How a Burnett cottage created new beginnings after tragedy
RAUKAWA Cottage, the place of healing, growth and new beginnings.
That's what Felicity Aitken likes to call it, using her South Burnett property as a safe-haven and opportunity to restart her life with her son Joshua.
"I moved up from Sydney about 18 months ago, and after experiencing the loss of my second son during childbirth at the hospital, I created Raukawa Cottage to give my life a new beginning, allowing light to shine out of the darkness. I wanted to start the cottage as a place of nurturing, of healing and of wellness for people,” she said.
"That's how it came about... From starting out as a horrific and traumatic experience, the cottage became a place of light, creativity, nurturing, healing and a place for personal growth.”
Raukawa Cottage has been an operating business for more than a year, selling products like candles, gift ware, lotions, body scrubs and woodwork, all made of natural products from the South Burnett.
However, despite the business operating, Ms Aitken said the actual cottage was currently not open to the public, as she had initially focused on telling a story.
"I've been telling my story of the city to country lifestyle, the foods lifestyle and products that I've been developing out of the cottage. We're holding a market on December 1 and that's the first ever event that we're holding at Raukawa,” she said.
"I'm looking forward one day to have people take a look around and see what it's all about, however my ultimate goal would be for Raukawa to be a wellness centre.
"What I would eventually like to do is have a licensed kitchen and create healing foods all from the land. That's the whole philosophy of it, I'm focusing on healing, nurturing health, environmental sustainability and recycling. We need to look after our bodies but also look after the land which gives us our life.”
The very first ever Raukawa markets will start on December 1 and will be held every three months.
"When I moved to the country, even though I felt that I was let down, I was able to experience the connectiveness and beauty of the community and met so many incredible people that I would not have normally have met,” she said.
"By putting these markets on, is not about me making money, it's actually about giving something back to the community, because they were there for me in a time when I needed it most.
"I was so supported by the local community and my church in my darkest times and with what I have which isn't much, I want to give back into this community and the people who helped me.”
Since experiencing her trauma, Ms Aitken is trying her best to help others in need.
"I'm still healing, and I'm far from on track. I can't work full-time and I can't do a lot of things any more, both because of physical and mental reasons, but for what I can do, I try my best to helps,” she said.
"Living up here, I guess I'm seeing things from a different way as my eyes have been opened to new things. I want people to come and visit the South Burnett, to see the scenery and realise how beautiful the region is.
"I want to give people the chance to be really grateful for what they have, because at any moment something could happen. It is about a circle of blessings and passing on what we have been blessed with and using our gift to encourage and support.”