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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.



“So, I can’t ride a bike. A lot of people are shocked when I say that. I can’t ride a bike at 23.

Well, I can … but very, very poorly. I guess as a kid I fell off my bike and I just really never got back on.

And then last year my fiancé was like, “Lets buy a bike. An adult bike!”

And I was like, “Oh, I don’t know…”

So anyway, we bought a bike and went riding a couple of times but it was very stop, start, stop, start … and there were a lot of tears along the way.

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We’ve been together for 6 years. We met at a youth group, just in town. He’s a chef so the hours are pretty crappy but we make it work. We’ve been engaged for 12 months now. Our wedding is in two years.

The best thing about him is that he just tries to get me to be myself and to get me to stand up for myself. Like, don’t hold back and don’t let other people’s opinions really stop you. If you want it, go and get it, kind of thing.

And he pushes me to be the best I can be. He gave me so much support and encouragement to pursue university when other people were really questioning my choice around further study. And yeah, he continues to support me, and I love that.

The proudest moment of my life was when I completed Open Foundation.

I had no idea about my mark until I opened the email and I nearly fell off my chair. It was great. I remember looking at it and I had to look twice because I was like, ‘Oh my, God. 92?! That’s crazy.’

It pretty much gave me the ability to pick what I wanted to do. And I was really proud because it was at that point that I really showed the people that did doubt my choice to go to uni that I could do it. Because it was just, like, wow! Yeah, I am making the right choice.

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So, I study Occupational Therapy. I’m in my third year so I have one year and one semester to go. So, it’s very exciting and I really love it.

I originally wanted to do primary teaching. I’ve always had that passion for helping children but I got halfway through the first semester and I went … you know what? I can help people in a different way that isn’t teaching.

I’ve always wanted to help children and, ideally, I hope to work with children. I’ve always thought that if you can help a child then you can help set them up for life; really give them the best opportunities that they can have.

And in a career that’s about helping people is important to me.

When I was in Year 7, you know, I’d just started at a new high school in town and our Roll Call teacher was really lovely. He actually bought me a Bible. And that was really nice and really special. He was always there for me throughout school.

He’s just one of those teachers that you never forget.

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You know, obviously, being at a Christian school, the bible was important but I feel it wasn’t necessarily the fact that it was a Bible. It was more just the fact that it was a gift and just, sort of like … it was someone that believed in you.

It was just nice to know that people - I mean obviously they care about you, being teachers and that - but to go that extra mile for you? I think he just saw my potential.

And I still have that bible.”