Making Wings The New Album from Judy Jacques  

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The Journey
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The Story of Making Wings

I found a nautilus shell, on a beach where none had been seen in forty years. Just a glimpse of papery curve, the rest was buried in sand. I'd not seen a nautilus before, only in books, but here it was, for me to find, and in that moment of recognition, the sea, the wind, the world around me was silent. Voices from childhood filled my mind, the voices of my grandparents, that for all of my life had left a residue which I can only describe as something unsaid, unfound, a treasure or a mystery to be solved with an answer found in more than the tease of re-occurring dreams.

At that time, in 1997, I was about to release the 'Lighthouse' CD and publicity photographs at Cape Otway lighthouse the day before had been the reason for a night in Apollo Bay. The following week we were off to play a month at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. As I carefully uncovered the perfect shell, I recalled stories of French princes and ships with masts and sails, but along with the stories came the usual question. Why wouldn't my grandparents speak of their families, their Tasmanian past?. I had recently made some discoveries which had found their way into a song and a poem, but more, I knew there was much more.

'Haven't seen one of them shells around here in forty years', that's what an old local said a little later, as I stood in line for the morning paper. In fact, quite a few locals had crowded around to covert my fragile treasure.

But me? I was in my own world, wrapped in warm excitement for I knew, that when we got back from Edinburgh, I'd be off on a different journey. I'd go to the place where nautilus shells are found in their hundreds after a big storm, Flinders Island, in eastern Bass Strait. To the Furneaux Islands where my ancestors were whalers, then lighthouse people, for generations after John James Jacques arrived on the 'Bardaster' as a convict, in 1835.

The nautilus was a gift, a talisman and the beginning of making wings