On the up Down Under
PUBLISHED: 09:25 29 April 2014 | UPDATED: 09:25 29 April 2014
Tiptree girl Lynne Blighton was brought up to be a farmer's wife in rural England, but her life took a dramatic turn when she jetted off to Australia. Kate Stark reveals more
Half a world away from her Essex origins, author and counsellor Lynne Blighton is revelling in the success of her latest accomplishment. Now working and living in Australia, Lynne has spent the last 20 years developing The Fragile Puzzle workbook box set, which has been designed by Lynne to help the reader tackle whatever life decides to throw at them. And the success of this Down Under pick me up has been quite remarkable.
‘I was born into a large family in Tiptree and I grew up in a different time, right when the world was changing and women were becoming independent,’ Lynne explains.
‘I belonged to the old British culture that was meeting the new era and they didn’t quite fit together, so life was a bit confusing.‘My family farmed soft fruit and small crops, and I was forever hiding my strawberry-stained hands with full-length evening gloves whenever we went along to a dance.’
As a young adult, Lynne had wanted to pursue a career as an artist, but her father refused to embrace the idea.
‘I was groomed from birth to be a farmer’s wife and education was not of interest, so I was sent to a domestic science college to learn to be a good farmer’s wife. This was during the transitional time for females and it wasn’t always easy, and I felt like I was torn between two worlds.’
As the first female born after four boys, Lynne said she grew up thinking she was their equal.
‘I never resonated to feminism, but I did contest with my brothers to try to do what they did, and they didn’t like that because I had a highly competitive spirit. I started driving tractors by age eight and we were taken out of school when it came time to plant cabbages, and then, from the age of 13, I had to do the Sunday roast. By 15, gentlemen suitors would be invited to dinner so they could see my cooking qualities.
‘It was so old fashioned — this was the early 1960s. My father’s plan was to set his boys up in farming and the girls had to marry good farmers — it was as simple as that and art didn’t fit in.’
Nevertheless, with a compelling argument for freedom in her favour and a desire to explore the world, Lynne soon found herself on a plane to Australia.
‘I wasn’t quite ready for the responsibility of farming life, so I planned to go and work abroad for two years before returning to settle down and meet my family’s expectations,’ Lynne explains. ‘I left England with £35 in my pocket and came to Australia via America.’
Lynne spent some time picking grapes in Victoria before pulling up stumps and heading north to Queensland.
‘When I crossed the Story Bridge, I had this unbelievable feeling that I had returned home and I suppose I’ve kind of been here ever since. I remember standing at the top of Queen Street saying, “Right! I’m here! Look out Brisbane!”. Every time I went for a job they’d ask me for my qualifications and if I was able to do the filing, I’d say, “Filing? No. I can plough, I can bail and I can plant strawberries”.’
Certainly a long way from the strawberry fields, Lynne now holds a bachelor’s degree in social work and a post-graduate certificate in advanced social work practice.
‘I believe the setbacks I’ve faced have caused me to develop into the person I am today and, without these traumas and lessons, I wouldn’t be able to put into words how to overcome and develop as a person and go on to help others.
‘My larger publication encapsulates my life’s work — it’s a serious purchase because I don’t even want you to try and read it if you’re not ready to do some serious work.
‘What it’s going to give you is a unique set of skills to help you and it’s written in a way that when you finish the final book, you’re able to begin reading the first again — from the beginning — and you don’t do it all the time, just when you need to.’
Lynne believes the very act of reading the books gives direction to your psyche that you want to understand and learn about what’s in them, and eventually you open your mind to see more of your own life.
‘The self-discovery workbooks, which I’ve called The Fragile Puzzle: It’s Your Life, Get it Sorted, allow you to delve deeper and deeper into your psyche.
‘My other publication, It’s Our Fault, is a power-packed read of just under 100 pages presenting an idea about how the development of human language has created a fault which every one of us has.
‘This fault causes us to record into memory masses of information that isn’t quite right, leaving us running on faulty information. It’s important that we all take some time to evaluate our lives and question the information we’re given — I think it would be so simple to change the world if we had a little bit more understanding and a little bit more compassion for our self and others.’
For more information on Lynne and her work, visit www.lynneblighton.com or www.fragilepuzzle.com. Lynne is currently working on a follow-up to It’s Our Fault, and says she’s looking forward to working on a biography of her extraordinary life.
This feature was previously published by Queensland Country Life, a weekly Australian newspaper. For more details, visit www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au/