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Coasting : Issue 7 Jan 2010
11 www.coastingtoday.com.au the Pengilleys' house at the corner of The Entrance and Carlton roads. "The Pengilleys used to let us change on their front veranda and pull off the leeches and put on our black stockings to get The Entrance bus into school." Sharyn attended primary school at St Joseph's Catholic School, which was then in Donnison Street, Gosford. The school had moved to the new complex at East Gosford by the time Sharyn reached high school. "I loved school," she said, "and the nuns gave me a love of learning." On Saturdays, Sharyn would catch the bus into Gosford Library. "I think we were allowed to borrow five books then for a week. Well, I'd have them all read by Monday night. The library was just a godsend because we didn't own any books." School holiday adventures and time spent picking local produce would later become the inspiration for some of Sharyn's writing. "Down at the bottom of our farm there was a bit of bush, and that was where I felt most at home. I think that is why I hanker to have the trees around me." After completing high school, Sharyn completed an arts degree at university and became a school teacher. Not long after she went to university her father sold the Erina property. "Dad sold up when the first set of traffic lights went in at Gosford near the Regal Theatre," she said. "Dad said the place had become 'just like Parramatta'." Sharyn Munro lives alone in a solar-powered mud brick cabin high in the mountain country adjoining the Barrington Wilderness Area in the Upper Hunter Valley. It's a 90-minute drive to the nearest town, and among her animal neighbours are spotted quolls, wallabies, frogs, echidnas and kookaburras. "I also have a resident snake now, which I've just had to get used to," she said. A vegetarian, Sharyn lives as self-sufficiently as possible. "I grow fruit and vegetables, bake bread and brew beer. You can always walk out into the garden and pick a salad." But she is not without creature comforts. "I've got every mod con I want, like my Mac laptop and big laser printer, juicer, hairdryer, washing machine, vacuum cleaner - all standard appliances. Solar power is great," she said. SUNDAY BEST: Sharyn, aged 10, beside her father's Oldsmobile and all set to go to church. FARM LIFE: Frank Munro with his Victa at the Carlton Road farm, ready to tackle the kikuyu and paspalum. Sharyn's little sister Colleen is beside him, while her mother, Mavis, looks on. Sharyn is the author of The Woman on the Mountain (2007) and Mountain Tails (2009), both published by Exisle Publishing, and a collection of her inspiring, amusing and informative articles can be found at www.sharynmunro.com . SCHOOL FRIENDS: Sharyn (back row, right) with the entire fifth forrm class of 1964. This picture was taken in the park at the front of Gosford Railway Station after a school excursion to the Australian Reptile Park.
Coastal Life 17th Dec 2009
Issue 8 Feb 2010