Rhonda Valentine Dixon
Rhonda Valentine Dixon is an ardent proponent of social justice and much of her writing chronicles the human condition. Her desire is to highlight injustice, promote tolerance and celebrate achievements.
She enjoys researching family history. When she investigates the families of others, she advises clients that they should be aware that sad or shocking stories may be revealed. We all have them. Whatever emerges, Rhonda suggests, such stories need not define us, neither the descendant nor the ancestor who experienced the distressing or scandalous event.
Rhonda explains that dire circumstances often generate family tragedy or crime. For example, many 19th Century Irish women committed larceny or arson with the specific intention of attracting transportation to the colonies. They knew that the crimes they committed would ensure they’d be consigned to a land with prospects whereas their homeland, gripped by famine and an unjust system, was greatly lacking. Once they’d completed their sentences many flourished as upstanding citizens.
Rhonda completed a Diploma of Family History at the University of Tasmania. She writes short stories, often based on her own family history, that illustrate the norms, expectations, and injustices of the past. She believes that to know these stories is important to understand where we come from. We can learn lessons from our predecessors – and emulate admirable traits.
Rhonda holds a BA (Hons) from Griffith University. Her thesis, The Transformative Effects of the Steam Locomotive in English Literature, combines two of her passions, literature, and steam engines. New Zealand’s railway frequently features in her stories.
She has also co-written two books on assisting children with Autism Spectrum Disorders to communicate more effectively. A third book, yet to be published, will benefit ASD teenagers. Both she and her co-author are mothers of ASD sons.
Rhonda has published a children’s picture book which features an elderly lady, Elské, who loses a bamboo cane. The cane has two uses, one to wield in Tai Chi and the other to perpetuate a family tradition established over sixty years ago. This is the story of an inspiring lady who, at the time of writing, was 95. Elské is 99 now and still practising Tai Chi every week.
In 2018 Rhonda participated in an author expo which segued into the writing of the compilation book Get Known Be Seen – How to Write Your Book and Leverage It. Each author’s story is documented as a chapter. She has also contributed a composition to a New Zealand publication For Those Who Lie Beneath. This story documents the tragic death of an ancestor buried in a Gisborne cemetery.
Rhonda has written for two local ‘what’s on in our region’ publications and is currently writing the biography of the childhood of two sisters, now in their seventies, who grew up in a Melbourne orphanage in the 1950s.