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People of Cessnock is a blog by local resident, Rebecca Murray. The project seeks to value the people of her home town by sharing their stories value and raising the profile of people living outside metropolitan areas.

Seven

Seven

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“I’d probably prefer not to air all the ‘dirty laundry,’ so to speak, but the things that I had to deal with growing up were probably not typical and moreso disadvantaged in contrast to how others have grown up. Like with parents together and they’re both working, saving money and teaching right from wrong.

Like, it was a bit more fast and loose. They didn’t have any motivation and didn’t go out and do much of anything.

I think that, maybe if there’s anything to take away from that, it’s that - especially for a lot of young people, if they’ve had an upbringing like I did - it’s very important to have people around them that can help and steer them in the right direction. And I couldn’t say that I’ve grown up to be the person I am today without the help of some significant people in my life.

Just being there or being someone to look up to - even just having a presence - can do a lot for guiding someone.

Just being around I feel does more than people think.

Because, I think there’s hope for anyone. Even the worst case, the worst people, can grow up and turn out to be better than they think they can.

One of my proudest moments was when I finished my cooking apprenticeship.

I even had my grandfather - when I was in my first year – literally say to me, “You won’t make it through that.”

And even, you know, some of my family said, “You know, like, it’s pretty hard,” and, “You don’t know what you’re getting into.”

And it is really hard. Cooking is really hard. And the first couple of years are such an adjustment. Like, the long hours. And it’s missing out on things like Christmas and missing out on Easter and missing out on pretty much anything that’s important … is very, very hard. And I think just to have made it through that apprenticeship and just showing that, ‘Look. I can do it. I am skilled,’ was the first time that I accomplished something and I really felt like, ‘Hey. I’ve done some stuff.’ “

Eight

Eight

Six

Six