Charmaine’s trip  to Australia

Jess and Charmaine in 2008

Charmaine’s brother Jess (the youngest surviving sibling in her birth family) died peacefully in his flat in Sydney, somewhere around February 15 or 16, apparently of heart failure.

Jess was Charmaine’s soulmate in many ways- a passionate reader,  a fighter for social justice, but also damaged – they were both alcoholics at the time they first met.  They formed a bond when they first wrote to each other in 1985, which strengthened when they met in 1986 (when Charmaine and her adoptive mother Grace went to Australia to meet her full birth family for the first time).  In 2008 Jess came to stay with us on the farm, while celebrating his 50th birthday

Charmaine went to Sydney for a celebration of Jess’s life on Saturday 7 March, joining her sisters and many of Jess’s  friends to tell stories, read his poems, and watch slides of his life and some of his creative work.  The event was held in  the City Light Church in Balmain, whose members had befriended Jess, and whom he respected – in spite of being a staunch atheist – for their intelligent conversation and unquestioning support – love, actually- during the last couple of years. 

We’re all  glad he died peacefully.  And we’re all sad at how his brilliant and creative mind often found life too challenging, from when he was a small child until the last year or two.  Rest in peace, Jess, our beloved, self-named Weirdelf.


  1. Yes, surely our beloved Weirdelf.

  2. Barbara Ford says


  3. Yes love is all there is. A joy of 2020 has been an evening with my sister who Dad had with a colleague when I was 11, here with us from Melbourne with ALL her children in Feb – fish n chips and singing…we found each other 20 yrs ago and it is a RICH connection…xx aroha nui ki a korua xx

  4. Thank you for sharing – especially Charmaine and Jess – very moving.
    We appreciate you up there in Tamaki Makaura shining your light.
    with loving wishes,
    Catherine and Sephen ( Tauhara Centre, Taupo)

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