Quirkee Birds

"It was a very different Australia when I grew up" - This week's QUIRKEE BIRDS STORY: Carmel Young

by Felicia Pettersson | December 15, 2017

“It was a very different Australia when I grew up; socially, economically... in every way, really.”

This week we are speaking with Carmel Young. A humble, strong woman with a razor sharp intellect, a fascinating story and a stunning personal style. Used to teach teachers at UTS for over 15 years and now retired, she has just finished writing her latest school textbook on ancient history for kids in year 11.

What is your profession?

"I don’t really have a normal profession anymore, she laughs. I am retired since 7 years but I used to teach history at UTS. Now I consult the government in how to educate kids in how people used to live in their local area, and how changes to their environment (e.g. the building of a new railway), will affect them and their families in the future. I also write textbooks on ancient history and have just finished co-writing one for year 11."

What attracted you to become a history teacher?

"I was lucky to be growing up in a very nurturing environment, surrounded by strong female role models and a very inspiring father who had many different interests. My mother did all sorts of work and there was never a gender preconception of there being anything my sister or I couldn’t do or achieve."

"Yet, it was a very different Australia when I grew up; socially, economically... in every way, really. Only 20% of kids went onto HSC back then and in order to study at university you had to get a scholarship. So I did."

"I always loved art, but it was never an option that you could make a living off. I saw ancient history as a way to enjoy art through archeological findings and learning how people use to live."

"I never planned to become a teacher, but in 1987, when I was working at the head office of Aboriginal Education for the Department of Education NSW and studied for my masters degree, a job opportunity at UTS came up, I took it and ended up staying there for 25 years!"

What has been a challenge you’ve had to overcome to get to where you are today?

"Balancing the time with what you need to do and still have energy and the commitment to pursue what you want to do. I’m fairly dogged though, if something needs to be done I’ll do it. For years I used to work full time and then at 9 pm when everyone was at sleep, I would write my own work until 3 am. It wasn’t really anything I was thinking about, it was just what I did."

What does a normal day look like for you?

“Well, the last year has been basically the same every day; getting up at 7 am and going to bed at 11 pm spending the whole day glued in front of the computer.”

“Oh, why?!”
Sofia, Steph and I ask in a surprised chorus. Carmel smiles and it turns out that’s what it takes to write a textbook in ancient history.

How would you describe the experience of being styled at Quirkee Birds?

"I’ve never part Quirkee Birds without a new necessary item...", she says with a smile. "The staff have such a good eye to find things that suits me and my personality. They are very authentic and treat you as an individual, which is rare. It’s the only place you can find truly decorative pieces with good quality. I’ve never been disappointed with anything I’ve bought here and everyone has humor here - especially Steph!"

What is the favourite thing you’ve bought at Quirkee Birds and why?

'All of them! I have so many. One of them is an orange Desigual coat with big white polka dots on it. And the interior is incredible. The lining has a street scene in silky material. It’s a beautiful art piece, really. Also love the many scarves I’ve bought here."

How would you like to encourage women around you and in the world?

“Never say no to an opportunity! I always took every opportunity I got and it has opened so many doors for me. You’ll never get anywhere if you don’t step up to the plate and take it. Grab it with both hands! ...unless it’s yucky!” she says with a big laughter. She continues with both excitment and seriousness in her voice.
“And BE YOURSELF! That’s the only way you’ll ever be comfortable with who you are.”


We thank Carmel for taking the time to visit us for the interview.

If you are interested in what it's like to be styled at Quirkee Birds, give us a call!

Ask any questions you'd like and if you're ready book a free, no-obligation to buy- session today.

Or surprise someone you care about for Christmas! (It's a perfect way to begin the new year! ;))

02 9818 3100