The Final Word, with Dr Isobelle Carmody

It was a dark and stormy night. . . It might seem a cliché, but the soft rain and occasional distant thunderclap seemed an apt setting as a haunting solo rendition of The Cranberry’s Zombie by local musician Sophie Maurice set the atmosphere. Newly-awarded Doctor and beloved Australian children’s author Isobelle Carmody is chatting away to attendees while the rest of us get a tea of coffee and wait for the formalities to begin, though ‘formal’ is not the intent or expectations. More a personal night, as Dr Carmody leads the discussion on the connection between the fantastic, and the most mysterious fact of life – the end of it. How the surety of its eventuality makes it the epitome of ‘real’, and yet we cannot know for sure what happened on the other side of it.

Following another musical number, Snake in the Wall – written and lead by another local talent, Monica Engel, joined by Adelaide Stolba, and Sophie – about twenty of us settle in our seats,and Dr Carmody begins.

Famous for the Obernewtyn Chronicles, Little Fur, and a myriad of other stories, Isobelle opens with a personal tale of her own experience with death as a teen. But like many of the other stories that came out from attendees, the personal nature of the story means I won’t be going into details here. It isn’t just Isobelle who shares, and the stories that come out are powerful and cathartic – but they aren’t mine to tell.

The story of that first experience though is what lead Dr Carmody to start writing  Obernewtyn while a teenager, she tells us. Not only was it a window in which she could process her grief, but Obernewtyn was the title that would launch her prolific career as a writer and eventually to the PhD she recently completed.

But why Obernewtyn? Why did such a significant and traumatic event lead to a book about fantasy?

‘I didn’t set out to write fantasy,’ Dr Carmody explains and she discusses the idea of genre. ‘I just wanted to write, and that was how it came out’. Fantasy, it seemed, was the natural direction of the story as she explored the grief, the anger, and injustice associated with her loss. It was a tool to tell a story, as are many other genres, and it was the right tool to express what she needed to at the time. In no way did it restrict the realism of the experience, rather using that experience to strengthen the story.

In that instance, fantasy was the only way to express the ultimate truth – death – because it is the one mystery that we cannot comprehend from this side of the grave.

‘If you nearly died you didn’t die. If you died and were resuscitated, you aren’t dead.’ If we can’t objectively study it and get a detailed understanding, then our understanding of death and what happens after, she argues, is speculative, and intrinsically tied to the Fantastic. So whether a novel is deemed fantasy or not, any dealings with death that portray an experience from the perspective of the deceased, or give an idea of what happens post final moment, is using the Fantastic as a tool. Even when the story is rooted in realism.

Thanks to Dr Carmody for the photo of Adelaide Stolba, who can be found at

At this point, I’m left wondering if the opposite is true as well. As a fantasy writer, whether the elements of my own reality that I channel for my own stories mean that I, and other fantasy writers, are using the tool of realism to strengthen my/our work. I’m not sure if the answer is a simple yes/no, but perhaps that what the inspiration to write Obernewtyn connected to – using the abstract and the fantastic to process and understand the real.

I get the wanting to write at a time of loss as well. I’ve spoken about it a little before, but my writing journey started amid multiple suicides within my department. Amid other personal issues, the deaths of two colleagues I considered friends as well, even after a relatively short time knowing them, lead to writing as my way of coping. It wasn’t good writing, and at times is was entirely nonsensical, but now, almost a decade later, my writing is still heavily influenced by those events.  

The idea of writing about death comes up among the group as well. Not everyone wants to write about their experiences. Some attendees share their stories of why they can’t write about it, and others speak of how they use personal tragedies to fuel emotionally similar, if not narratively, stories. As the stories continue, we hear about lost parents, lost children, and lost friends, and another question comes up – how do we know when it’s okay to write about death, and when it’s not?

This time an answer comes from the crowd, from a practising psychologist whose name I unfortunately missed.

‘Write from your scars, not your wounds,’ she says. Wait until you are in control, wait until you are a little healed at least, is the gist of it. I’m sure there are some examples of writing while still hurting that have worked, but as a general rule, it seems sage advice.

Thanks to Kaaron Warren keeps a the audience in check

Dr Carmody talks a bit about her recent academic achievement as well. Her PhD was awarded only weeks ago, but it was a seven year journey to get there, motivated by the desire to communicate more precisely and accurately. The ability to learn the language of academia, starting with looking up words that then resulted in looking up words to understand the definition of the first word, to receiving an incredibly flattering report.

‘I assumed they must say nice things to everyone when they finish’, she told me in a break, ‘but my supervisor insisted that this isn’t the case. So I guess I’m in the right place.’ There’s no sarcasm or boasting in the statement, but a mix of excitement, a little bit of disbelief, and even embarrassment. Natural humility and well-earned pride both presenting at the same time, awkwardly trying not to get in each other’s way.

The nature of the thesis though is the reason we are all here. The ‘slipstream’ between realism and fantasy that subjects like death bring together. Dr Carmody talks about what that means, the momentum of a story pulling in a fluttering of realism and the Fantastic along with it. Not in the sense of magical realism, in which the crossing of genres is the base world from which the story grows, and has very specific origins, but the light touch that strengthens the story rather than drives it.

As time seems to fly by, we are soon told that we need to clear the room. There are many more questions, and in a crowd where many have known each other for years, there are many utterings of, ‘I never knew about your story.’ Which in a sense, follows another element of Dr Carmody’s thesis – death as taboo.

We all experience death at least once, and we hold social rituals that follow specific traditions in each case. Yet often we don’t talk about it. We have our traditions, our rituals, and then people are expected to move on with life. In reality, that isn’t so easy, and in her research Isobelle talks about the relief she saw when people were able to talk to her about the death of a loved one. The overwhelming gratefulness for permission to discuss what was not permissible elsewhere. Certainly there is a lightness in the room after people shared their experiences, even the quite horrific ones.

As we leave, it’s a bit of an odd feeling. On one hand, it was a couple of hours with friends, listening to an author I admire and respect both personally and professionally. It was an enjoyable evening that gave some great insight into how to approach death in fiction, and how writing can be a healing experience. On the other hand, it was hearing some of the most traumatic experiences of people’s lives. Not without reason, and not without the catharsis mentioned earlier, but it’s still a lot to take in.

I thank Isobelle and try not to fan-out too much, say goodbye to the people I knew and ruthlessly use the opportunity to recruit (hopefully) a new member to our local writing group. Before driving off though, I go through my phone and set up the music for the way home. There is one song that has been stuck in my head all night, a song that has been one of my favourites for years and simultaneously haunts with its references to the ongoing trauma of war. One that every time I hear it, reminds me of the friends I’ve lost over the years to the ongoing effects of various types of service, especially when it was covered and the lyrics tweaked a little for modernity. I’m always glad to remember them, but it doesn’t make it any less painful that they are gone.

For me, it was the perfect song to begin the night with, so I figured it might as well be the one to close it out.

The Bards of Birchtree Hall – by Amanda Maynard-Schubert

I haven’t really done reviews in the past – my editor brain gets in the way and it ends up being more a report than something useful to readers – but I couldn’t resist this one. Not only am I super excited to see a good friend succeed, but The Bards of Birchtree Hall was also an absolute pleasure to read. And if I can fit it in, I’m hoping to start doing some more a bit more regularly as well.

As a quick disclaimer, I am a judge for Aurealis this year in one of the categories that The Bards of Birchtree Hall has been submitted. This review is my personal opinion and does not reflect the opinion of any judging panel, the judging coordinators, or the Aurealis Awards management team. Plus, I review differnt to how I judge anyway. Different processes for different outcomes.

I do this daily!!! Lol Britta's Judgy Face! | Women, Pregnant women,  Pregnant

But onto the book!

Neala and her mother, Dana, have left a dead farm and dead father/husband behind in Australia to start a new life in the land of Dana’s childhood – Ireland. As soon as they arrive, Neala starts getting weird dreams and visions of music and horses seem to haunt her – but its just the jetlag, right? The stress of it all?

When she’s encouraged to apply for Birchtree, a musical academy so prestigious Neala can barely even find any information about it, all the secrets start to come out. Her new friends tell her of the magic of Bards, and Dana confesses she deliberately kept all knowledge of the magic from Neala, along with the significance of Neala’s birthmark.

Despite her anger at being kept in the dark, an attempt of her life, an unbelievable rescue, and the encouragement of her friends convinces Neala to accept her place at Birchtree. Once there, more questions seem to come than answers. Semi-sentient plants, a little black fox that seem to defy all laws of magic, and Bards disappearing, only to reappear again shortly after, create questions of their own. Even with her friend, Áine’s, strange headaches an old woman entering her dreams, they all seem little more than distractions, although almost overwhelming one, or maybe precursors to something else.*

Something big is coming. Something bigger than the oddities Neala is experiencing, that threatens to break centuries-old protective barriers. And the birthmark, the fox, and the disappearances; they all seem to connect to it. As Neala gets deeper into the world of the Bards, book one of the Stormbringer Chronicles sets up an epic tale of clashing worlds to come, and I am all in for the sequels!

* Oh, and there are boys, which from what I’ve been told are distracting enough, but as anyone who knows me will know, that is not my field of expertise. So, I’m assuming its been done well, and moving on.

Okay, so onto the review bit. First and foremost, It’s a great story, and well told. It is a debut, and some technical aspects of the writing will be ironed out with time (sorry, couldn’t shut down the editor brain entirely), but overall it’s a fantastic entry in to the YA Fantasy world that I thoroughly enjoyed.

For anyone who’s lived in regional Australia, you’ll be able to see Amanda’s lived experience really shines in Neala. All the main characters really get the ‘genuine’ treatment, and I’m a sucker for multi-dimensional characters. Nanna is a blast, as are Torin, Áine, and Finlay. The magic system is quite unique, blending a number of systems to give believably unique skills to each character while giving each a basis from which to work. With Neala as new to this as we the reader are, that author does a great job of giving us a system that can be complex, without diving straight into complexities that confuse.

As far as the plot goes, it really is setting up for something greater. There is a great YA story of a young girl being separated from her parents in one of the harshest ways at the start, and in an entirely foreign way when she attends Birchtree, but where that story ends, the (no spoilers) cliffhanger final chapter successfully achieves the difficult task of closing one story, while simultaneously using the threads from throughout the novel to build a far greater – and more disturbing – mystery.

As an avid fantasy fan, I really enjoyed the world, the magic, and the way all the threads pulled together. Its an immersive, engaging read. I’m very appreciative of getting an early copy for review, and looking forward to the Book 2 come July 2021!

Image result for land before time tree star | Land before time, Cool art  drawings, Movie crafts
Image result for land before time tree star | Land before time, Cool art  drawings, Movie crafts
Image result for land before time tree star | Land before time, Cool art  drawings, Movie crafts
Image result for land before time tree star | Land before time, Cool art  drawings, Movie crafts

Four out of five Tree-Stars, and check out Amanda’s artwork (multi-talented!) below

For Nevermore – Furious Fiction September 2020

Hi again – that’s right, two shorts in one day! After my *ahem* hilarious (?) attempt last month, this time it got a little dark again. The prompt was a visual (image looking off the back of a boat), with a requirement to start the first word with SHO, and include the words score, slice, sprinkle, stamp, and switch. And. . . I managed to get longlisted again! Huzzah!

Also, as a content warning, this does have a few references to DV and attempted suicide. Not fun topics.

For Nevermore

Should anyone ask, tell them I died. Tell them you tried to save me, tell them I finally gave up. Tell them whatever the hell you want. I don’t care. Or I wish I didn’t, and hope someday I’ll stop grieving for the boy I knew before. Back before the fear of you slowly crept in, before the horror of realising, you were proud of what you did. That you enjoyed it. You called me weak, mocking my sliced flesh, the laughter cutting far deeper than any razor.

Neither of us are laughing now though. Some dolphins swam by earlier, scores of them leaping ahead of the bow, and I smiled for a moment. I almost laughed too, but as I wiped the ocean spray from my face, the smile went with it. It reminds me that I’m free, and that you no longer have any part of my life. I want to be happy with that, but you have dictated every part of my best decades. Or rather, what should have been my best. I grieve to lose you, the switch my grief towards lost years by your side. Everyone else seemed to know you, yet with me . . .every cruel word, every spiteful act was sprinkled with just enough hope to make me stay. After all, I was the problem, wasn’t I? That’s why no-one else would have me.

But still, I do miss you. I wish you could hear the silence of the night sea, taste the salt in the air, and marvel at the pink-orange sunsets. Even on the rough days there is a raw beauty to it all. As though the ocean is reminding us that thousands of years of technological advances mean nothing if she’s in a mood.

In part, I wish you were here. It sickens me that I feel that way, but that was the whole point, wasn’t it? Stamp such authority on my life that I needed it. Make you feel like . . .I don’t know. Like you were the man your father was? Like you were in control of something? I never worked it out. I don’t even know if there was a reason, or you are just like that. Was I a plaything, some kind of entertainment?

Whatever I was, I don’t care anymore. And I don’t care how much of that is a lie, I will tell myself the same thing until I believe it, regardless of the reality. Anything can be true for a given value of truth, can’t it?

And my new life will be mine, regardless of how painful the process is. It’s the pain of a new life coming into the world. Without you. Without the old me.

So should anyone ask, tell them I died. Because the truth – for a given value thereof – is that I have. The man you knew no longer exists. He has died an unremarkable death at your ‘loving’ hands.

Yours for nevermore,


Just a joke – Furious Fiction August 2020

Hi all, its been a while. I’ve been deep in the rabbit hole of my dissertation, writing and rewriting. Looking forward to getting it done and getting some rest. . .or maybe signing myself up for another course. Because apparently I don’t like having any spare time.

Just kidding. Not about signing up for a course, I definitely did that, but I’m super excited to be part of the next 6-month AWC Write Your Novel course, and looking forward to developing the creative part of my dissertation into a full-blown novel.

But on the topic of ‘Just kidding’, I haven’t shared a Furious Fiction entry for the last couple of months either, so this one is a little late. I don’t recall too many of the conditions apart from the ‘humourous’ requirement. Those who have read my work before know that humour isn’t really my thing. It isn’t that I don’t like it, its that humour is HARD! So I interpreted a little this month and made it about concepts of humour instead. Its only a short piece, but I wanted to capture one of my pet hates – when someone tried to defend an action or statement with, ‘It was just a joke, I was just kidding!’ So I focussed on that. Hope you enjoy!

A blast of cold water shot out of an exotic, plastic flower on the driver’s jacket as Jake stared at the bright red nose and wig. This had to be a setup. It couldn’t be his Uber. Yet checking the car details – a pale green Volkswagen, personalised plates of ‘M.A.’ – it all seemed to match.

‘Good to go?’ The clown took a drag of his cigarette.

Jake shoved the remainder of a sandwich – a quick snack before tonight’s party – in his mouth and nodded.

‘So who booked you? Who’s the prankster?’ The driver shrugged, flicking the cigarette butt before waddling towards in the car in his oversized shoes.

‘Was it Steve?’




Did he know a Keith? A vague memory of a quiet kid from school surfaced, but Jake hadn’t heard of him for years. Didn’t he die or something?

A shock exploded up Jake’s arm as he grabbed the door.

‘Clown car, whaddya expect. All good, buzzer’s off now’ The driver coughed, spitting a wad of phlegm onto the road. Jake reached gingerly for the door, opening it to a miasma of cigarette smoke. This ‘Keith’ guy must have a twisted sense of humour.

‘You know this Keith?’ the driver asked as the car spluttered to life and Jake tried to make himself comfortable on the lumpy seat.


‘Said he went to school with ya. Funny bugger, loves a punchline.’

‘I mean, yeah, there was a Keith, I think. Weird guy, never had much to do with him.’

Keith… if it was the same one, why hire the clown now?

‘Hey, you’re meant to turn left here!’ Pulling his phone out, Jake turned to show the driver the route.

‘See? Its – ‘ A white mass smashed into his face, a sickly, chemical sweetness seeping into the corners of his mouth and cutting him off. A tiny fringe of darkness curled at the edges of his vision, pausing momentarily as though to allow Jake to appreciate the terror of the situation, before taking him entirely.

Jake woke, still dizzy, facing to a tombstone.

Keith Geoffrey Harris, 1998-2016

‘Remember him now?’

Memories flashed of a small, weedy kid. Pushed around, teased a little… but nothing serious. It was all in fun. Just a joke, right?

Jake tried to run. His legs, his arms though… nothing was responding. Shit

‘Calm down, I ain’t gonna kill ya.’ The clown lit another cigarette, opening the boot with nicotine-stained gloves. Jake’s eyes widened – staring back from the Volkswagen were multitudes of faces, far too many than should ever fit, all sobbing and wailing, pleading for release.

‘Clown car,’ coughed the driver, ‘Fits hundreds in there.’

Tears streamed down Jake’s face. He barely remembered Keith. He hadn’t exactly been kind, but it was just kids joking around, right?

‘You know the funniest aspect of a joke?’ The clown lifted Jake as he spoke, throwing him into the boot with the myriad of moaning faces. ‘Funniest thing, is who gets the last laugh.’ 

WordCon Day 5 – The Glorious End

For previous days, links below.

WorldCon Day 4 – and the, er. . .Hugos

WorldCon Day 3 – and Brisbane 2025

WorldCon Day 2 – The Socialising. . .kind of

WorldCon Day 1 – The Rambling

After Saturday’s post though, I want to make something clear – for the vast majority of the Con, I had an absolute blast. One thing I really appreciated is that the con ended how it began for me – with a bunch of fascinating panels with engaging panelists and attendees that held refine and inform my own writing.

That said, I woke still pretty deflated from the Hugos. Some people have suggested anger is a more appropriate response, but me and anger are not a great combination, so I prefer to celebrate the strong lists, the amazing winners, and the speeches. Other aspects need to be learnt from, and analysis of those elements is on a repeat loop in my head. It might be selfish, but I want to keep helping with the Hugos, and I never want to be attached to the kinds of things that were said outside of the winners’ speeches. To that end, I will try to learn from the horrific, but focus on the positives. The Hugos should be about the fans, and the winners are included in that category. Toastmaster is a service to those fans. That service might be meant as an honour, but it comes with obligations and responsibilities, not self-indulgent rights.

So that’s all I’ll say about that – the rest of my focus will be listening and improving to ensure as much as I can, I will be able to push the focus towards the fans in future ceremonies.

With all that going through my head, I missed the first panel of the day. But good news, its all available for another week, so I can still chase that up.

The first panel I did make was Screenwriting 101. I’m not a screenwriter, but its an area I’ve always wanted to get into. The idea of doing an anthology of shorts is absolutely on my bucket list, and now seems to be a better time than any to start learning how to get that done. Key take aways were that, ‘You’re a genius’ is Hollywood for ‘Hello’, and to register all scripts with WGA for protection. Slightly concerning takeaways, but still, useful. There were others as well – a few tips on how to stand out, how to find a niche, and challenge (that I’m sure wasn’t intended) to write a weird horror RomCom.

Challenge accepted.*

The second panel I attended was Military SF with Joe Haldeman. This was a particularly personal one for me, and it did a great job of discussing what matters in military science fiction. The idea that we write it from the context of our own – such as fleets fighting a Naval force in space, and by extension cloaked battles were submarine battles in space.

One thing that really stood out though was the humility and respect with which Joe spoke. Maybe it was because it was in contrast to others of a similar demographic over the con, but Joe was willing to contribute from his own experience and past, while openly acknowledging he was (in his own words) a ‘historical relic’. Now, I’m not sure that’s the case; much of the advice he was giving on the focus of relationships and growing a critical mindset as part of the soldier’s character development.

While I don’t think the ‘historical relic’ is completely accurate, I do appreciate that he seemed to be subtly pushing people to looking at the future of writing and the future of science fiction. Also, Kin-Ming Looi’s Babylon Five setup was amazing.

The next panel was one that focussed on the technical side of virtual cons. It was interesting, and very helpful in looking at the Aus 2025 bid, but much of the technical side probably isn’t that relevant to the con. What I will say is that a key take away for me was the pivotal requirement for integration of a number of different systems. Also, regarding those systems – sometimes some budgetary pain for the sake of a professional frees up many volunteers and efforts for other elements. More expensive, but less stressful and a less resource heavy.

My final session is one that was probably one of the best ways to end the con – a two hour documentary on the legacy of Ursula K. Le Guin.

The doco is apparently available on Amazon Prime (which I can’t check because I don’t have it anymore), and I thoroughly recommend it. From her childhood, to her education, family, and works. It interviews Le Guin herself, in which she admits to the fear of accepting awards and delivering scathing acceptance speeches, she discusses what she did wrong and how she grew in her writing, and beautiful recitals of her own poetry.

It also left me with one question that has played at the back of my mind ever since the Astounding award was given its name last year – why is there no Urusla K. Le Guin award, scholarship, or other formal recognition within the industry? She won I think seven Hugos, six Nebulas, the World Fantasy Award, a bunch of Locus awards, and a bunch of formal literary accolades – yet there is a scholarship with Oregon University and that is all. She has arguably redefined the way we look at science fiction and fantasy, enabling a more accessible genre, and forced people to take it seriously (though this is an ongoing battle). Maybe its just the fan in me planting a whole bunch of bias, or maybe I’ talking in ignorance and something dies exist out there. But if it doesn’t, I think that we, as a community, need to be able to recognise her contribution in some kind of perpetual way. Maybe it isn’t the time, or maybe there are others from more marginalised communities we need to recognise first. I don’t know. But she stands out as a giant of talent, bravery, and change to me. I think that should be recognised somewhere.

But anyway, on following this I did what is appropriate at the end of a Con. I went and got a comfortable chair, a glass of Dubliners, and hung out in the virtual bar for a bit. It was a bit quiet to start with, but soon a bunch of local Kiwis appeared which resulted in a nice, quiet, decompression from the week.

In the end, there were some great experiences and I met some fantastic people. Yes, there was a horrific butchering of a role by an actual historical relic, but to focus on the winners, the future of SFF looks fantastic. Learning and networking alike were far more exhausting and successful than I ever expected and the technical execution was not flawless, but ridiculously well done as the first virtual WordCon. For New Zealand, I hope this is their legacy. For me, I’m just glad that overall, I got to enjoy my first ever WorldCon, even if it was from the comfort of my own home.

Onward to Washington – likely also from the comfort of my own home.


*Challenge pitch:

‘All Kraken wants is a breeding partner – they didn’t mean to find love. Now they must try to reveal their true form to their lover, without the lover freaking out – or worse, attracting the attention of their lover’s tentacle obsessed younger sibling. Octodad meets The Little Mermaid

WorldCon Day 4 – and the, er. . .Hugos

Hey, so this is coming out a bit earlier than usual because I am absolutely exhausted and probably won’t have the capacity to do this later.

Also, because I think its important to address my first ever Hugos, one in which I was able to participate in behind the scenes.

For those that didn’t see it, Arkady Markady’s speech really summed it up in her acceptance speech for Best Novel. To wildly paraphrase, she described the night as a contrast between a simplified, nostalgic past and a complex, difficult, and exciting present and future. There wasn’t anything malicious in the ceremony, but the throwbacks to the 1950’s and 1970’s award ceremonies was. . . problematic. Let me make this clear – I hold a lot of privilege, and am pretty hard to unnerve. But even I felt uncomfortable in much of it, and felt that it would probably have made plenty of others even more uncomfortable, upset, or worse.

But there was an up side. Speeches like that of R.F. Kuang calling out the problems in entering the writing world as a woman and a marginalised community – the harassment, pigeon-holing, and racim – and that of Jeanette Ng (who by all rights needs to be nominated for a 2021 Related Work Hugo for her acceptance speech) were amazing. Ng’s speech might not ripple into another name change for an award as her 2019 speech did, but it was just as powerful. And as is becoming tradition (twice is tradition, right?) she ended with an awesome hat.

In that sense, it really was a Hugo in two parts. George’s stories were clearly dear memories to him, but talking so highly of people who are known to have massively damaged diversity in SFF was (to put it mildly) a failure to really understand the modern SFF community.

This isn’t meant to be a criticism of George, but if we take out the diversity in the award winners of 2020 (link here), we can list maybe three or four winners. The classic gatekeepers kept out the voices of so many literary masters who will now never be known. They were Georges idols and peers. They are probably great memories and stories for him. But they are a reminder of damaging people in a damaging time that continues to impact modern works.

As someone who was involved in the show, and someone who both attended and contributed for the first time, it was an eyeopening experience. It might be a little bias of me, but I don’t want to put any hate on the volunteer team either. Having seen the work that went in behind the scenes, I felt genuinely bad for some of the people who had their work represented this way. I don’t know what opportunities or skills they had to change what was the final show, but I do hope that for Washington 2021, Chicago 2022, and WorldCons in the foreseeable future learn to look forward, rather than relish a selective past in the way they organise future ceremonies.


Links to previous days:

WorldCon Day 1 – The Rambling

WorldCon Day 2 – The Socialising. . .kind of

WorldCon Day 3 – and Brisbane 2025