Australian Country

Quintessential Queenslander

Leah Stirton cheerfully admits she had never been west of the Brisbane suburb of Indooroopilly when she applied for a teaching position in Charleville. Freshly returned from London and nursing a broken heart, she wanted to move as far away as possible and had no idea that the southwestern Queensland town, population 3000-odd, was more than 600 kilometres from Brisbane and lacked most of the amenities she took for granted in her very urban previous life.

Leah grew up in the northern Queensland coastal town of Ayr and, fresh out of school, moved to Brisbane for university studies to become an English and drama teacher.

“I was always interested in decorating and event

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