From an idyllic childhood home in Tipperary to a challenging new life in Australia.
GATHERED on a cold, misty morning in their Georgian mansion on the shores of Lough Derg in depressed 1950s Ireland, with debts mounting, moving to Australia seemed like a dream for the Esmonde family, including seven-year-old Rosemary.
Can My Pony Come Too? is a remarkable story of the life and cultural changes for a prominent Irish family leaving Tipperary to run a country telephone exchange and post office in a dilapidated shack, where the family of seven lived, in rural New South Wales and learning to cope with different customs, snakes (Ireland has none), spiders and leeches whilst trying to make ends meet.
Rosemary's mother ran the telephone exchange and post office and her father dug post holes for the adjoining farmer before moving to Canberra where he did a milk run before dawn and worked as a proof reader at night to subsidise his income in the public service. Her mother, who had servants in Ireland, worked as a cleaner at night to subsidise her day-time job.
In 1966 at aged 19 Rosemary moved to Papua New Guinea and married her husband, Rob (an army officer with the 1st Pacific Island Regiment). In 1969 he went to fight in Vietnam when their first daughter was three months old. She was sixteen months old when he returned.
In 1980 Rosemary moved to Tasmania with Rob and their two girls, where they bought an apple orchard and started the Port Arthur Cider Company.
Rosemary was one of the first women in real estate in Australia in the early 1970s and one of the first women auctioneers. In 1991 Rosemary and Rob set up their own business in Tasmania employing 20 people (over half of which were women). Their company, Peterswalds, became part of the Leading Agents of Australia along with John McGrath and Max Christmas and she became a finalist in Telstra Business Woman of the Year, twice.
Fifty years of sailing their own yachts has culminated in Rosemary and Rob starting their own publishing house, with five best-selling coffee table books on sailing, seafood and wine, both in Australia and the Mediterranean. They have spent the last nine summers sailing its waters, now a changing scene with so many refugees. Rosemary also published a popular novel set in 1960's Papua New Guinea.
Come with her as we meet her illustrious ancestors (including two Victoria Cross recipients), encounter exotic countries and fascinating people, always living her life to the brim.
Can My Pony Come Too?
Author: Rosemary Esmonde Peterswald