While it was certainly time for me to pack the bag, board the plane and make my way out of WA – arriving into Melbourne at midnight, into a polar storm was certainly not in the plan.
The wind literally blew my phone out of my hand and across the road that I was trying to cross as my bags blew in different directions and my hair whipped my face.
Welcome to Victoria they said!
Thank goodness Susan was on the end of that far flung phone and found me amongst the chaos, and we high-tailed it out of the storm to Geelong.
A day later the temperature still hadn’t risen so we celebrated the Melbourne Cup at a private (heated) event hosted by Elizabeth and PJ on their nearby farm. The theme was Melbourne Cup yellow and in true Variety Bash style we donned many an outfit change (mine a multitude of layers); joined by none other than our own cardboard selves.
After all, doesn’t everyone have their own cardboard cut-out, – ready for rent-a-crowd.
Next we girls were on the first of my many road trips, to the historic town of Yackandandah, where I was invited to take part in a fashion parade event showcasing my millinery alongside the clothing range of Vivienne Cate, a simply delightful store owned by our gorgeous friend Karen.
We girls are known to combine work with travel, with play, – with our reunions, and for this catchup we stayed in a beautifully restored bank building, https://www.ashlarstays.com.au/copy-of-ashlar-on-high nestled in the heart of Yackandandah, hosting the fashion parade in the stunning backyard gardens.
Halfway through the parade, of course – another storm scuttled us into an intimate second half on the veranda.
Before my Broome departure, I had seriously forgotten what it was like to be cold. Karen has clothed me to survive these endless chilly days and nights – and thankfully so, because I’ve been freezing since the day I flew out.
The next road trip was with Karen to Mazza in Yarrawonga, through historic townships and wineries, even twisting our rubber arms for a ‘crisp white’ along the way.
And my trip to Albury was by regional tour with the awesome Mazza herself. This was my first exposure to the confronting rising flood levels of Vic and NSW.
I boarded the flight out of Vic to Sydney and on to Dubbo, to my dear friend Em of Em Menzies Art.
Our road trip the next day was literally out to the back of Bourke, to “Salt Lake” Station where once upon a time I was a governess; and included a visit to “Emaroo”- the last Station on the road – where Em grew up and where the inspiration for her ‘girls’ art was born.
The trip out to Emaroo was also to visit a recent resting place, a memorial for Em’s father and brother, who both passed away separately during the height of covid. Unable to travel to be with Em and our friends during that time, I’ve struggled to come to terms with Scotty’s passing, so particularly this part of our trip out west was filled with emotion, for us both.
The artist and the milliner were awed by the beautiful wildflowers, the green pick was a multitude of grasses and that red soil, – so familiar to a now Kimberley girl; and I’d never seen so much water out there.
I was a 19 year old when I was a governess at Salt Lake. The kid’s dad would climb the windmill daily and tell us “big rain coming bunge”, which it never did, because we were in drought.
To now see this country so wet and green was quite spectacular, with inspiration as far as the eye could see; a stunning landscape of colour, nestled into that rich red soil.
We had the ultimate tour guides – Tegan, Jack and kids, – Jack being one of the kids I taught way back then, and we made it safely back to Dubbo before more rain and the water traveled down river and closed the road.
Back in Dubbo, I was treated to a paint and sip class with Em, painting the adventure on the canvas – and wholla! – I introduce you to my attempt at painting – entitled “Salt Lake Soak” and some inspiration for my next millinery collection.
I’m now in Central Western New South Wales with my family, surrounded by their flowering and edible gardens.
I’ve grown up knowing home as drought country but to see all this grass and flora is quite amazing. I’m constantly inspired, not to mention filled with energy from being with my friends and family.
As you know I am passionate about rural and remote Australia and about designing collections of Millinery that truly reflect our beautiful regional land.
My Mardi Gras millinery collection will be first to showcase, in February 2023, followed by a race wear release in May. I’ve been designing whilst away and will create when I return to Broome.
While I’m Milliner on the Move, my current collections of millinery are on show and available for sale at Cygnet Bay Pearls Showroom in Broome, WA and Vivienne Cate, Yackandandah, Vic so get in touch with these fabulous outlets if you’re looking to purchase your Hats by Felicity headpiece or hat.
Modelled by the team at Cygnet Bay Pearls
These and more available for sale at https://www.cygnetbaypearlfarm.com.au/
I have a small collection of my retail range everyday straw hats with me, and don’t forget, there’s always the handy gift voucher for you or for that special Christmas gift – available from my online store.
For gift vouchers click https://hatsbyfelicity.com.au/
My heart is full, my cup is full, I’m surrounded by friends and family that I’ve missed dreadfully over these past three + years, and my creativity has returned.
The power of travel – so very important, especially for this Milliner on the Move.
Merry Festive season, keep smiling and I’ll check in again soon.
x Felicity (Flic)
Milliner on the Move 🙂