About Me

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I am a writer, editor, reviewer and dance teacher based in Perth, Western Australia. You might enjoy my books - The Dagger of Dresnia, the first book of the Talismans Trilogy, is available at all good online book shops as is Book two, The Cloak of Challiver. Book three, The Seer of Syland, is in preparation. I trained in piano and singing at the NSW Conservatorium of Music. I also trained in dance (Scully-Borovansky, WAAPA) and drama (NIDA). Since 1987 I have been writing reviews of performances in all genres for a variety of publications, including Music Maker, ArtsWest, Dance Australia, The Australian and others. Now semi-retired, I still write occasionally for the ArtsHub website, and I still teach dance at Trinity School for Seniors, an outreach program of the Uniting Church in Perth.

My books

The first novel of my trilogy, The Talismans, is available as an e-book from Smashwords, Amazon and other online sellers. I do have paperbacks of The Dagger of Dresnia at the low price of $AU25 including postage within Australia. I also have a short story, 'La Belle Dame', in print - see Mythic Resonance below. Book two of the trilogy, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available again shortly. The best way to contact me is via Facebook!

Buy The Talismans

The first two books of The Talismans trilogy were published by Satalyte Publications, which, sadly, has gone out of business. Book one, The Dagger of Dresnia, is up on the usual bookselling web sites as an e-book, and I have a few hard copies to sell to those who prefer Real Paper. Book Two, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available soon. The easiest way to contact me is via Facebook.

The Dagger of Dresnia

The Dagger of Dresnia
Want a copy? Contact me at satimafn(at)gmail.com

The Cloak of Challiver, Book two of The Talismans

The Cloak of Challiver, Book two of The Talismans
Available as an e-book on Amazon etc!

Mythic Resonance

Buy Mythic Resonance

Mythic Resonance is an excellent anthology that includes my short story 'La Belle Dame', together with great stories from Alan Baxter, Donna Maree Hanson, Sue Burstynski, Nike Sulway and nine more fantastic authors! Just $US3.99 from Amazon. Got a Kindle? Check out Mythic Resonance.

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Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Geelong, Australia

Places I've lived: Geelong,  Australia

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've Lived - Sydney

Places I've Lived - Sydney
Sydney Conservatorium - my old school

Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier

Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier
Blue Lake

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Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

Places I've Lived: Perth by Day

Places I've Lived: Perth by Day
From Kings Park

Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night
From Kings Park

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Awarded by Joanna Fay. Click on the image to visit her lovely website!

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Versatile Blogger Award
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Fabulous Blog Award
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Thursday, 15 February 2018

Fiat Lux



As a teenager, I was lucky enough to spend three years at the NSW Conservatorium of Music, which has its own high school, known familiarly as the Con High. I was there from 1957-1959. 

This year marks the school’s centenary, and the celebrations can be heard right across the country in Perth, thanks to Facebook. Check it out at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1271076779693709

My schooling was chaotic. The family moved around a lot, and by the time I was fourteen, I had been to six different schools and hadn’t liked any of them.

But the Con High was a joy. At last I wasn’t the only weird kid on the block. People of an artistic temperament (and I mean that as praise, not as the subtle criticism you so often hear when someone says, ‘She has an artistic temperament, you know’) do best when they mix with others of their own kind. The public school system recognises that fact these days. Here in Perth, Western Australia, there are specialist public schools for all branches of the arts, and I imagine the other states are similarly endowed. Fiat Lux, ('Let there be light') the Con High’s motto, sums up the essence of a good education – cast light on a student’s abilities and he or she will flourish.

When my long-suffering mother heard about the Con High, she couldn’t get me there fast enough. I was auditioned by the education department’s head of music, Terence Hunt. I dutifully played the schoolgirl standby, Für Elise, and he commented to my mother, ‘Well, she doesn’t show any signs of genius, but she should be capable of becoming a teacher’.

I had just started third year (equivalent to today’s year 10) at Liverpool Girls High, but for some reason I had to repeat second year at the Con. I suspect it was my mother’s idea. She told me there was no room in third year, but I quickly found that wasn’t the case – the two years shared a classroom and there were roughly equal numbers in each: a total of about twenty-eight. The entire school had only about sixty pupils, with girls outnumbering boys by something like five to one.

My mother was right. Repeating a year enabled me to consolidate my learning. I had never done very well academically, but at the Con High I did extremely well, perhaps due to the small classes. I was almost always dux of the class in academic work, but musically I was far behind many of my classmates. Most of them had reached AMEB Grade VI while I was lumbering along with Grade IV. Several of my fellow students had perfect pitch and most of them could sight-read me into a cocked hat (or maybe into the grey beret that was part of our uniform).

I studied piano with Raymond Fisher, singing with Renee Goossens   and I also learnt Speech and Drama with a lady whose name escapes me. (We had moved around so much I had an unplaceable accent that must have been partly Yorkshire, partly Lancashire and partly Australian.)

My schoolmates and I blossomed in the hot house that was Sydney Con. Where else in the world could we have sat in a maths class with musicians of the calibre of David Oistrakh or Clive Amadio practising in the room overhead? (When Oistrackh was rehearsing, dear Mr Teasdale gave up trying to teach us maths for the duration, and read his newspaper while we listened, entranced.)

There were some incredibly talented students at the Con High. Many subsequently made their livings as orchestral players or teachers in the music field. One of my classmates who shall remain nameless eventually became a famous concert pianist. I am telling tales out of school here, but this lad developed an attachment to a friend of mine in Liverpool, and would spend weekends at my place to woo her. He practised enthusiastically on my family’s upright piano and managed to break the back-touch (that simply shouldn’t be possible!) which distressed my mother no end.

At the end of fourth year, I realised that I would not have the right subjects to matriculate – I had given up maths because I was hopeless at numbers, and algebra seemed to be beyond my capabilities. Geography was the only ‘science’ subject I had, and it was to be shifted from the sciences to the humanities in 1960 – the year I should have matriculated.

Dearest Betsy Brown — a beloved teacher who eventually became headmistress — coached and coaxed and dragged me through the final year’s syllabus over the summer vacation of 1959-60 so that I could sit the Sydney University’s Matriculation Exam in January, and, wonder of wonders, I passed! So against all advice I left school in February, 1960 to study Arts at Sydney Uni – but that’s another story.

Miss Brown was eventually awarded an OAM in recognition of her service to music and education. She died on about 23 Jun, 2002. As she started teaching in 1943 – the year I was born! – she must have been about eighty years old. If I have a patron saint, it is Betsy Brown.

The Con High was, quite honestly, the making of me. I never took up music professionally (I am a writer and a ballet teacher by trade) but the Con High nurtured and protected me for three wonderful years, and the friendships I made there gave me much joy. Long may its light continue to shine!

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