The Don

Donald Clark, a man with a welcoming heart and household, a talent for philanthropy, the support of his Aboriginal and other cultures. Donald answered my advert to take part in The Freeborn Travelling Portrait Project through Couchsurfing. He asked me to read his profile carefully to see if I’d be comfortable staying with him. I was very intrigued to stay with a 62yr old gay Aboriginal man, his unofficially adopted son Joshua and their dog Cobber.

I’m a very open minded person and I’m so thankful for that. I recently said to someone that I’m really lucky to be meeting and staying with all these interesting and wonderful hosts. They replied “You’re not lucky…you are open and positive…which means that opportunities open up for you in abundance”. That warmed my heart and soul to hear such a sweet reflection on my personality. Well, this is one occasion where I am so glad I was open to venturing into such a unique household, in the middle of Redfern, Sydney…possibly housing the most Aboriginal people of any area.

Don is avid and highly accomplished Couchsurfing host. He travelled the world far and wide in his earlier years. That energy and lust for new experiences and new friends hasn’t lulled. He has and continues to act as a truly wonderful host to Couchsurfers from all over the world…from France to Brazil…Eastern Europe to Asia. It was simply wonderful to hear some of his exciting travel stories, to learn of his Aboriginal ancestry and what it means to him (he is an integral player in the preservative politics of Aboriginal culture in Sydney and beyond).

I spent around four days staying at Don’s and within that time he took in a Couchsurfer called Sam from France who was in need of a roof over his head at the time due to the stupidity of the international banking system. Don, Sam and I had many adventures (Cobber came along often too). We continued to meet up for social occasions including the wonderful Yabun festival which I will blog about soon. I saw Don when I was back in Sydney for the Mardi Gras festival and he’s been waiting a wee while for the photographic documentary that will follow this post.

Keep on being the wonderful person you are Don and enjoy the photos as I post them over the next few days…don’t forget I have to fit it all my social occasions in between posts…you know me…man about town…just like yourself! 😉

You truly are a man who has lived more than just an interesting life! Keep on keeping on my friend!

Roscoe

Roscoe, a friendly welcoming and inquisitive young man of Indian roots, relocated from Durban, South Africa where life was much tougher and more dangerous than in this safe new land of Australia. A recent Couchsurfing enthusiast, he is quite a remarkable chap. Offered me two nights of accommodation without seeming to have an actual couch to offer. It was great to meet him, his brother and his mother and see one of Sydney’s western suburbs. A teacher, a traveller, a masseuse, soon to become a counsellor…and an all round good chap! Thanks for the experience Roscoe 🙂

Surry Hills Pipe Man – T Green & Co Ltd

Snakeskin in my temporary office at the Australian Museum

We were writing about the Echidna. Along with the platypus, the echidna is the only Australian mammal to lay eggs. Quite an unusual little animal!

 

It’s not every day you see a crocodile and even less often you see a highly decorated crocodile head from Papua New Guinea, where the decorative arts is a major highlight of their culture. I would love to take my portrait project there one day!

I was lucky enough to spend a number of days in an impromptu internship working on the members magazine with Catherine Beehag, Science Communications Manager who I blogged about back in January. It was great to meet the team there and see the cracking work they do. Catherine was my first Couchsurfing host and I really enjoyed spending a number of days helping out at the wonderful Australian Museum by Hyde Park. If you haven’t been and you’re in the area don’t miss out on seeing it!

Bianca II