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The power of support: Stephen’s journey of self-discovery and creative expression through Candella. 

Amidst life’s struggles, setting out and achieving your goals can sometimes feel like trying to make your way through a maze.
For Stephen, a  Candella client with a passion for writing poetry, his journey became a testament to the power of having the unwavering support of his Candella Wellbeing Facilitator Ben by his side, helping him achieve a longtime dream of being able to share his poetry with the world.  
With a deep interest in war sparked by his grandfather’s stories of World War II, Stephen, a coppersmith by trade and self-taught writer embarked on a three-year writing journey. Inspired by Eric Bogle’s ‘And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda,’ Stephen attempted to address the question ‘Why do we march for Anzac Day and why do we still remember?‘. 
The culmination of his poignant poem titled “ANZAC. 1915 – ode to Uncle Royce” focuses on the enduring impact of war, and it’s impact on mental health. Despite grappling with his own mental health challenges and epilepsy, Stephen poured his heart into every verse, describing his writing process as a labour of love, “this is an anti-war peace poem, I wanted my words to convey my belief that warfare foments war”.
Over the past nine months of being supported by Candella, Stephen has been able to unearth talents, set and meet goals and achieve his dream of being able to share his poem publicly. 
Through Ben’s connections at community radio station 3CR he paved the way for Stephen to share his poem live on their Brainwaves radio program in the lead up to Anzac Day this year. This radio program actively challenges mainstream, negative stereotypes of people living with mental illness.
Stephen took to the airwaves with preparedness, confidence and purpose, offering his poignant reflections to the world. Hearing Stephen reading his poem live on radio is heartfelt and incredibly moving (listen here).
For Stephen, this moment of being live on air, reading out his work marked the culmination of a personal journey of self-discovery and resilience. Candella’s recovery-oriented approach to mental health support provided the ground for Stephen’s growth, emphasising capacity building, independence and empowerment. It doesn’t end there, Ben is now supporting Stephen with his future goals, including envisioning a new project of creating a studio space—a sanctuary for people to come and connect, and create together. 
Stephen’s message is clear: no matter the obstacles, perseverance and support can light the path forward. His desire to inspire others echoes through his words and actions, urging everyone to keep pushing forward regardless of the challenges they face. 
 I’ve been fortunate in my life to have the support of my siblings, my mum and dad, and my workers. I believe people can reframe their weaknesses into strengths, everyone has potential it’s just a matter choosing to look towards it”.  
Stephen’s story serves as a reminder to all that amidst life’s twists and turns, having the right support is not just essential—it can really be transformative to achieving your dreams.  
Stephen’s story is one of many inspirational chapters in the lives of Candella clients.   
Candella’s team is comprised of skilled Wellbeing Facilitators, Support Coordinators, and Recovery Coaches who each bring unique perspectives and much lived experience to their roles. This diversity enriches our ability to best support individuals across Australia through face to face and virtual supports.
Candella’s approach focuses on: 
  • Putting clients and the centre 
  • Empowering people 
  • Building independence 
  • Working collaboratively 
Ode to Uncle Royce. 
Title-: ANZAC. 1915 
Ya ever been Outback? 
There’re so many stars, 
they can shine the way. 
Better than a hard slog through a stinkin’ hot day. 
We’d stay in the light and not the murk, where ya never know what might lurk. 
Anyway…it’s been far too long since I’ve slept under those stars as they really are, far past the black stump ‘n’ billabongs, where we’d ride the outback, gear ‘n’ bush-tucker in a green gunnysack. 

Way out; Back-o’-Bourke, coated with all that clinging red dust. 
Uncle Royce, a back-track 
an’ a heap o’ m’ trust. 
The deepest trust of my life, and so much more. 
Like with all that strife, when we went off to war. 
The Great-war was on, when we made a pact. 
Ten shillin’s a day, so we committed to act. 
We joined-up to not miss the fray. 
Baffled by it all…up to this very day. 
We were Light horsemen. 
Brand-new clobber; and bonza-cobbers from all over. Plenty of tucker, the whole kit’n’kaboodle, topped-off with ostrich plumed slouch-hats. 
Mateship, drills, duties and all about that. 
We could keep our own horses, or break-in a brumby, for the Imperial forces. 
New three-oh-three rifles on tight new tack. 
I shook Roy’s hand solemnly… sure we’d come back. 
When we were shipped from the rigours of Egypt. 
It never even crossed my mind, that we’d have to leave all our horses behind! 
I heard that all, but one, got shot, to “save“ them from their awful lot. 
I often grieve for those thousands, left in the dirt. 
And; o’ God, I still hurt… 
My oath! We were scared bloody shitless, takin’ on the Turk. 
Desperately, we nudged and scraped, gliding among the corpses, where the enemy’d done their work. 
We’d own a certain honour in going completely berserk. 
To die…I was never more sure. 
To die, in this hell-scape called war. 
Storming through that deathly hail of roaring horror and acrid pall. 
Diggers slump, falter or jerk as they fall. 
We know there’s just no way to turn on back. 
But far, far better than a frontal attack, was the hard-yakka of dirt and rock we’d hack. 
With the fervour of knowing we could go no further…except in faith. 
While the Turks picked us off and machine guns strafe. 
The order came-in, to “dig, dig, dig, ‘til you’re safe”. 
Frantically pulling oars with all our might. 
We’re betrayed by the coming daylight. 
We’d drifted to the wrong bloody beach! 
To find Johnny’s big-guns were …just out of reach. 
Not his damn machine guns though. 
The bloke right next to us, 
wed never get to know! 
I’d much rather be out; way out, past Back-o’-Bourke. 
Instead we set to work…against Johnny Turk. 
Six hundred ANZAC died within the first six minutes. 
Every wound had soultorn screams, a groan, or not even a whisper. 
We’d shown “All”, far past the ends of our limits…it seems. 
Lowering war-cloud ends all our dreams…and our lives maybe. 
I’ll just have to sit-tight and see. 
We were still at the water’s edge. 
Hiding behind some poor chap or under a low rocky ledge. 
Faced by a labyrinth of cliffs. 
Our whole world became what-ifs… 
That hot bloody war cost Johnny ten to one more. 
Even so, we lost a full sixth, the Kiwis and us. 
We ANZAC got hounded for every yard o’ ground. 
Upright into the teeth of lead ’n’ steel, shrapnel whining all around. 
We were fully wreathed in goredom . 
Bully-beef and boredom. Biscuits like stone! 
This would set our minds on home. 
Maybe pen a poem, so it’s known; that even in the toughest spot, we’re having a good day . 
“So, don’t worry my dearest, I’m doing my best to come back to you”.… some way… 
Every so often, we’d fire in the Turks general direction. 
To satisfy, Birdwood’s suggestion. 
We mainly wondered what we hit. 
But…we all did our damned little bit. 
As the “word”was passed. 
We knew it wasn’t a furphy, just as fast. 
So I left all my keep-sakes behind. 
My last will and testament , considered, witnessed, and signed. 
Faces pale, we run icy cold, as that dreaded order looms large. 
The reaper takes a tighter hold, 
“FIX BAYONETS”! For another deadly charge. 
As our sad Sergeant’s whistle sounded. 
We all cast about in doubts. 
Then out of our trenches we bounded. 
To storm the Turk redoubts. 
Claiming ground seems further we find. 
Raising a blood curdling roar, we bolt to their line. 
Running the gauntlet, with all we have to bid. 
Tripping or skipping over the debris that “no-mans-land” hid. 
Our battle cries die, as fast as we did… 
Their wide eyed terror, our storming waves fill. 
Bullets; like scythes, lay our cobbers out,still. 
They stay there; killed, as a matter of course. 
Hot blood spilled, but that wasn’t the worst. 
Holding our own, we struck in force. 
Cold steel clashes; flashing, as we cried-out and cursed. 
Hand-to-hand; in the gloom of covered trenches, spells the doom to all we wretches. 
Dark shot though with chaotic flailing, 
Killing for our lives, no Diggers’ sacrifice failing. 
Until gory hands are shown and weapons clatter down, shows the melee’s over, the outcome now known… 
Until the next time… 
After weeks, the Brass called a ceasefire! 
So we ripped putrid bits of mates off the barbed-wire. 
Most of us figure we’d all soon die. 
Not one of us knowing when, where…or why. 
But, Ol’Johnny’s not such a bad sort o’ bloke. 
Souls glow, as we shared a smoke and nods of, “I know”. 
We showed treasured photographs of loved ones and wives. 
To bury those who’d lost their lives. 
Less stench and swarming flies. 
But, still blood soaked beaches, and political lies. 
With cries of grief; and grim resolve, we went back to fight, with little belief in our goals. 
Corporal Beechie gave us a hope. 
He snapped his shaving mirror, took-up his rifle, ‘n’ fashioned a wood periscope. 
We made one each; just to be sure, to keep our heads, in the putrid trenches o’ war. 
Then we were down, low as we could get. 
Down…down beneath the parapet. 
On our push to Lone-Pine, 
which was as far as we got. 
Nothing was fine, we’d done our lot. 
But we had the last say. 
When we beat ‘em anyway. 
But…Uncle Royce, was curious to take a look. 
And that  break from cover, was all it took. 
“DON’T get up”! I Screamed up at Roy. “Get the hell DOWN”, as his face is destroyed in a shocked sort of frown. 
Roy flopped in my lap as a dead person lay. 
His gory tin-hat… I see every day. 
I had to leave Royce to his fate, 
with no drawn-out debate. 
I just couldn’t stop, as we went out “over the top”. 
After many months, it was finally time to slink-out. 
But Johnny’s all knowing. 
We needed Johnny Turk thinking we’re still about. 
But they just let us keep going. 
We all sneaked quietly away. 
So that all who had lived, could know another day. 
Dripping water set off each rifle-crack echoing throughout those few tense nights. 
With not a one of us lost to that ungraceful flight. 
We dropped all our gear, so’s not to dally about. 
We knew all about fear. 
There’d probably be a rout. 
When we’d gone…out of the gloom of dark, the hush of dawn, was all…kind of stark. 
After rehab. ‘n’ repat., we made it back. 
Made another matilda from a green gunnysack. 
All we had left was out on the tracks. 
We’d “had” war; so, time to relax. 
With Roy’s wound, he couldn’t sit a horse. 
So we roamed around by cart of course. 
Waltzing out under our star. 
Sure, we’d go slowly, but we’d get very far. 
Each April we visit a town. 
Where ANZAC is thick all around. 
Royce shows his disfigured face…still glowing. 
The withering ranks of ANZAC…keep going 
A lot of folk wonder, why, 
more and more, and ask me, “what’s it all for”? 
I answer, ”We show our broken shells, as our protest against all war. 
Never a celebration. 
Except for making it home. 
Always a solemn occasion, seeing longtime mates we’ve known”. 
So, they mostly shuffle quietly away. 
Not really knowing quite what to say. 
Then…before long; after the pub and Two-up, we’d move along to light up a billabong, with little care, laughter and song. 
Resting in the arms of peace, where nothing…seemed wrong … just a total release. 
Now I’m heading-off to Royce’s wake. 
He took his “own” life the other day. 
Roy’d finally had more than he could take. 
While I was gone, he took his own way. 
So…never forget what others ultimately gave. 
I can’t at all within this life. 
How many lives does taking life save? 
Remember us all, wracked with pain and strife. 
Lest we forget the price, or the debt. 
Or more of the same is what we’ll get. 

Author:- Stephen Andrew Thomas Hall 
DOB-:      17/01/1962. 
Died-:       Don’t rush me. 
Copyright 22/02/2022 


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