Fairholme Old Girl, Edwina Robertson, toured her old 'home' today. Her ability to snap amazing photographs, coupled with her love for outback Australia, all began on the grounds in Wirra Wirra Street.
One of her photographs went viral. A dusty picture of a bridal party in Blackall during extreme drought and a dust storm, raised more than $40,000 for Tie up the Black Dog mental health organisation, when Edwina Robertson (2003) pledged to donate $3 each time the photo was shared.
“That was a career highlight for me. Especially when it was announced last week that the money was going to the Royal Flying Doctors Service - once I knew where every dollar was going, I was ecstatic. If just one person gets mental health help from that photograph, then everything else is secondary.”
Affectionately known by Fairholme staff as ‘Eddy’, the 2003 Senior and Head Boarder says her need to help others, was instilled in her during her years at the Boarding house and in the classrooms at Fairholme College.
“I think especially being a boarder. Seeing what other boarder families are going through, in droughts and floods, I think it just made me feel the need to spread the word about country Australia. I wanted other people to be aware of what was happening.”
It was Fairholme too, where she says she was made to stand on her own two feet, while also being a leader, as Head Boarder.
“It made me independent and gave me that sense of fearless determination. That’s what has allowed me to go out and do what I’m doing now.”
Edwina remembers lining Palm Drive to cheer on sporting teams as they left the College to compete.
“We would all stand along the sides as the buses left and cheer for them. That community spirit is my memory of Fairholme. There was more reason to here than just an education.”
She laughs as she reports on friends who are marrying and having children, while she travels around rural Australia, capturing stories.
“I appreciate the friendships I made here and I think it was an absolutely amazing start. It was the best thing my parents could’ve ever done for me.”
Edwina’s most recent photograph of a Bride and Groom near Katherine in the Northern Territory is also going viral. It’s not hard to see why.
“The escarpment was about 50 meters high. They had a chopper pilot there - he took the bride up and then the groom. Then he came back and got me, and then when I saw where they were on the edge of an escarpment with the sun setting in the background,” she sighs.
“It was pretty special - that to me was the epitome of what I’ve been working towards for the last three years. To me, this is outback Australia. The middle of nowhere. The open sun and red rock, a young couple just starting their life together. I felt like Baz Lurhmann.”
Edwina will be part of the 100 Year celebrations at Fairholme in 2017, and plans on exhibiting at the College’s first Art Exhibition, ‘Facets of Fairholme’ next year.
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