Free to run around in the dirt barefoot, she would spend hours exploring, fossicking for treasure in old mines. There was one problem though. The town was over run with cane toads! Not the most endearing little creature. And on one typically hot evening, the young Belinda had a close encounter that left it's mark.
On a sleepover at her best friends house, she recalls, clearly still disgusted, waking up in the middle of the night, only to find a huge toad sitting right on her bed, 'I screamed with fright and had to call my Mum to get me straight away. I still have a fear of them now!' She says with a shudder.
Though the threat of errant toads is safely behind her, Belinda holds closely a part of Sapphire with much deeper meaning. Her Mum struck lucky one day and uncovered a beautiful sapphire gem, which was eventually given to Belinda's now husband to be cut for her engagement ring. She wears it proudly.
Belinda's time in Queensland was an extended stay of just one part of an Australia wide adventure that she took with her Mum. They hit the road when Belinda was very young and saw most of the country.
Born in Sydney and living in places like, The Gemfields, Cowra, Gloucester and Newcastle, most of Belinda's family originally come from Armidale. They are Anaiwan mob and though she knows her family roots are there, she is just discovering that side of her history and culture. Working with her Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peers at NITV has helped her to identify more with her own Aboriginality. Belinda says:
'It's been a wonderful pathway for me to not only do what I want to do for a living, but also get more connected with who I am and what it all means, and that has been the biggest gift for me.'
Belinda took up a Drama/English arts degree at Newcastle University, and part way in to her studies, picked Film as a side subject. 'I was blown away by all the films and directors I was introduced to. To me, film represented life. It was sociology, philosophy and psychology all in one.' She says. She immediately changed her major to film studies.
Once her film degree was finished, Belinda decided that she was in need of practical skills and enrolled in EORA Tafe, a creative college that focuses on nurturing the education of Indigenous students. Belinda made many wonderful connections there and it was during one of their major assignments, writing and directing a short film that she discovered her true calling. Editing. 'When we got to the editing part, I thought - hey I really like this! Being able to cut things up and put them back together. My passion grew from there.' She says.
After spending her first few years at NITV as a production runner, dubbing, labelling tapes and working as part of the crew, she now feels that she is in her ideal role, stretching her creative wings and developing her passion as a promo producer. 'I'm skewing myself more to the creative side which is where I want to be. It's exciting!'
When she needs to refuel and gain some perspective from the art and craft of editing, you might find Belinda zening out with her headphones on. Most likely with some 90's rock. 'Smashing Pumpkins are my favourite. I've seen them in concert 9 times. It's not the end of the weekend until I've listened to a song or two.' She giggles.
You might also find her with a Beat Generation book of poetry and vignettes. 'I like the randomness of their style.' She explains. 'Especially Burroughs Naked Lunch has been a favourite of mine - I love that you can pick it up at any page and there is just a crazy randomness about it.'
What makes her truly happy though, is her family and her work.
'I often pinch myself and think I actually get paid to do this…to talk about ideas, movies, and film. And to learn about Indigenous culture - it is really awesome.'
She continues 'I don’t think I've worked anywhere else where people care so much about their work and put thought into every email, script or edit that goes out. With so much passion behind it. NITV is about keeping the culture alive and breaking down stereotypes and I'm so glad to be a part of it.'