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Sally Riordan

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Sally, hatching Peter

Early 1963

Sally (officially Shirley-Anne Yeo) was born in Southsea, UK on 2 October 1934. She spent her childhood in the area between Haslemere and Portsmouth, but when her father was appointed to the Broadcasting Control Board the family followed him to Melbourne, arriving early in 1957.

Sally was fascinated by the outback, and in 1958 she had travelled down the Birdsville track with three other girls on the back of the mail truck. She played badminton with a group from the Youth Hostels Association, and when in 1960 another girl mentioned that she was going to Kings Canyon with a friend Sally announced that she was going too. Kings Canyon was then virtually unknown, and almost inaccessible, so the trip was a major undertaking. The girls thought that perhaps they should have a mechanic, and as I had been with the other girls to Alice Springs the year before, they decided to invite me. When they approached me I took one look at Sally and thought "Hmmm", so I agreed.

We called into Tempe Downs (the last cattle station), who promised to come looking for us if we weren't back in a fortnight. We only had a very rough track to follow, and we saw nobody for more than a week. We had no mobile phones, no radio, and no way of calling for help in an emergency, but nothing went wrong and we had a very rewarding trip. As we got to know each other we discovered that Sally and I had been on the same ship coming to Australia, but as she was travelling first class courtesy of the Australian Government, while I was down in the bilges, we did not meet.

We became engaged at the end of the year, and married in June 1961. We had three children -- Peter, Adrian and Sarah, who all went to Brighton Beach Primary School and then to St Leonard's College.

We did a lot of bushwalking and some rock climbing and all the children were at home in the bush. When Peter joined St Leonard's we met another family who had a ski lodge at Falls Creek. This was much more comfortable than camping in the bush, and after that we spent most of our summer holidays exploring the High Plains.

Sally liked cooking and was a keen gardener. She also took up pottery and, after a heart attack, watercolours. She was also interested in photography.

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 © Roger Riordan 2004-2017

Sally Riordan