All in the Family
The Glasby siblings — Gawaine, Aysleen, Aidan and Kyra — and their partners, are all nurses involved in work as diverse as each individual. They have each worked in either remote Australia or international health (or both). Lexi Keneally, who is engaged to Aidan, starts their story here.
Since a young child I had always imagined that life would involve adventure, a diversity of cultures, love, passion and freedom, and, for me, that journey truly began when I moved to Alice Springs to complete my nursing graduate year. It was in Alice Springs that my passion for Indigenous health was realised; I discovered a new ambition to work in remote communities; and I found love in the desert. Little did I know that my path would converge with another, bringing adventure to my life in a way I could never have imagined. Aidan Glasby also grew up in Adelaide: we actually attended the same university, completed the same degree in the same year, but we never met one another.
It was not until fate had us moving to Alice Springs to pursue our passions separately, that our paths finally crossed. Aidan has lived a life full of adventure, discovery and exploration. He is fearless by nature, embraces challenges and loves keeping life real and rustic. He is the most charismatic person I know. Prior to nursing, Aidan was a shipwright (boat builder). He has sailed overseas, ridden motorbikes across Australia and flies planes wherever there is a landing strip. His diverse life experience has given Aidan insight into other cultures and a deep interest in humanity. Aidan is incredibly passionate about supporting people who are marginalised. This passion has drawn him to working with communities in both Ethiopia and Australia.
Our worlds collided. Aidan and I have been engaged for six months and the adventures have not stopped since the day I met him. Our nursing work has taken us from Alice Springs to Fitzroy Crossing to Ethiopia and, most recently, Tjuntjuntjara Community in WA. Tjuntjuntjara is located approximately 700km northeast from Kalgoorlie. The community has a population of about 180 people. We initially completed a two-month contract, feeling a deep sense that was where we should be, and the contract eventuated into a year. It has been an amazing experience.
At times, we found life living in a remote community could be challenging both personally and professionally. It is so vital that self-care is maintained and time is given to just go out and have fun! On our days off, we would fly the Microlight, with the wind ripping through our hair, the stresses of the day seemed to disappear. People came out of their houses to wave to us as we took off into the setting sun. It was surreal landing on soft white salt lakes as the golden evening rays caught the red dust dancing in the sky.
Aidan, who always has more than one project on the go, is currently working on a documentary with two other mates (Daryle Clarke and Alexander Marinoff). They are flying two Microlights across Australia, from Adelaide to Broome. It is a story about adventure and the diversity of humanity across remote Australia. As the team embark on the trip, they will be flying into towns and communities to meet people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds who have inspirational stories to share with the rest of Australia. They are also using the trip to raise awareness and funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Western Desert Dialysis, two outstanding organisations who continue to support people living in rural and remote communities.
Aidan is the second youngest of the four Glasby siblings. Gawaine, Aidan’s older brother (pictured below with his
wife Rachel), has now entered his 14th year as a nurse. He met his wife Rachel, also a nurse, while both working at the Darwin Hospital Emergency Department. Together they have embarked upon many adventures while living and working in the Territory. It has afforded them some astounding clinical and life experiences, both in the urban setting and as remote area nurses. Over the past few years, they have spent time working together as RANs in the Top End. They both feel as though they are living the dream – the experiences, lifestyle, friendships and privilege that comes from working out bush far outweighs anything they could have hoped for when considering nursing as a career choice.
For them both, the honour to be welcomed into the homes and hearts of these communities has been nothing short of incredible, and in a part of Australia that not too many people are fortunate enough to see. That said, as the oldest of four nursing siblings, for Gawaine the honour of working alongside his family and their partners is the privilege he is most proud of.
Rachel and Gawaine are currently taking a break from the remote setting as they prepare to welcome their first child, but look forward to returning to remote nursing next year.