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Local Faces: Claire Mories Kidu

Story: Linda Read
Jun 23, 2020
“My nuclear family [husband Andrew, and four daughters aged four to 20] came to Sandgate in 2012. We moved here from Papua New Guinea because my husband got a regional job as a lawyer in the Pacific, and the regional office was in Brisbane. We chose Sandgate because his mother grew up here and we thought it might be a nice place for our children to grow up.

We’re originally from Papua New Guinea (PNG). Both of us are each half Papua New Guinean and half Australian in heritage. I’m now a dual Australian and PNG citizen — I became an Australian citizen in 2017.

Right now, I’m studying fashion design. I can only manage to do it part-time because I have four girls. One of those girls is 20 years old, and the other three are under 12, so it’s pretty busy.

I’ve always wanted to do it [fashion design], but I’ve probably never had the confidence to do it before this. One of the things that gave me that confidence was watching my children grow into women, and trying to develop their confidence, shows me the need to do that myself.

I want to work with artisans to bring bilums [a PNG bag with a unique weave] to the world in a fashionable way, but also an ethical way, that doesn’t exploit the artisans who make them. The bilum is quite an incredible artefact.

There are so many things to love about Sandgate. In the short time we’ve been here, we’ve made the kind of friends that you have for life. I think part of the reason is because generally, Sandgate is such a beautiful place that it attracts a certain type of person. There is a community feel in Sandgate that you don’t get in every suburb.

I love living walking distance from the beach — that’s one of the best things about it. I think the other thing about living here, for me personally, is that because I’m interested in art and design, living in a place where we have just so much natural beauty, I can go out any day of the week and find something beautiful to focus on, in terms of design. It’s so abundant. It’s an artist’s paradise really.”