I finished a Science degree (in biological science) at the University of Queensland in 1974. The Federal Government provided free university fees in that era compared to the Hex fee arrangements which are part of the Federal Government’s policy now. I married Harriet (nee Kent) from Melbourne ( see photograph above). We were married in Melbourne in December 1975. We have been married happily for forty-five years in 2020.
For twenty years, I ran a small Landscape Design and Construction Company called New Earth Systems P/L doing very creative, individual designer gardens for wealthy residential clients around Brisbane. I was an artistic person, a lateral thinker ….. more artist than businessman. I thought of a landscape as a three-dimensional piece of space that people walked through. This space changed with time as it grew and changed with the time of day: shadows vs. sun patterns, boulders, color, plants, trees, earth-forms, solid structures, and water. These were the ingredients in a subtle flow of landscape design and construction. Rather an intangible product to sell and run a business with!! Out of this stage, I built a structure for my life: my marriage with Harriet, business, and the house plus we had a family of two children. See the website post on this website of the house at:
I wanted to be successful in making money but the creative side and the financial success of the business were in constant tension. With the landscape business I was in, there was an enormous amount of work in spring and summertime. In wintertime, however, there always had a severe downturn. My creativity in my business couldn’t be standardised vs. a successful business needs to be like a biscuit cutter …. Making a few $$ off large numbers of components.
I was more an ideas, admin and marketing sort of person, good at the design side but not so good at the practical implementation side of the business. Because of the fluid nature of a garden, it was very difficult to be involved in just design, without having to get fully involved in the production side.
In 1995, I had very little work and money was very short as a result. It was the worst year for business I have been through in twenty-odd years. I felt under incredible stress and my wife Harriet and two teenage children were really feeling the pressure as well.
I was under such extreme pressure from the lack of work and at a point of desperation. I was ready to give it all away. I didn’t know which way to turn as I had invested years of study and resources into my chosen career and now it seemed fruitless. I had finished a B.Sc. at the University of Queensland in the 1970’s and had completed most of a Graduate Diploma in Landscape Architecture at Queensland Institute of Technology (Now it is the Queensland University of Technology ) in the late 1980’s. I found it is impossible to have business and exam deadlines running together and on one very important project, I had let an important exam assignment pass by.
The business changed overnight when I had a simple accident which resulted in severe consequences. I had a severe brain injury. I now have an insurance Income Protection Policy for life which is CPI indexed. In many ways, this accident and its consequences, has been one the best thing that has happened to myself and the family, even though it has been a difficult experience. I have now been provided with an income much better than a Government Pension. I think there is irony and humour in this. I had worked hard all my life for very little, whereas now I don’t have to work at all if I don’t want to. It is quite adequate for our needs. I find that twenty + years (2016) on from my accident, I am in a new season of life. We own our house as well, so do not have mortgage payments to make every month. In the midst of this, Harriet could work as well. As of 2016, she has retired about a year ago. I am now an internal Life Gardener to hundreds of people around the world by e-mail.
I went through a real transformation of life whereby I went from being:
- Physical Gardener (Outer Sustainability) >>>>
- Life Gardener (Inner Sustainability)
- Outer Sustainability: In a gardening and agriculture sense ….. can certain practices be maintained….. is what you doing now preparing the way ahead for the new garden which will be growing successfully in twenty years time. It was a very difficult business in which to make money, mainly due to the very non-standard and the seasonal nature of the work. My former life was not sustainable ….. my creativity in my business couldn’t be standardised vs. a successful business needs to be like a biscuit cutter …. Making a few $$ off large numbers of components.
Since my accident, I have really discovered people in a big way. I have come to value people, no matter who they are, what they do or say. I have developed a passion to build inner communities with many people around the world, especially by e-mail. As I am on a permanently paid holiday through my life-long Income Protection, I have time to spend with people in a way I never could do in my busy business.
- Inner Sustainability: In an ongoing personal sense …. Can your life be maintained? ….. is what are you doing now preparing the way ahead for new life? I have also discovered the significance of the Inner and Outer Life. Sustainability I have come to see has to be a wholistic view on the life of Inner, Middle, and Outer Persons. Problems come because things do not change from the Outside to Inside but from the Inside to the Outside.
Changes with My Accident:
One of the major changes is that l have had a major loss of driving ability as I cannot intuitively take all the information still at the moment. I now have a chauffeur …. my wife Harriet to drive me around or I go by public transport. In addition to this, I have learned to travel on the Internet. ….. I can go around the world and back again to my office in a few minutes all for $25.00 / month and see hundreds of people along the way …… more than I ever could before trying to drive or fly there!! Since March 2001, I have started the following three e-mail broadcasts:
The Brain Injury Community:
The purpose of this website is to share HOPE for restoration from a brain injury. It is my personal story and in sharing it with you, I would like to encourage you in your own personal journey out of brain injury. I am often occupied with the effects of a brain injury twenty-two years on from my accident. What do we do with life now, this side of our injury?
The dominant theme of the Brain Injury Community is: ‘Becoming a Brain Injury Thriver and not just Survivor’.
This is in contrast to the motto, “Victim, Survivor, Over Achiever”.
Website: https://braininjurycommunity.wordpress.com/ ….. From Survivors to Thrivers. I am in contact with hundreds of fellow survivors around the world.
- Ken and Harriet’s Place e-mail broadcast ….. to lighten up your day …. bring some fun, laughter and a different perspective on life. See the website at: www.kenaitken.net/
- New Earth Community e-mail broadcast: I have started this broadcast for a new spirituality, life motivation and encouragement e-mail broadcast …. an e-mail broadcast service which has grown since March 2001 to many hundreds of people around Australia and the world now.
The purpose is this Community is to build and maintain a new sense of inner being and friendship … based on a Christian Worldview. It is a Cyberspace Community which has a Vision of Wholeness with Sustainable Solutions for life which will continue to work in the years to come ….. it is for life motivation and encouragement. The Community has a resource website at: http://www.newearthcommunity.org/ This community is meant to bring a new sense of belonging with the real discovery or affirmation of identity through the Sustainable Life. The basis of this life is one that has the ability to be continually renewed and maintained. This life has three elements to it:
- Structure gives order, direction, aims and overall purpose
- Spirituality gives ultimate significance. It is the inner room of your life which answers such questions as: Who are we as people?, What is the meaning of life?, Are we significant?, What values should I live by?, what gives identity and destiny
- Social Network … The people around us. giving a feeling of belonging… multiplication and complementary effect of effort: Family & friends, Clubs and Organisations, Associations, Churches, General Community The Power of One: one person applying these principles can have an effect on many others… a multiplication effect of thousands of others being affected.
I wrote these blog sites some years ago before I obtained the three websites above through Word Press. I have been working to tell something about my personal history. I grew up in the 1950’s and 1960’s at Wilsons Creek, up in the mountains out from Mullumbimby in Northern New South Wales. I was raised on a banana plantation amidst the steep slopes of rainforest and wet sclerophyll (gum) forest and occasional cliff outcrops. The creek we swam in was a very clear, clean freshwater rainforest creek with big deep pools. People now in the City, would give their `eye’ teeth for it as my late father used to say.
Wilson’s Creek is about twenty minutes (about ten kilometres) up in one of the many valleys west of Mullumbimby, in the Northern Rivers area. With this time, came for me a strong spiritual love of Creation, Nature, Country Living, and the Environment. Our house at Chambers Flat Rd. is inspired by this time of growing up. See http://kenandharrietshouse.blogspot.com I left Mullumbimby High School for further tertiary studies down south at Avondale College at the end of 1967.
The blog sites are hyperlinked …. so just click on the blog site and the blog site should open straight away. You can also click on any photograph and the photograph will enlarge to a full-screen size and save it or print it.
See the free program ‘Blogger’ at https://www.blogger.com/start It is like setting up a free book that you can send to someone on the Internet. In this book, you can add chapters of writing called posts and with photographs inserted (as many as you like). You come back at a later date and edit your posts, delete and add more photographs or add another post if you so desire. Other people who receive your blog, can add comments to your blog site at the area indicated at the bottom and other people who read what they have said, can add comments to what they have said. It becomes possible to have a long term worldwide discussion on your blog site.
The blogs are:
Past Family History 1950’s -1960’s
Banana Growing: http://bananagrowing.blogspot.com/
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary: …. where we used to occasionally go for recreation.
Wilsons Creek Primary School:
Pathfinder Club Experiences 1960 – 1967: http://pathfinderclubexperiences.blogspot.com/
Insight Into Owen Aitken and Our Family in the 1960’s: http://insightintoowenaitken.blogspot.com/
The Birds Egg Collection 1950’s to the 1960’s: http://thebirdseggcollection.blogspot.com/
Numinbah Natural Arch:
http://numinbahnaturalarch.blogspot.com/ ….. in the 1960’s the Murwillumbah Pathfinder Club had built a log cabin in the Numinbah Valley. We had a strong relational overlap as we were in the Mullumbimby Pathfinder Club. We would sometimes stay overnight at the log cabin and go hiking and camping in the rainforested Lamington National Park in the mountains above the log cabin. The Numinbah Natural Arch was a regular place we could easily hike to as it was just down the road.
Ken’s Past College Days 1968 – 1969
The Train Story:
The Cairns Trip ….. A Student Experience in 1968: http://thecairnstrip.blogspot.com/
Ken’s Past University Days at Queensland University 1970 – 1974
The Wheels Story from 1970 -1974:
Ken and Harriet’s Present History
History of The House: