9. Box of Wonderment

Some of the contents of Archie’s Box of Wonders – courtesy of Brian O’Keefe

The Arches, which lay on the Dargo Road, approximately eight kilometers outside Briagolong, in East Gippsland, Victoria was the enchanted world that I was privileged to regularly visit with my parents, brothers and sister during the 1950’s.

We headed off from Maffra, in the Austin, stopping briefly at the General Store at Briagolong to buy Mrs Hair an ice-cream. The Arches had no running water or electricity and my mother recalls that Edna loved ice-cream. It was a challenge to keep the ice-cream cool until we had navigated the winding eight kilometer stretch to reach the Arches, but it was a small gift compared to the gift of wonderment and enchantment that surrounded us during those regular monthly visits.

The Arches were the home of Archie and Edna Hair, an elderly couple with a rare spirit of generosity.

Archie had a wooden box, the contents of which were a source of fascination. He called it his box of wonderment and in it he kept things that he had collected from the bush. He called the bits and pieces of debris that he gathered wonders.

And wondrous they were! Archie held us captivated as he regaled a story that was associated with a rock, tiny fragments of pebbles, a prized birds nest.

This box of wonders, a collection of the writing exercises that I have used with people ranging in age from eight to eighty, is a tribute to Archie and Edna who filled me with wonder and whose magic is continuing to be woven over forty years later.


Make a box, or suitcase of wonderment to store your responses to the following, tried and true activities from the Soul Food Cafe.

Your Passport


This Catalogue is, quite simply, a passport to Lemuria. All you need to do is contact Heather Blakey, creator of the Soul Food Cafe, by emailing her at heatherblakey at fastmail dot fm. Provide an expression of interest, proof of ownership of this Catalogue, (simply quote the serial number of your copy), and tell her that you are a member of WordPress (it’s free to join) and she will sign you in to the online Creativity Catalogue and any other Lemurian weblogs you wish to contribute to. Of course, you may not want to do any of this, and that is fine too. You can use this Catalogue as a private workbook and never tell another soul what you are doing in your free time.


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