Creative Matters

The Houses That Cried

  • Jo (Joan-Annette) Parnell University of Newcastle Australia
Keywords: essay


This essay revisits physically and metaphysically the houses of the author's childhood, in an attempt to discover and recover a sense of self from the architecture of her past. From suburban houses in the Eastern and South Western suburbs of Sydney, to the Gothic turrets of Dalwood Children’s Home on the Northern Beaches (which, in the 1930s and 1940s was advertised as ‘The House on Happiness Hill’) and to a foster home now found to have a Child Safety House sign on the front veranda, the discrepancies of time and memory are conjured up in narrative, and hand-drawn image and photography.

Author Biography

Jo (Joan-Annette) Parnell, University of Newcastle Australia

Jo Parnell is a Ph.D candidate in English and Writing at The University of Newcastle, Australia. Currently she is writing a docu-memoir, See Saw Margery Daw, based on oral interviews with Australians who were in care sometime in the 20th century. For her M.Phil at the University of Newcastle she wrote a memoir, The Carpet Child, and has published a book chapter “Translating and conveying the damaging childhood in Our Kate” in Catherine Cookson Country: On the Borders of Legitimacy, Fiction and History, edited by Julie Anne Taddeo (Ashgate 2012).

Creative Matters