published?

I have written for Lemons Newspapers, The Bastrop Enterprise, Lewis Newspapers, Indie Slate Magazine and Equus, among others. My column, 'Northern Lights' ran in several Texas newspapers in the 90s. I used it in my standup then, too! I have penned six screenplays and written numerous spec scripts.

8   What are you working on at the moment, be it writing, acting or whatever?

I have a blog,, in which I write material that I then use in my standup comedy in Waikiki. I am currently learning how to do the Moonwalk! I also promote several actors, directors and comedians on my website.

9   Have you had to face and overcome any/many problems/challenges and/or adversities in your life?

My life has been a soap opera - I broke my neck when a horse fell on me and I was partially paralized for a year; have had amnesia; double pneumonia; blood clots; a brain abscess; numerous broken bones, including a badly fractured tibia in 2014; and the absolutely worst chronic and acute case of stage fright that I have ever seen or heard of. (Eleanor Roosevelt said that a person must do what he or she fears the most, but I don't think she meant to do it every day!).

10  You are also something of an equestrienne. Can you please tell us a little bit about that;

My family owned a stable and we boarded horses, gave lessons, trained hunters and jumpers and travelled to shows. Once, when I was nine years old, we had a horse that just defied everyone's attempts to ride it. I sneaked into the stable one night, climbed up on this horse, then rode it round and round until it was dizzy. The next day, I rode the horse out of the stall and into the stable yard. Incredulous looks were followed by a long spell of being grounded, not by the horse, never by that horse, but by my horrified parents. Another time, I trained a stubborn horse to get into a trailer by riding it in! Grounded again. I did break my neck when I was 23 when a horse fell with me and rolled over me. However, this was not really a bad thing because once I healed, I actually won way more championships because I had learned to slow down a little!

I have not owned a horse since moving to Hawai'i in 2010. Yesterday, though, I put an ad in the local paper. The ad begins:  'Do you have a bad-tempered horse that you would like to part with?' I think I have it in me to train another horse! After all, I am only 62. 62 1/2.

11   Are you professionally managed or do you represent yourself?

I am represented by the ADR Agency in Kaneohe, Hawai'i.

12   Have you done a lot of media interviews?

Do depositions count?

13   What and/or who are your inspirations?

Artist, actor, director, writer, philanthropist and friend Jack Lord...long story...

14   What do you enjoy doing in your 'spare' time?

Spending time with my family, my pets - and now looking for a new horse.

15   What are your short and long term professional goals?

I love doing standup; in the beginning, it took a bottle of Imodium to get me up on stage, but now I love it! I enjoy making people laugh; it's so good for them. I would also like to do more film work.

16   Is there anything further you would like to share with the world?

The universe will speak to you if you only listen. What you put out there will come back to you, tenfold! People cross your path for a reason, so help everyone that you can. Always, always be a cheerleader, for others and also for yourself!


1. Please tell us a little bit about your background;

I was born and bred in Parkes NSW, Australia. Mechanic dad and Avon Lady mum with a farming background. My life now takes me all over the world.

2. You are a country singer. Have you always wanted to sing or did you aspire toward something else when you were younger?

My mum said I was singing before I was talking. Music has always been in my bones and although I had dreams of working with animals or being some kind of visual artist, I think the universe made the decision for me. Music will be my life and is in my blood.

3. How did you ‘break’ into singing?

Australia is lucky to have a strong network country music talent quests. My home town had a large one that got me into the genre. My parents made it their hobbies to get me around to as many of these competitions as they could manage. Sometimes traveling long hours on weeks ends. It never really mattered if I came home with a trophy, it was all about the music and going experience. I made great life long friends, too.

4. Do you have a manager or do you represent yourself?

I have a team here in the US but I have pretty much been unmanaged my entire career. I oversee most things while I have a label, publisher and PR company that take care of some details. A lot of my time is not spent on music unfortunately and a lot of people are unaware of the extensive work that is done in the office behind the scenes.

5. Have you won any/many awards? Please tell us a little bit about that;

Including all of those little talent quests, I’ve actually accumulated over 400 awards. Some of the major ones include two Golden Guitars (Australian Country Music Awards). One for Female Artist of the Year and the Other for New talent of the Year.

6. I understand you have also entertained some of our troops overseas. Please tell us something about that;

Is most probably the highlight of my career. I have done three entertainment deployments with the military and will be forever grateful for the experience and opportunity to share my music with a most appreciative crowd. I got to experience things that a limited amount of civilians will ever see.

7. You have also travelled the world with some other major entertainers. Can we know who and where and when you have travelled?

One of the greatest gifts that music gives me is my traveling and experiences. I've worked as a songwriter and producer right throughout Europe, Asia, South Pacific, North America and the list goes on. I have a team of Grammy award winning writers, producers and artists that I’m lucky enough to work with time and time again.

8. What other jobs did you hold prior to entertainment?

Recruitment executive, Pizza Hut manager, elderly care worker and the list goes on. In the early days I held a lot of jobs in order to support the launch of my music career.

9. What do you enjoy doing in your ‘spare’ time?

I love anything in the outdoors. Hiking, camping and I LOVE to just watch TV. I’m not very good at switching off and TV helps me do that.

10. Who and/or what are your inspirations?

Life. Just life. I love to drive long distances and meet new people. These experiences are a constant source of inspiration.

11. Is anyone else in your family in entertainment?

All members of my family were musical. Mum sang, Dad played drums, Biggest brother studied violin and next big brother down is an amazing bass player. None of them pursued it as a career, though.

12. Have you many DVDs released?

I have never released a DVD. Yet :-)

13. Have you done a lot of media interviews, including guesting on TV shows at all?

A LOT. My entire adult life has been filled with media ranging from TV to Magazine.

14. What are your short and long term goals for your career?

I always feel guilty for answering this way, but I really don't focus on goals. I enjoy the journey and take every opportunity that comes my way. I guess if there were any goals, it is to simply get my music to the masses. Thats a big job that will continue for the rest of my life.

15. Do you also write your own songs as well as writing for other singers at all?

I write all of my own material and also write for others. My songs are true stories and being an authentic story telling artist is important to me.

16. Is there anything further you would like to add to this?

Thank you for your support!!! 

LINK:  FaceBook

New album and American Debut released January 29th 2016. Dianna Corcoran - In America.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


1  Please tell us a little bit about your childhood/background:

Born in Germany and arrived in Australia in 1964.

'No Glory For Me' is an auto-biography which leads up to my becoming Australia's first registered, professional female boxer, dual Victorian Champion and Australian Champion Kickboxer. It continues to be my downfall years later, including time spent in psychiatric care and a criminal conviction. In brief, it is a summary of the price I paid for fame.

The book begins with the court room scene that changed my life forever. The first chapter covers my arrival at a migrant hostel in Victoria, Australia from Germany in the early 60s. The struggle to survive and overcome racism and associated physical violence.

At 19 I opened my first 'women only' gay bar and shortly afterwards, a second. A car accident found me reassessing life's values and several events led me to join a local boxing gym. I trained until 1982 when, disillusioned after failing to be granted my professional boxing licence and just missing out on an opportunity to stage the 'first official women's bout', I retired.cha

I eventually returned to the boxing arena and after several years of persistently challenging the system, was granted my boxing licence and became the first official, professional female boxer in the country.

I also had the first official female fight in Australia.

Due to a lack of opponents, I later joined a kickboxing dojo where I was promised a shot at a Victorian title.

I was drugged and raped by my trainer/manager a few days before my first match. I had to make a decision - should I go to the police even though there were no witnesses and I had no real proof, or should I say nothing and continue training? The auto-biography continues to take the reader through to the end of my career and what follows.

2  You are a professional boxer as well as a kickboxing champion. Have you always wanted to be in this profession or did you want to be something else as you were growing up?

I wanted to be a vet. But my life became one of street survival and I learnt at a young age that the tough guy gets left alone.

3  How do you feel having the above titles? Australia's First Professional Female Boxer and Australian Super Bantamweight Kickboxing Champion?

I am proud of my achievements.

4  As the above, have you won any/many titles and/or awards?

I won countless martial arts tournaments in full and semi-contract fights.

5  Have you travelled the world on the boxing circuit?

No - as per the above synopsis my career was cut short.

6  Have you done many media interviews?

Yes - at this time I was constantly in the media.

7  How do your family/friends feel about your chosen career?

I had lots of friends while I was winning and very few towards the end when I needed them..

8  What do you enjoy doing in your 'spare' time?

Playing drums and writing are my passions.

9  What are your short and long term professional goals?

To make this book into a movie. To continue writing and to be able to hold webinars and seminars to help others speak out.

10  Do you support many causes? Can you please tell us about them?

Yes - Animals Australia and the Cerebral Palsy League and those who can't speak for themselves.

11  Is there anything further you would like to add to share with the world?

To all the manipulators, predators and bullies - watch out!

Thursday, October 15, 2015


I started my painting career very late in life, however I commenced to work as an artist very early in life. As a child I made objects all of the time. Anything from arranging stones in patterns, collecting feathers, wire, old tins, string or cotton to make into wall hangings. I had no decent paper, pens or pencils so I collected charcoal from the burnt out fire and used it to draw on the outside walls of my parents' house. 

 I learned to sew when my legs were long enough to peddle the sewing machine and in my early teens earned money by making hats and jewellery. 

 All my life I have been a maker. The first thought I have every morning is ‘what will I make today.’ The last thought in the evening is to look at the day’s effort and say 'I didn’t have you this morning’. 

 At 14 years of age, I was refused any opportunity to study art or continue at high school. I was sent to Flinders Lane in Melbourne to train as a dressmaker. My employers thought I had sufficient talent to become a designer and sent me to RMIT to learn fashion drawing and pattern making.

Fashion was a new word to me, as my mother and aunts wore ‘clothes’ and usually the same ones for years.  When I turned up on my first day at the workroom, I had no more than an old blouse of my mothers, which was worn out under the arms, a recycled skirt and school shoes. By the time I had finished training I was one of the smartest dressers in Melbourne. State Gallery Director, writer, critic- Patrick McCaughey once remarked ‘Helen you are so glamorous’. My reply was ‘But it is part of my job as a fashion designer'. From my late teens I worked as a designer and became very interested in modern art, I admired the French artist Sonia Delaunay and liked the idea that art and fashion could generate projects together. 

As a sophisticated young woman in my early twenties, I was already making a name for myself as a designer. I dreamed of going to Paris, an ambition that was interrupted by forming a difficult relationship with the young Australian artist Leonard French. 
 I then spent the next twenty two years as his partner and have had an intense involvement in the Australian art world ever since. Although my career as a fashion designer was continually interrupted by this involvement, I constantly produced art pieces, particularly wall hangings, fabric collage, patchwork and fashion jewellery. 

 During my time of confinement to home duties and the birth of my three children, I commenced my applique projects and when the family was living in London in 1962 undertook classes at the London Institute of Art. Two years later the family spent a year in New Haven Connecticut USA.  

 At Yale University I was involved in a program of lectures on Art and Architecture run by Vincent Scully (Author and Emeritus Professor of the History of Art) and took part in several painting workshops in New Haven where my work was exhibited. travelled regularly to New York for exhibitions and to visit renowned art galleries.  

 Returning to Melbourne, Australia, my production and design skills led to a successful career as fashion designer with my own label ''French'. My boutique and atelier attracted South Yarra and Toorak clients and I became a celebrity figure in the fashion and art world. I have had a consistent and bountiful involvement in the production of textiles, jewellery, wall hangings and garments, which were sold through my business.
I always say that I made clothes for ‘the rich and famous’ and hung out with my artist friends -  ‘the poor and famous.’ 

I divorced Leonard French in 1974. 

I later wrote a memoir about that period of my life. I have not found a suitable publisher and I’m not considering self – publishing.  In it I write the inside story about living with your not- so- average- sort of bloke, while maintaining my own creative output in a male dominated world and the challenges of the relationship of two highly creative people with many visual resources.  

 1974-1995 I faced many challenges in my life. One was expanding my career as a woman in the changing world and the important other was successfully bringing up two boys and a girl as a single mother.   

After I sold my fashion business in 1995 it was natural to commence painting as I had been making art in various forms all my life.  Painting was just an extension of my creative inquiry. My art has evolved from my life experience and a passionate interest in the history of textiles. 

From 2000, I participated in a few group shows and several one person shows. I had some difficulty with fitting in to a system that to me was amateurish in comparison with my experience as a professional business director. In 2007 at the age of 75, I decided to withdraw from exhibiting in unsuitable venues and to achieve a better financial result by showing my work from my own studio - showroom. 

 In August 2015, my work was shown in a large survey exhibition at Glen Eira City Gallery in Melbourne. I’m now working on a new series of paintings and drawings to exhibit in 2016 when I will be 85.  


2015         - Survey Exhibition, Glen Eira Gallery, Melbourne - paintings and fashion from                         1966-2015;
2007-2010-  Yearly Exhibition of art work from the studio;
2006         -  Intrude Gallery - paintings;
2005         -  McCulloch Gallery, Melbourne - new paintings;
2000         -  Aardwolf Gallery, Survey Exhibition - paintings from 1988-2000;
1996         -  Spence Promotions New York - paintings;
1976-1994-  French Showroom, Melbourne - wall hangings, jewellery;
1994        -  Julie Artisan's Gallery, New York - wall hangings;
1990-2006-  Marc French Pty Ltd, Melbourne - paintings;
1994-2006-  Studio Exhibitions - paintings;
1987   -  Acland Art Gallery, St Kilda, Melbourne - comprehensive jewellery exhibition;
1967-1995-  Director of fashion business 'French'.


2005         -  Intrude - paintings;
2003         -  McGivern Art Prize;
2003         -  Metropolis, St Kilda - paintings;
2001       -   Mahoney's Galleries, Hardware Lane, Melbourne                  - paintings;
2000         -  Murdoch & Barclay, Clara Street, South Yarra -                        paintings;
2000         -   Aardwolf Gallery, Melbourne - paintings;
1999         -   Metropolis, St Kilda - paintings;
1999         -   Aardwolf Gallery, Melbourne - paintings;
1996         -   A.R.T Gallery Eden, Collins Street, Melbourne - 
1996         -   Spence Promotions, New York - paintings;
1992         -   Acland Art Gallery, St Kilda - paintings;
1988         -   Acland Art Gallery, St Kilda - Exhibition of small


Work is held in various corporate collections, including the collection of Sofitel Hostels and numerous private collections in Australia, New York and Cologne.

Information and inquiries about Helen's work are on:
On the website in Éxhibitions' there is an online catalogue of Helen's recent exhibition.