Caroline's still 'ride' at home with her beloved horses
CAROLINE Bury passed up an opportunity to meet the Queen as a debutante ... and escaped to Australia.
That was back in 1958.
Instead of lining up with other young aristocratic women at Buckingham Palace for an upper-class rite of passage, the then headstrong 17-year-old boarded a P&O liner from London to Fremantle, forever changing the course of her life.
"I came out here after a disagreement with Dad," said Caroline, who now runs a 180-acre horse agistment property with her husband in the heart of Queensland's idyllic Gold Coast hinterland.
"I just didn't know what I wanted to do, but I knew I couldn't have coped with the English social system that I was brought up into. It mattered who you were and where you went to school.
"And that's partly why I was very happy to come to Australia and live here. I'll never forget arriving in Perth, flying across the country and landing in the Nullarbor, because planes in those days couldn't fly the whole way.
"There was a brilliant orange sunset and a tank to fuel the plane and that was about it. I'd never ever, ever seen anything like it in my life."
Almost six decades on and still headstrong, Caroline has been busily training a "green" dressage horse to compete in the Jupiters Pan Pacific Masters Games which were on this month (November 5-13).
"I've competed all my life," she said. "I started off at pony club level, married, had two kids and kept at it.
"My main thing is just riding green horses and getting out there - horses off the track and horses being a bit difficult and young and green, and needing work. I understand them.
"I don't ride every day now because I'm 75-years-old and I've a fair bit of arthritis. I have two new knees, a frozen ankle and a bend in my back which I got eventing.
"But I'm not about to give it away. It's the thing I do best; I ride better than I walk."