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Meet Ingrid M. Smith
Author of Where the Waratahs Bloom


I have always loved writing: my first award for Creative Writing came when I was six years old. I had always wished to write a novel but somehow life always got in the way. As John Lennon’s Beautiful Boy song says, Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

During our years on the farm I managed to write Little Australian Pony Girl, a true story for children but always the wish to create a novel hovered above me. I used to dream about visiting libraries and seeing my novel on display. 

Like anything worth doing, Where the Waratahs Bloom was  a labour of blood, sweat and tears and not at all easy to write. It was inspired by my own daughter’s struggle with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and returning to those years was surprisingly traumatic. Reading back through all the medical reports and my own notes at times reduced me to tears. Did we really live through those incredible years?

I greatly appreciate the help and guidance of Helen Iles at Linellen Press in the bringing of this novel to publication. It was a very steep learning curve for me and I have gained much knowledge.

Having written one novel I cannot possibly leave it there so the second one is currently underway.


North of Lithgow, New South Wales, on the edge of the Great Divide lies Cheshunt, a vast property where the rare and glorious waratahs grow. Home to the Richards family since 1905, Max is restoring Cheshunt to its former glory.

It is now the 1990s, and the family are keen and active competitors, showing their precious Morgan horses, when Stella, Max’s daughter, is suddenly stricken with an illness that does not respond to treatment. The long hours in the saddle, the days working with the stock and training for the hunter classes become a thing of the past for Stella and her mother, Kirsty.

The journey begins to find a cure. But months turn into years...

Then the family is told Stella will never walk again.

While life at Cheshunt must go on, the Richards family face their troubles with the true courage and dignity of the pioneers from which they descended.


Where the Waratahs Bloom is available through Amazon,

other online bookstores and selected book shops.





From Frances Richardson, Midland, Western Australia

The first thing I would like to say about Where the Waratahs Bloom is that I did not want it to end.  Ingrid M. Smith’s novel is about many things but at the core is a family beset by an illness, which offers many challenges, both physical and psychological. 

Around this family, Where the Waratahs Bloom weaves a story about the farm, Cheshunt, its history contrasting this with farming in the late 20th century.  I particularly liked how Cheshunt was central and involved many other lives, those of extended family and those whose lives it touched.

This is an Australian story, of people living in the bush, their loves, hopes, frustrations, and accomplishments through adversity. And, of course, Waratahs.  I thoroughly recommend it.

From Judith Frenda, Gymea Bay, Sydney

I’ve just finished reading it over three days and I really loved it. I found it to be a real ‘page turner’ and I was anxious to reach the end to see the outcome of Stella’s illness. The book incorporated other smaller stories about people like Sean Stevens, interweaving the dominant one about the impact of Stella’s illness on herself and her  family. Family history as well provided an interesting background to the main characters. The characterisation of each person (and their reactions) was spot on and reveals the author’s power of observation in real life. It is a well structured novel, its beginning tying in so well with its conclusion. There was also some humour which always appeals to me. The payment of the outstanding fees after the intrusion of the eavesdropper was hilarious.  You have a handle on describing people’s emotions, particularly a mother’s reactions to a suffering child. I said to daughter Kate, ‘I wish I could write like Ingrid.’  I love books which are educative and that applies to ‘Where the Waratahs Bloom.’

From  M. Macauley, Canterbury, Sydney.

This book is a revelation! I never dreamed that small kids could have rheumatoid arthritis. It’s true, isn’t it? It must be. It is so Australian. Just love the detail of the bush life.

From Christine Sargeant of Mount Colah in Sydney:

I am loving your book and resent having to put it down! (We have to eat I suppose) I have so many friends who would love it too.

My book club book is The Handmaids Tale - I just can't bring myself to read it. Your book is so much more uplifting. I have tried growing Waratahs with no success. Now I understand why.
Are you going to write a sequel to Stella's story?

From Deborah McCarthy, Sydney.

I love your book, Ingrid. It is so well written. I just can’t put it down. I can relate to the characters so well. They are so real.

 From Tony Stevens, Sydney

Highly captivating story, obviously a real life scenario. Excellent characterisation. This lady can write!!

 From Brian Thorp of Canberra

I've always admired your equitational achievements of course but didn't know of your literary ones. Well done you. I shall now think of you as the Colleen McCullough of Dalmeny.

From Lyn White, Australind, Western Austraila

Congratulations on your beautifully written and presented novel, Ingrid!  I was completely engrossed, not only by the anguish and frustration expressed through the years of your daughter's mysterious illness, but also your knowledge of, and involvement with horses; all of which is enriched by your obvious love for the environment in which the story takes place. 








13th July 2022