P grew up in a small community in rural South Australia. It proved to be a complex childhood with events necessitating her leaving the community at the age of nine to board in a nearby town. Her new school – and her Monday to Friday home for four years – was a convent of Josephite nuns who ran a two-classroom school and cared for ten boarders.
The strong and caring role models of the nuns – and their consistent message of education, life choices and opportunities for women have influenced her ever since. The nuns lived by the philosophy of Mary Mackillop – a rule of service and social justice in a family and community context. The consistent narrative was one of opportunity – for women and girls, but also for anyone disadvantaged. Their fundamental message of ‘if you see a need, do something about it’ has been P’s guiding principle in life.