Monthly Display - June 2024

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Monthly Display - June 2024:


Some of Marianne's History

(as told to me over the years, or taken from various written records)


Painting titled “The Linguist”, of my wife, Marianne Vanderklugt.


Marianne was born in Noordwijk, in The Netherlands. As a baby, she was told, she liked being outside in the cold air in her pram.

At the age of three, Marianne had major heart surgery to close a hole between sections of her heart. She needed to stay in hospital on her own for at least a week. Tests and follow up from that surgery would be done regularly over the next 13 years or so.

She went to primary school in Noordwijk, where she was consistently the top of her classes. Even at primary school level, with her Dutch language, her school colleagues would call her, “the walking dictionary”. Marianne loved books and she loved reading from an early age. She kept that love of reading all of her life.

As a young girl Marianne would regularly play “school” with the local children, where she was the teacher and the other children could learn things from her. At home she would enjoy reading, and she would enjoy “doing craft” (making lots of different things from paper, glue, a pair of scissors, coloured pencils, coloured textas, etc.). She said that she would often have a cat at home, growing up in Noordwijk. She remembers her family having a lot of different pets, including rabbits, hares, guinea pigs, hamsters, small turtles, as well as cats.

She went to a selective high school, and excelled in her languages, history, geography, and Art history. She started learning English at that school, at the age of 12. She also studied French, German, and Latin.

As a teenager, she enjoyed earning some money after school, by going to one of her uncles’ farm sheds and doing “bollenpeller” (bulb peeling). She would sit in the shed with the other workers, and work through large baskets of bulbs, manually separating the nodules on the bulbs with her thumbs. She said that she got to be quite quick at doing it. It was hard work, but she earned quite a bit of money from doing it quickly, over reasonably long periods of time. She did quite a lot of this type of work in the 6 months leading up to coming to Australia.

Marianne immigrated to Australia with her parents and younger brother in November 1980, when she had just turned 17. Coming to Australia to live, she knew that her English had to be improved, and she worked hard at that. She went with her family to live in an immigration hostel (titled “Endeavour Hostel”) at Randwick in Sydney. She could clearly recall waking up on the first morning in the hostel in Sydney, and hearing an amazing string of beautiful and varied warbling of Magpies outside her window. She had never heard anything like it before. It felt like she had come to a very special place. In fact, she loved her next two and a bit years in Sydney. She said that Sydney felt so big and cosmopolitan, and exciting, compared with where she had been living. And she liked the fact that nobody knew her there. She could start a new life in Sydney.

Marianne found the English language to be frustrating at times. She also found though, that it gave her a different window to view the world through. She found that she could often see things differently if she considered them in English rather than in Dutch (because Dutch was her native language, it had a lot of strong emotions connected to many words and phrases). For example, she found that it was much easier for her to use English swear words, rather than Dutch swear words, because she had grown up with the Dutch language, being told, “oh, don’t use THAT word; or it is very bad to use that word, or that’s not very acceptable”, etc. But in English, she could use similarly offensive swear words without the impacts of guilt or shame. English swear words for her, just didn’t have the same emotional power as Dutch swear words. She could produce some pretty colourful tirades of swear words at times, without feeling much need to stop or be careful.

While living at the hostel, Marianne was introduced to selling Avon products, door-to-door around her local area. She enjoyed this work, and continued doing this for several years, even after moving to Adelaide. She enjoyed meeting many very kind and hospitable people, as well as the gruff and rude ones.

After living at the hostel for about 8 months, her family moved out and rented a flat in Randwick, within walking distance to Coogee beach. She would go down to the beach regularly with her brother. Apparently, her family would sometimes go swimming in Botany Bay near La Perouse until they heard that it was a risky area in terms of sharks (it was a favourite spot for sharks to use as a breeding ground). Whenever she would go back to Sydney on holidays, she would always try to go to Coogee beach (among the many places she liked to go there).

Marianne went to Maroubra Girls High School, starting in Year 11, because her English still needed improving. She did improve her English dramatically, finished Year 12, and achieved her Higher School Certificate with an excellent score (enough to get her accepted into Law at Sydney University).

Her parents were keen to try to buy a house instead of renting in Sydney (because it was so expensive), so they eventually decided to go to Adelaide to see what they might be able to find there. They found a house that was much cheaper to rent, near Marion Shopping Centre.

Marianne went to Adelaide University instead of Sydney University, and she studied a Bachelor of Arts (focusing on Languages), instead of Law. Marianne studied Advanced French, Advanced German, Italian, Latin, and Japanese. She studied at Adelaide University during 1983 and 1984, completing several subjects towards her degree, but never completing her degree. During that time, she moved out of her parents’ home and rented her own flat. She continued to sell Avon in her local area. She also undertook several other work opportunities (including market research interviewer) to give her enough income to stay living independently.

Marianne got her car driver’s licence during 1983 or 1984. Apparently it was required for a position Marianne was interested in, so she paid for professional lessons, and got her driver’s licence on her first attempt at the driving test. In all, it took her only 3 weeks, from start to finish, to get her licence. A big stream of work that she used her car for was home tutoring, where she would drive to a student’s home to give them tutoring (usually for improving their English, but she had also tutored French and even primary school level Mathematics).

Marianne worked as a nanny for a Vietnamese family, during the second half of 1984 (I think). She really enjoyed the Vietnamese food she was given, and developed a taste for Vietnamese fish sauce. She learnt how to make Vietnamese spring rolls there as well.

Marianne bought her own flat, as an investment, some time around 1984-1985 at Glenelg North. She never lived in that flat herself, but she liked the feeling of security of owning some real estate.

I met Marianne at West Beach in 1985. At that time, she was working at Adelaide International Airport, doing the International Visitors’ Survey of leaving international passengers on behalf of the Australian Tourist Commission. She did that work for 3 full years, in 1985, 1986, and 1988. She loved that work, interviewing passengers as they waited in the leaving lounges at the airport. She needed to be at the airport a few hours before each leaving international flight, so it could mean getting up very early, or going out to the airport on a Sunday morning, etc. Often with that work, her understanding and use of multiple languages was invaluable. She felt that there was a certain amount of glamour about this particular work, and enjoyed dressing in the uniform sent out by the Australian Tourist Commission. She also liked, as with all the Market Research Interviewing work, the fact that the more interviews she could do, the more she would be paid.

Marianne and I had met at West Beach in 1985, but we developed our relationship from October 1986. I had already moved away from West Beach to a flat at Christies Beach, closer to where I was working at the time, doing commercial artwork for a printer. Throughout this time, Marianne continued working multiple part-time casual positions, including Market Research Interviewer on the phone in the evenings (something she did regularly from 1984 until January 1989). She recalled having excellent success in getting callers to do her interviews – she had always had a very positive and cheerful voice on the phone.

From January 1986 until current (2024) Marianne did free-lance translating of academic articles, reports, historical documents, and books usually from Dutch into English.

After our relationship started to blossom, Marianne decided to return to tertiary education to get a teaching degree, something she really wanted to get, and try teaching as a career. She had volunteered to work as a teacher’s aid in the Sydney hostel back in 1981, and later at Pennington Primary School, when she moved to Adelaide. She always enjoyed these experiences, and thought that she could be very good at teaching English language.

She applied for and got into studying for 3 full-time years at the South Australian College of Advanced Education (which later became the University of South Australia) from 1987 until 1989, and was awarded with a Diploma of Teaching (majoring in English). I started my 4-year teaching degree (Bachelor of Education – Secondary Art) in 1988 (until 1991), at the same campus (Underdale) as where Marianne was doing her tertiary studies.

Marianne officially changed her name to “Marianne Hendrika Vanderklugt” (from “Johanna Theodora Maria van der Klugt”) by Deed Poll and the South Australian Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Office in 1989.

From December 1989 until current (2024), Marianne did free-lance editing and proofreading of reports, Ph.D. theses, articles, essays, manuscripts and dissertations for native speakers of English and for university students from a non-English speaking background. Her editing and proofreading skills were exemplary.

In 1990, Marianne started teaching as an English Language Teacher in the New Arrivals Program of the Education Department of South Australia, at Sturt Street Primary School in the city. She taught English language to primary school children who were either migrants or refugees. At the same time, she also undertook a two-year part-time course at the University of South Australia, to be finally awarded a Graduate Diploma of Education in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Plus, she continued doing home tutoring with several overseas and Australian students.

From January 1992 until July 1992, Marianne worked as an English Language teacher at the English College of Adelaide. Here, she taught English language at all levels to international students.

In May 1992, Marianne and I decided to buy a house together, at North Brighton. We managed to secure a loan for most of it, based on Marianne’s record of paying back the loan she had received for the flat that she now already owned in Glenelg North.

In July 1992, Marianne and I were married by a celebrant in the backyard of our new house. We both moved in from our individual flats. It was an amazing time, that just continued until recently.

On our wedding day, Marianne got a phone call from an English language centre asking her if she would consider a teaching position with them. She agreed, seeing we now had a sizeable loan, but it was going to be as a Lecturer in the English Language Programs section at the Centre for Applied Linguistics at The University of South Australia (CALUSA). This was the original CALUSA (genuinely part of the University of South Australia), in its prime. Marianne taught many different courses, and many more students there until 1995. She enjoyed all of her teaching there, and enjoyed good friendships with some other very good teachers there, but was also seeing a distracting world of politics and position manoeuvring that she felt was not helping her in her current position there.

Throughout the years, we have travelled to many different places in Australia, such as Sydney (many times), Meningie (on the shores of Lake Albert in SA) quite a few times, Perth, Kangaroo Island, Brisbane, Cairns, Launceston, Melbourne, Auburn (near Clare in SA), Whyalla, Cowell, Port Lincoln, Victor Harbor, Granite Island, Goolwa, and Port Elliot (many times), Mt Barker, Hahndorf, Strathalbyn, Murray Bridge, Tailem Bend, Kingston SE, Mt Gambier, Renmark, Waikerie, Port Augusta, and others. Marianne was always good to travel with.

In 1993 and 1994, Marianne started and completed a Master of Educational Studies (Applied Linguistics) from the Northern Territory University (now Charles Darwin University). Because of her ongoing results, she was awarded an academic scholarship by the Northern Territory University.

In 1995, Marianne resigned from her position at CALUSA, after receiving a lot of pressure to split her efforts and contact time between teaching, research and administration, seeing she was officially working as a university lecturer. She wanted just to teach, but teach well.

From August 1995 until June 1998, Marianne taught privately part-time as an English language teacher – teaching English language and academic study skills to adult migrants and undergraduate and postgraduate international students.

If it sounds like Marianne would have been very busy doing all of these things, the truth was that she was very busy doing a wide range of part-time jobs. When she was recently looking back at those times, she wondered how she could have done it all, but she did!

From July 1996, we had completely repaid our home loan (in about 4 years’ time), mainly thanks to Marianne’s multiple earnings, along with the sale of her flat in Glenelg North.

From August 1996 until July 1997, Marianne worked as an English language teacher at the SA Adelaide Language Centre, teaching general English, and English for Hotel Management (including IELTS test preparation) to international students.

In April and May 1998, Marianne and I travelled to Noordwijk in The Netherlands to see where she grew up. We then went to see Koekenhof (a huge tulip flower show in Lisse), Amsterdam (including the van Gogh art museum, the Rijks Museum, the many canals, Vondel Park, etc.), and Valkenburg in The Netherlands, Brugge and Oostende in Belgium, Paris and Arles in France, Schaffhausen (famous for having the largest waterfall in Europe) in Switzerland, Donaueschingen (in the Black Forest in southern Germany), and then back to The Netherlands before flying home. In Europe, the Euro hadn’t come in yet, so we needed to change some of our money into each country’s currency.

It was amazing to watch Marianne interpret between me and her relatives in The Netherlands, and then use Dutch and French in Belgium, French in France, and German in Switzerland and Germany. It was really good to see where Marianne grew up. It was an amazing and wonderful trip to Northwestern Europe.

From September 1998 until December 1998, Marianne worked as a Lecturer in the Preparatory Program at ELLS (English Language and Literacy Services) at the Adelaide Institute of TAFE, teaching settlement English to traumatised refugees (most of whom had come in from war affected regions). This work required a lot of sensitivity, and Marianne was very successful at it. Because she cared about the people she was teaching, this work took a lot out of her.

From January 1999 until June 1999, Marianne worked as a Lecturer in the Integrated Bridging Program at The University of Adelaide, teaching English language and academic study skills to international postgraduate students (including AusAID sponsored students) enrolled in Master’s degree courses (in Politics, Economics, Education and Public Health). Her students achieved excellent results from their work with her. Most of the other English Language Lecturers there despised the relationship Marianne had with her students – they went around saying that she was just lucky that she got all of the good students, who would arrive for their lessons on time, do really good writing, etc. Little did they know that Marianne set high standards for herself and her students and worked really hard to achieve those things. She knew how to get her students to her lessons on time, she knew how to get her students inspired, and she knew how to teach them good skills with using English. This was a consistent theme throughout most of Marianne’s various teaching placements.

From August 1999 until April 2000, Marianne worked as a Lecturer in English as a Second Language at the English Language Centre at the Adelaide Institute of TAFE, teaching English language and academic study skills to adult international students, to prepare them for further study at TAFE or university (including teaching the Bridging Course).

This was the big one, after being bounced around many English language centres! From April 2000 until November 2007, Marianne ran her own English language college, called Fountainhead College. She rented an office on the 4th floor in Peel Street in the city. She was Proprietor and English language teacher, teaching higher level general and academic English language classes (including IELTS test preparation) to adult international students. Marianne always looked back at this as her biggest work highlight. She needed to read up on good business practices, and work out how everything was going to work, but she was a natural at running her own business. And she was prepared to do all sorts of related activities to help her business, such as regularly walking around the city pinning up leaflets that directed prospective students to her college, etc. She was a go-getter, and did everything necessary to run her business as smoothly and as professionally as possible. She was an outstanding teacher, who usually inspired her students to make big gains in their understanding and use of English. She liked being in control of the possible directions for the way her college was run. She had a logo designed for her college, a motto of “Language is Power”, and she set up a web presence for her college.

In mid September 2002, we travelled to Greece and Italy for about 4 weeks in total (2 weeks in each). We had planned to go in October 2001, but the “9-11 attacks” in the US made us feel uneasy about travelling at that time, so we postponed our trip for almost 12 months. We started in Greece, going to Athens, Spetses (one of the Greek Islands), Monemvassia, Tripoli, and back to Athens. In Italy, we went to Rome, Perugia, Florence (and met up with Gianluca, one of her favourite students), Venice, Tuscany, and then back to Rome. We enjoyed our trip immensely, especially being treated by Gianluca to many experiences in Italy that only locals would really know about. Marianne often said afterwards that we were so lucky to go to Greece and enjoy it before all of the trouble that started there a few years after we visited it.

In May 2004, we travelled to South Korea and Japan for about 4 weeks in total (again about 2 weeks in each country). A big part of why we wanted to go to South Korea and Japan, is that Marianne had taught many very nice people from those countries, and we wanted to meet up with some of them. We started in South Korea and went to Seoul, Busan, Gyeongju, and then back to Seoul. In Japan, we went to Sapporo, Otaru, Tokyo, Mt Fuji, Nara, and then on to Kyoto. We did meet up with a lot of people that Marianne had taught. In Japan, Makiko and Taka (both living in Sapporo at the time) showed us tremendous hospitality in particular. In fact, all of the people we met in those countries provided us with amazing hospitality. We thoroughly enjoyed our times in those countries, and it was really good to see where these very nice people lived.

In 2005, we moved out of our house at North Brighton, and moved to North Adelaide to live in an apartment close to the city. We eventually sold our house, for about 3 times the value we paid for it (something that Marianne in particular found to be very exciting).

During 2005 and 2006, Marianne supported me so I that I could undertake an art project, called “Microcosm”, dedicating 2 years of full-time artwork production based on the one Moreton Bay Fig Tree, which grew in the Adelaide Park Lands, near our apartment. That project was my big highlight, in terms of artistic achievement, and I will always be grateful that Marianne made it possible for me to undertake it.

At the end of 2006, we moved out of our apartment in North Adelaide, and rented a house at Linden Park, in the eastern suburbs.

Towards the end of 2007, there was a genuine project proposal for a big tower that was going to be built next door to where Marianne had her office, and the construction of this big tower was scheduled to take several years. Marianne was also feeling tired from the constant demands of the business, so decided not to renew her lease. I had found work in IT support at a secondary school.

From November 2007 until current (May 2024), Marianne continued teaching higher level English language (including IELTS test preparation) and academic study skills to small groups and individual students from a non-English speaking background. She had mostly done this teaching in the State Library of South Australia, but also at the business residence of a private Korean migration agency, called Bada.

At the end of 2009, we bought our current home, at Wattle Park. Marianne continued to teach small groups or individual students in the city. At the end of 2010, I lost my work at the secondary school. Marianne was supporting us both again. I was out of work for more than a year, before getting a job in an IT help-desk for a local business. After about 10 months of working in that help-desk position, I managed to get a position in IT support for UniSA. The conditions were a huge improvement, as was the pay. I worked there on a series of contracts from early 2012 until late 2016. Marianne kept her teaching going smoothly throughout all of these changes.

Around 2011, after watching some programs about fasting, and sugar consumption, we had decided to make some permanent changes to our eating habits that would hopefully mean that we could avoid most dangerous health problems. We firstly cut right back on the consumption of sugar. We also cut back on our consumption of salty foods, crisps, salted nuts, etc. We also did some fasting, and we each lost about 17 kgs off our weights. We continued doing plenty of walking. We were both feeling much healthier.

Marianne managed the money coming in from my work at UniSA so that we saved enough for me to retire towards the end of 2016.

I cannot recall Marianne ever receiving unemployment benefits. All I can remember, is that while Marianne was studying to become a primary school teacher and living in a flat away from her parents, she would get paid a HECS benefit from the government (as an encouragement to be able to study without needing to work as well) of around $1.80 per week! Marianne knew that she needed to work as well, to be able to support herself, and she did!

At the start of COVID-19, in 2020, Marianne’s teaching work was put on-hold. She wasn’t confident that she could teach one-to-one with both parties wearing masks, and still teach in the way that she wanted to.

In February 2023, Marianne was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer. She had had some swelling of her torso, which was starting to make her breathing more difficult, and her eating more restricted. We thought that it may be something like a lactose intolerance, which she had had before. After seeing a doctor about the swelling, the doctor suggested a scan of her torso to see what was going on. We could not believe the diagnosis, and both of our lives took a sudden turn from that moment.

Since February 2023, Marianne undertook several regimes of different chemo-therapies, plus major surgery under the guidance of an Ovarian cancer specialist. Marianne’s specialist performed the major surgery, and thought that it went well. Marianne always undertook all of the testing and procedures recommended by her specialist. That is to say, that although she didn’t want to do any of it, she was always prepared to do what she understood she needed to do, and she trusted her specialist.

Marianne also tried meditation and positive affirmations as added means of managing/reducing her cancer (from a book written by Ian Gawler who had overcome a terrible cancer many years ago, through meditation). Marianne believed that the more that she could do for herself, the better her chances of overcoming the cancer would be. We thought that Marianne was overcoming her cancer. All indicators to us suggested that she had reduced her cancer dramatically. However, the human body is an extremely complex organism, and only needs some small thing to go wrong to have terrible consequences. Her specialist had thought that Marianne was overcoming her cancer too, but explained to me after her death, some of the big problems that she had been facing.

Marianne died unexpectedly, late on 2nd May, 2024.

(Written by Neil Huggett, Marianne’s husband of 31¾ years, in May 2024. I have been close to Marianne for about 38 years.)


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Monthly Display - June 2024