Graduation – the latest milestone

Picture by Kirstyn McDermottHere I am in my bonnet and gown, marking graduation from The University of Queensland with a doctorate in creative writing.

Thirty years ago, I was lining up about this time of year in Rockhampton to mark graduation from what is now the University of Central Queensland with a Bachelor of Arts. And in 2008 came a Masters in creative writing from QUT – no ceremony for that one.

My mum died in 1992 and we farewelled Dad at a service on July 18, but their spirits were very much with me at UQ on July 19. Farming folk with limited educations, they were determined I would have the opportunities they had not.

My doctoral thesis was entitled “Watermarks: Science Fiction, Mitigation and the Mosaic Novel Structure in Australian Climate Fiction” and this is the dedication from it:

In a letter published in 1981, my mother, Loma Nahrung, wrote, “I love the wet season—which should be around January through to March, but of late they have not been so predictable … the climate seems to be changing” (White and Nahrung 139). I often wonder what this farmer would have thought of our current state of affairs. This thesis is dedicated to my mother and father, Frank, neither of whom were able to celebrate this achievement, but without whose support, encouragement and sacrifice I would not have made it this far.

So here I am, without them, but they are very much with me.

The gathering of the clans for Dad’s service, and having three friends graduate alongside me with family members in the audience, and then the coming together of family and friends to celebrate afterwards — I am further reminded I am not alone in this journey. (I love you all.)

Where to from here, I wonder. Wherever, we go together, and that’s what matters.

Mum, Dad and me at graduation in 1989.

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Vale Frank Nahrung – Dad

Frank Nahrung
My dad, Frank Nahrung, died on Thursday morning, July 11, peacefully and pain free in a Caboolture nursing home with his partner, Eve, by his side. He had turned 82 in May.

For the past couple of days, the family and I have been contacting those who knew my dad well. And now I feel I can spread the word more widely, with sincere apologies to anyone who might feel overlooked.

On Thursday July 18 in Brisbane our clans come together in a family service to farewell Dad and celebrate his life. Down the track, friends and family will be invited to a commemoration back on his home country. We will raise our glasses and share our fondest memories.

But today, it is enough to say, he lives on in our hearts and memories. He was a good man, he made us feel safe and loved, and he always had our backs. He is cherished and he will not be forgotten.

Loma Kunst, Jason Nahrung, Frank Nahrung

Mum, Dad and son at our home, ‘Conamore’