Dumbo Feather

Issue 68

Dumbo Feather is an iconic Australian magazine. Published quarterly for seven years, and hailed around the world as a design leader, it is a magazine like no other. Our readers are people who want to be told a different story than the one they hear every day. Each quarterly issue features five extended (20 page) profiles of people worth knowing, across enterprise, education, science, sport, politics, fashion and the arts. Whether they’ve touched millions, or just those around them, we take the time to get to know these people, and ask them to tell us their stories.

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3 Issues

in this issue

6 min
the house of my dreams

“ Native Australian hardwood is so beautiful and strong and enduring that it’s impossible for me not to see it as metaphor.” We live in a very old house. It’s a beautiful house, the house of my dreams and of a lifetime spent dreaming of old houses. In 1888 this house was built on Wurundjeri land. Some 50 years earlier, the land it stands on had been tricked out of local elders through a bogus treaty made with a British businessman, which was invalidated shortly afterwards. This small piece of Australian earth was, like the rest of the country, never sold, never given, never ceded, but eventually the clay soil was carved into anyway and the foundations were laid for my home. The house created on it is a colonial confection,…

5 min
reading as sanctuary

“As a reader, I have no responsibilities, and in a world where the weight of the things we must do can feel crushing, that is its own sense of liberation.” As a young child, reading took me to imagined worlds. Adventures had and literary friendships made. I still remember faking a sick day so I could stay home and read Matilda in one sitting (sorry, Mum) – one of my first (and only) displays of childhood rebellion and an act of self-care before the phrase became part of our cultural lexicon. Now as an adult, reading feels like a revisitation of this childlike bliss. Our external lives may be ruled by restrictions, fear, uncertainty, but in reading, our inner lives are nurtured through connection, joy and wonder. The way a perfectly formed…

5 min
death and renovations

“ The monetary value was inconsequential compared to the intention that these items held within them. We brought them together, and together they literally and figuratively held the ingredients of our lives.” As I write this, I’ve been away from our kitchen for about a month and a half. I’m bereft, missing the single row of hand-painted, blue and white Moroccan tiles – a single row because that was all that my husband and I could afford – and the cherry-red, enameled cast iron pots and pans from France that are the only upper-arm exercise I’ll ever need and the only fortune that I’ll probably leave behind. In March of 2020, when our neighbourhood in Brooklyn was a disconcerting call and response of ambulance sirens and bird songs – the latter suddenly…

5 min
where we hum

Krista Tippett On Being Studios At other times in my life I would have been surprised to choose my workplace as a treasured space. But the On Being Studio is dear to me for so many reasons. We crafted the design and look and feel of it very intentionally, building it out from a gutted former retail space, after we escaped from a conventional media organisation and cubicle-defined office building in 2013. Somehow I feel, and I think others feel, the care that went into creating this space, but also the hospitality we've endeavoured to fill it with and the refreshment and creative new beginning it gave us as a newly independent project. Once upon a time, this was a car dealership. Which is not a terribly romantic origin story, but it…

7 min
greg’s garden

Full disclosure: Greg is my partner. For three of the five years we’ve shared, I’ve been blissfully inhabiting his garden (he’ll correct me and say “our garden” but you see him with the secateurs much more than me). The place belongs to a friend of his – it’s a red brick home with a big backyard in one of Melbourne’s northern suburbs. When Greg moved in eight years ago, it had been neglected for some time. Slowly, he brought biodiversity back to the property, planting natives, non-natives and edibles wherever he could find space. Now, we have all kinds of birds and insects calling the place home, with nests appearing every spring, and new songs emerging daily. It’s a place of abundance and beauty, which feeds us and inspires us,…

25 min
holly ringland is a joy beacon

SUBJECT Holly Ringland OCCUPATION Writer INTERVIEWER Nathan Scolaro PHOTOGRAPHER Supplied LOCATION Yugambeh Country. Southeast Queensland DATE July 2021 I came to know Holly Ringland through the ABC series, Back to Nature, in which she and actor Aaron Pedersen travel through vast, awe-inspiring Australian landscapes hearing the stories of the land. I was struck by Holly’s presence – at first, the butterfly broaches, gorgeous blouses and botanical tattoos decorating her arm, and then her nature – how she moved through these wild spaces with this bright, grounded curiosity. Given she’d just spent a year exploring some of the most remote and sacred parts of this country, I knew I had to talk with Holly for this issue. But what came out of our chat was so much more than I expected. Holly spoke of treating our selves as…