Author Joan Benbow, 94, at the launch of her fourth book, A Walkabout Life.
Author Joan Benbow, 94, at the launch of her fourth book, A Walkabout Life. Tracey Johnstone

An adventurous walkabout life

JOAN Benbow's working life has been an extraordinary 62 years of nursing life in Australia and in Papua New Guinea.

Her fourth book, A Walkabout Life, brings the former nun's journey all together in an entertaining read that regales the reader with the highs and lows of battling bureaucracy, ignorance, the Catholic Church and harsh climates as she grabbed hold of her many roles that regularly delivered the greatest gift of all - new life.

At 94 and "three-quarters" Joan is a wonderful story teller. "I just thought it should be recorded in the annals of nursing what it was like back in the 1950s." Joan said. "Who else is going to record it?"

She worked in remote locations in Australia - NSW, Queensland and the Northern Territory - and in three provinces in PNG. Joan has written about the out-of-the-way places she lived and some of the marvellous people she met along the way. "I left the bad ones out," she remarks cheekily.

"It was a wonderful journey," Joan added. "I thank God every day that I had that experience."

The start of the book provides the perfect tantalising introduction; "With nursing certificates under my belt (and nun's habit) as well as a tumbler half-full of hope and love - I set out buoyantly on yet unchartered seas, my sails at full mast! A life beyond another six decades was to follow - I had much to learn, and since then to reflect on. Enjoy the journey I share with you today, dear reader."

Brew a cup of tea, find a quiet spot and enjoy reading Joan's walkabout life.

Still a generous person, Joan is ensuring the royalties from A Walkabout Life will be distributed to the Sunshine Coast homeless through St Vincent de Paul.

Copies of the book are available for $20 from Coast Life Midwifery, 2/22 Beach Road, Maroochydore or by phoning (07) 5443 5555.

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