Kate Shelton grew up on a ‘self sufficent’ property in northern NSW, between Moree and Boggabilla. Primary education was correspondence school with governesses, then boarding
school in Sydney.
The heat, silent dusks, the flat landscape and isolated lifestyle, had profound influences on Kate as did the routine ‘labour’ of a family farm.
Rearing animals, mustering, being thrown off race horses, killing for meat, separating milk for
cream then butter, vegetable growing and preserving, water shortages and droughts, as well as food preparation for large groups was the only world she new in the pre- television era.
Poetry readings in the evening, tennis days, cricket matches between farming neighbours, picnic races provides a social life within the extended family and rural community.
The jarring change from this environment to a Sydney boarding school also had a strong impact on Kate.
Kate studied education after leaving school and spent many years teaching in both rural and
She also travelled, working with James Wolfenson (Chairman of the World Bank) in London,
attended Sir John Cass School of Art London, hitch-hiked from London to Greece and lived
on the Greek Island of Paros for 2 years. She then worked with community radio in Bellingen, NSW in the 70’s and 80’s.
She painted as a hobby with rural women, then attended the studio of John Davies and Ian Chapman in Sydney.
Kate gave up work in her late 30’s to attend the ANU Canberra School of Art then had a studio at Gorman House for several years after graduation.
After being head of the Art faculty at St Edmunds College for 10 years, Kate and her husband Paul bought Benedict House. Kate used some of the rooms as a studio and exhibited rural women’s jewellery. Through that process she became intrigued with the world of beads and began the bead business in 2004.
In 2009 the kitchen was installed downstairs and the café “The Refectory” opened. Kate now spends at least one day a week painting in her studio.
She has also written a cook book/memoirs called Love of a Laminex Table, An Australian Food Journey. The book was launched by Genevieve Jacobs on 12 November 2011.
It is available at Benedict House, and online at www.loveofalaminextable.com.au