Category Archives: On the move – QLD – May 2011

Living the dream

I love the bush!

I have just returned from my five day stay on Yougawalla station, with my wonderful friends the Sale family and once again I am all teary having left behind the spiritual desert and beautiful friends. During my time on the Station I helped out where needed with the cattle work and when I wasn’t riding a motorbike, chasing cows, reveling in the scene from the chopper with Haydo or playing with adorable Gus and Tilly in their new school room; I was enjoying sunset drinks over the majestic desert of wildflowers and vivid red cliffs with Jane and oh, how I loved it all!

Those of you that have known me for years are completely aware that I hold an infatuation with life on the land that seems to only grow more intense with age. I feel so at home in the bush. Of course, I love my home in Broome and to return to this sanctuary by the sea is perfect but there’s just something about the land that was obviously seeded with my childhood, being born and bred on a NSW sheep property and blooms like the wildflowers as the years goes on.

On this leg of the adventure, as milliner on the move, there were great moments of inspiration for creation during my time on the Station and it would seem the creative bug was catching as Jane, too, after a long and dusty day in the yards, found some millinery inspiration of her own.


And it would seem the creativity and keenness was infectious and even the fellas got into the game.

Amongst all the fun and hard work, there was also an event of sadness during my time on Yougawalla, with the loss of Jane’s treasured six year old, three legged loyal Kelpie friend, Ruby. We don’t know Ruby’s fate but she passed away leaving a great sense of loss for all on the station. I took a moment at the yards when the others were chasing cows on motorbikes, horse and chopper (not the usual moment one takes with toilet paper in hand), to jot down a headpiece creation that was forming in my mind since the loss of beautiful Ruby cakes.

The final creation inspired by Ruby cakes will not too far away, so stay tuned.

On my way home from Yougawalla I stopped in at Bulka Station, to take a few Kodak moments of Jim Motter in the yards for a little yarn I am working on for the Outback magazine before embarking on the 6 hour drive back to Broome.

At Willare I tracked down my youngest brother, Matt, who is working on a nearby fence line and who too, is immersed in and enjoying the Kimberley bush. We had a beer together and a catch up before I got back into my trusty Subaru and drove the last leg into town.

Tomorrow is Broome’s first race meet for the year, so no sooner had my feet touched the home ground I was back in my studio shed and to work. My milliner on the move adventure from QLD through the NT, into the East Kimberley and then home into the West has been nothing short of sensational.

The great news is Penny, from The Bower in Cloncurry has purchased four more creations since I departed and has sent the remainder of the collection home to Broome for the season. This brings my total sales from the Cloncurry visit to 15 pieces. Excitedly, Penny will continue to stock a collection of Hats by Felicity in The Bower and is officially my first wholesale customer.

One day after my return to Broome I had a call from a local Broome boutique called “Nowhere Else But Here” who was also keen to stock my work and would you believe, wanted pieces before tomorrow’s first race meet. So, after continuing my Station early morning rise time this morning, I was in my studio from before the sun rose, till I completed three new creations to hand deliver to this shop and lo and behold, “Nowhere Else But Here” is now a Hats by Felicity wholesale customer too.

I now officially have two wholesale customers and a swag of custom made commissions for whom to create; not to mention a parade at the Kimberley Cup races and perhaps an exhibition later in the year.

This milliner on the move trip not only provided these opportunities but also allowed me to pursue my photojournalism passion, covering two stories for the West Australian and another for RM Williams Outback magazine. These story opportunities, in addition to the hat show, the design opportunities, travelling the fabulous countryside and most importantly of all, the quality time spent with treasured friends means that I am truly living the dream and I take this opportunity to thank you all for making this happen. xflic

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The adventure continues

After two days in Darwin I flew to the East Kimberley’s Kununurra, arriving in perfect time for the Kimberley Moon Festival and the fabulous line up of artists including Jimmy Barnes, Vanessa Amorosi, the Pigram Brothers & Alex Lloyd; just to name a few.  The first 10 rows of our plane seats into Kununurra were filled with high profile someone’s, flying in from around the Country for the event , of which I only recognised one to be Deborah Hutton.  We in the rows towards the back of the plane were not poured the same champagne but I did manage a seat next to Barnsey’s stage manager who very kindly offered his business card; of course to call him in case I needed free tickets to the event.      

Our group of funstars enjoyed the concert from the most perfect position on the hill, which was well defined by striped shirts, eskies and chopper pilots and between here and the mosh pit we managed to ‘do’ the moon as the moon should be done!

I stayed in Kununurra for a few more days, with my wonderful friends, the Mackies and during my stay, not only did I get to enjoy another stunning Kimberley full moon but I also covered a few stories for the West Australian’s New Homes magazine and the RM Williams Outback magazine during my stay.  This Milliner on the move trip is the first that I have co-ordinated my passions of writing and photography with the Millinery and I am really excited with how well the three fall into place together on the road.

I was also excited at this beautiful East Kimberly full moon  …

From Kununurra I made a brief touchdown into Broome to unpack,  wash and repack and for a very important catch up with my fellow race horse syndicate girls, in preparation for the upcoming Broome races and most importantly, the first race meet set for May 28th.   Broome races will be viewed by Sky channel this year so make sure you keep an eye out for a brightly coloured jockey in teal and pink, because he will be riding our girl!

Millinery and the races have always been my passion, so it seems only sensible that I should also be involved with a race horse, along with 9 other ridiculously fun women; so watch this Illusive Gold space my friends, because this filly is going to make herself known – well probably all 10 of us as well as the horse will make ourselves known …

But for now, the Milliner on the move outback adventure continues, as I jump into my car and commence the journey to Yougawalla station, south of Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek and into the desert, for some cattle station inspiration for creation.

Chat again soon …


Successful event at The Bower

I left Cairns so full of inspiration for both my garden and for the next collection of Hats by Felicity creations.  The gardens in Cairns, similar to Broome, are so full of colour and plant variety and with the added magnificence of hatching butterflies.  Amongst Jo’s beautiful gardens we watched the hatching of a Cairns Birdwing butterfly that completely begs the creation of headpiece in its honour.

From Cairns I flew to Mount Isa via a touchdown in Townsville.  Local Cloncurry Hardware owners Jill and Trevor found me at the airport (clearly identifying me by my pearl) and drove me an hour away to Cloncurry; delivering me safe and sound to my friends Shona and Brent Acton and son Ned.

Tuesday night was the Ladies evening event at The Bower and this was a huge success.  About 50 Ladies attended the evening of champagne, fabulous food and Hats by Felicity, organized by owner of The Bower, Penny Back and her fabulous friends.  I was made feel so welcome and even presented with gorgeous gifts as a thank you for travelling so far.  I sold 7 headpieces on the night and 11 creations in total before I departed Cloncurry and excitedly Penny and I will further develop our business relationship with a wholesaling arrangement of Hats by Felicity with The Bower from now onwards. 

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The remainder of the collection is with The Bower, while I continue my journey, given the interest is still keen and ladies are still visiting the shop with their dresses to match for the upcoming local races in June; and in true Flic form, I spent the rest of my time in Cloncurry on nearby Fort Constantine Station getting my dose of cattle and station life. 

As most would know my time on remote cattle and sheep stations is from where the inspiration and beginnings for Hats by Felicity grew, with the recent story in the RM Williams Outback magazine generating the interest and opportunity to exhibit in Cloncurry.  I love bringing the Hats story back to its beginnings and I am forever grateful for the chance to get back out bush.

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On Fort Constantine station I visited long time friend, Heidi Morris (nee Major) and her family.  I first met Heidi in 1986 when we were both working on remote sheep station Salt Lake, 120 miles west of Bourke in NSW.  I was the governess and Heidi was on the contract mustering team.  A few years later I was Heidi’s bridesmaid when Heidi married Jack and I am god mother to their first son, Clayton, who unfortunately I didn’t get to see on this trip but I did get to meet their daughter, Emma and youngest son, Tom.   It was about twenty years since Heidi and Jack and I had seen each other, so a great reunion at The Fort.

Between Penny, Heidi and Shona my QLD trip was so wonderful and well organized that I didn’t miss out on seeing anyone, partaking in anything and most importantly I didn’t miss any essential mode of transport.     Shona drove me to Mount Isa for my flight out to the NT, where I spent a few days in sunny Darwin which was a lot warmer than the 8 degrees I woke to on my last morning at The Fort.

Thanks to all in Cloncurry, for such a wonderful visit and I look forward to my return, which is rumoured to be early next year.

The Adventure has begun

I am sitting in Cairns where I lived 15 years ago and besides my great friends Cate and Jo, to be honest I don’t recognise a whole lot else.
We’re enjoying a quiet Sunday after quite the loud Saturday night which started in the Pure Blonde corporate box at the Basketball, watching the Cairns Marlins unfortunately lose to the Townsville heat. In these box seats a group of five blondes and two non blondes celebrated Cate’s milestone birthday with fabulous food, French champagne and an African American import called Ayinde Ubaka (Chewie).
This was my first basketball experience and I have to say, this is an amazing sport to watch, of course, made all the more exciting with good bubbles, beer and box seats.
Tomorrow morning the plan is to meet with some Millinery teachers at the Queensland TAFE and then it’s on the plane to Mount Isa, where a lift has been organized for the hour’s drive on to Cloncurry and to where this next Millinery adventure will begin.
My collection of 36 headpieces has arrived safe and sound in Cloncurry and as we speak is being created into a display at The Bower for our Ladies night event on Tuesday; and the rumour is that we can expect quite the crowd, so watch this space for the updates.
In the meantime, it’s past twelve on Sunday, so we all know what that means …
Cheers, beautiful people.

The Milliner is on the move … again

I am beside myself with excitement and once again, I am officially the mad hatter; locked away in my studio shed and creating the latest Hats by Felicity collection that I will travel to Cloncurry, Queensland, in but a few short weeks.

As a result of the story published in the Feb/March edition of the RM Williams Outback magazine, the exciting opportunity has presented to showcase my Kimberley creations of unique headwear to the rural and regional women of Queensland; with a fabulous event hosted by “The Bower”, in Cloncurry.

So … The Milliner is on the move … again.  Yay!!!

Please subscribe to this blog if you would like my updates automatically sent to your email and as my May 6th Broome departure date nears I will keep you updated with all the plans, feathers, bubbles and fun.  x

For the story that appeared in the RM Williams Outback Magazine click on the link. RM Williams Outback magazine story “The Glad Hatter”