I inherited a love of storytelling from him, as medicine for him was very much about collecting people’s stories. I’ve also adopted an odd sense of cautiousness. While he seized opportunities for adventure – he worked his passage to Antarctica as a doctor on a ship in his 70s – he’s always been about safety and security. As a child, I saw him quietly get out his gun in the middle of the night because of something dangerous outside the tent.


We moved to Tasmania, via England, when I was 10. Like many migrant children, I felt my parents didn’t understand the society I was in. We had a fairly strict moral code in our family: no sex until marriage.

My first love was Stephen, who I met at Queechy High School in Launceston. He was born in the
city and lived in the house his father had built. He represented so much stability, as I’d moved around a lot.

We studied teaching together, but didn’t cohabitate. Stephen and I were very, very close. After three years I broke up with him because I didn’t think it would work for us in the end, and I was right.

It was hard to separate from my best friend, but then some years later I fell madly in love with a filmmaker, Roger Scholes, who I did marry.

Like my paternal grandfather, who later became a pastor and ran an open house for refugees and homesick US soldiers during the war, my parents brought people to our home. Roger was one of them; they had met him at an artist community they were involved in.

Roger was 25 and I was 16. I was very happy with Stephen, but I wrote in my diary that I had met the kind of man I would one day like to marry – handsome, artistic and mysterious – not really thinking about what goes with an artistic lifestyle.

Roger went overseas for some years,

and returned when I was 22. The move from friendship to passionate love affair happened in a trapper’s hut in the Tasmanian wilderness, where he was doing an early location survey for his first feature film, The Tale of Ruby Rose. We married in 1982.

Roger’s a classic Baby Boomer male. His father was a decorated pilot and was tough. Roger worked hard to be a soft parent. The birth of our children rocked him emotionally and spiritually, in a good way. We shared their care 50-50, as we were both writing. Whenever a film was in production, the entire family were involved.


Creativity is the thing Roger has modelled incredibly strongly to our two sons. Jonny, 29, is a web developer and a well-known street artist. Linden, 25, is a first-year doctor as well as a techno DJ and artist.

Mother’s Day in our household is held the Sunday following the actual day to avoid the crowds. We usually have a picnic or go to a cafe for breakfast. My husband is the main cook in our family, so it’s not as if I’m getting a break from making meals.

I’m not sure what we’ll do this year. Zoom meeting, perhaps? The occasion has risen in stature for me since the kids left home. It’s a great opportunity to reel everyone back in, and make them pay special attention to me.

The Beautiful Mother (Viking) by Katherine Scholes is on sale now.

This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale May 10.

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