Edna Kuehne was born and educated in South Australia. Married to a Victorian, she lived on a pastoral property near Stawell (Grampians region). Ill health and her husband's diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) led to leaving the farming and settling in Stawell, where they soon became involved in community activities. Through involvement with MS, they became trail blazers, bringing disablement difficulties to public notice. Additionally, they travelled to the USA and England with her husband totally wheelchair bound. Later, Edna was asked to write about their life coping with MS, resulting in a successful launching of her book "Turning the Sting into Zing" (Penfolk Publishing). Edna and her husband were also actively involved in promoting tourism; she added music teaching and other music and craft activities such as knitting, quilting and latch‐hooking to her regular activities. After her husband's death, Edna became very much involved with community activities until health difficulties brought her to live in Sydney, closer to her only daughter. Edna has received multiple awards for her community involvement; including as an Outstanding Australian Woman, as a Citizen of the Year award, as a Lions Club member, and as a Life Governor of the local hospital. She now lives in a retirement village and remains involved in visiting people in low care facilities.
I lost the greater part of my sight very suddenly about six years ago. Any dream I may have had at that time instantly evaporated in the face of simply struggling to dial a phone number to get help.
Much treatment later, I had to come to terms with a life of low vision (legally blind) and now even less (almost no) vision. However, the challenge of diverting my life into still valuable and enjoyable interests and occupations has awakened some enticing dreams and possibilities. I still find great enjoyment in listening to music and engaging in various types of craftwork such as knitting, latchhook; and I enjoy all artistic and performance arts activities.
From a small child in primary school to the present time I have been involved in music. This included as a piano teacher, choir singer and sometimes as conductor. It is my dream to attend more music concerts, such as a major music festival. For example, the Canberra International Music Festival (10-19 May, 2013) has just the programs I would love to hear; or later in the year there are a range of musical concerts attached to Floriade (1-31 August, 2013).
In addition, Canberra as a city excites my interest and dreams in exploring a range of other artistic, craft and cultural activities. Some of these I remember seeing on TV and wanting to "see" it again in person. For example, I would like to view the beautiful wall hanging in Parliament House which was hand worked in Melbourne. In addition, there is the Quilt Expo and various Craft Festivals and activities throughout the year in Canberra. In addition, a wide range of regular and special exhibitions at the National Art Gallery are also audio‐enhanced, to help me "see" and understand the exhibition. Also, I would like to attend an exhibition about trailblazing women at the National
Portrait Gallery, called "First Ladies: Significant Women 1913-2013 (Open 1 February to 16 June,
Finally, I have been told that Canberra shopping is a great experience and with help from a companion I dream of having a great time in "shopping therapy" and a fine dining experience to finish the day. A wonderful additional reward for all this travelling about would be to meet my granddaughter who is studying at the Australian National University, since I see her so rarely.
My "dream" to attend and explore a wide range of cultural activities in Canberra may not seem so very unusual or different for many people, but since blindness has occurred for me after the age of
80, re-inventing myself to any degree and enjoying the activities which are still possible for me remains a very considerable adventure! I look forward to finding out what new possibilities await me in the future.
Edna's Travel Blog
Would you like to know how Edna is enjoying her trip? You can follow this cultural adventure via her travel blog ednacanberra13.wordpress.com