was successfully added to your cart.


Birth & Death
The Home Ground Advantage

Saturday 18 June, 9:30am-1:30pm


Home – it’s been described as the abiding place of our affections. Home is where the heart is. We are delighted to bring you an incredible group of health practitioners, thought leaders and innovators – each with their own intimate experiences of home – and what happens when we bring people together at home for two of life’s most profound events, birth and death.

Home is the place where we feel like we most belong. It is the preferred place for most of us to die (73%), and stories and statistics of home birth tell us it could be the more optimal place to birth (where other risk factors are not involved).  So why do the majority of us die in hospitals, even with a terminal diagnosis despite our preferences? And why is home birth considered to be the domain of hippies and crazy, irresponsible people when in the UK for example, it is a clear option in the National Health Service (NHS) for all women?

“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” Maya Angelou

The purpose of this event is to bring diversity of expertise, experience, science, interpretation, evidence, story and culture to bear on the theme of home, in birth and death.  We will explore the political, the economic imperatives around birth and death and why we became so heavily medicalised around these two events.

The stories of birth and death have a common thread. That a deep presence and awe arises in us, when we can be at home at a birth, or with our dying loved ones. Time stands still. It is a peak experience. Nothing else matters, and we see into the fullness of life’s circle, its beginnings and endings.  “Home facilitates this seeing. There is an art to birth, and an art to dying. The world’s oldest cultures and traditions have shown us this. But like with anything truly awe-inspiring, there is a science to home also, and the evidence base suggests it is not only where the heart is, it is where we can reduce pain and anxiety, and instead open to release and acceptance, where the physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual and social benefits are abundant”.

During this four-hour event, you will:

  • Hear the diverse voices of our guest speakers, as they each take to the stage to tell their story and share some of their expertise one by one
  • Experience the merging of some common themes when home is the focus of conversation around birth and death
  • Learn the facts and science behind the benefits of birthing and dying in the home environment
  • Hear the stories of people who have cared for dying loved ones at home and women who have birthed their babies at home
  • Have the opportunity to share your voice and stories, following a panel discussion where questions and comments from the audience will be encouraged and facilitated
  • Meet like-minded curious folk



Dr Brennan WebsiteDr Brennan is a Palliative Care Physician based in Sydney. He is currently working in two main areas of Palliative Care – Renal Disease and Motor Neurone Disease. He is also a lawyer. He has an interest in the interface of Palliative Medicine, the humanities and the law. [show_more more=”show more” less=”show less” color=”#ff4dbe”]

He has written extensively on the concept of pain management and Palliative Care as human rights. Frank worked for the Aboriginal Medical Service in Redfern, as a paediatrician in South Africa, and for the Sacred Heart Hospice before specialising in palliative care.  He has worked in Australia and Ireland.

Inspired by his time in Ireland and the story telling tradition there, he began to write narratives of encounters with patients and their families that had moved, challenged or humbled him. He has published a series of narratives drawn from his work (Standing on the Platform).  Several of these narratives have been broadcast on ABC Radio. [/show_more]

Sheryl Sidery_WebsiteSheryl Sidery has been a practicing midwife for 30 years. 25 of those years were at the Royal Hospital for Women, in Sydney. In her time as a midwife she has been the attending midwife at 400 Home Births and approximately 1500 births in the Birth Centre at the Royal Hospital for Women.[show_more more=”show more” less=”show less” color=”#ff4dbe”]

In her time at the Royal she has provided primary health care as a midwife in the Birth Centre – supporting women who choose physiological birth.

For 8 years she worked as the perinatal midwifery consultant. Her last role was working in midwifery group practice – providing caseload model of midwifery. She is passionate about natural birth and its importance in the transition to parenthood.

She has combined her hospital role with private midwifery practice – supporting women who choose homebirth, and who want continuity of midwifery care, whilst mothering her 4 inspirational children.

Sheryl teaches midwifery students at UTS in Sydney and for the past 5 years Sheryl has concentrated on teaching and on her private practice.[/show_more]

Noonan BWKerrie Noonan founded The Groundswell Project in 2010 and has been working on initiating our projects and partnerships. With interests in health promotion, capacity building, social media, creativity and innovation Kerrie is passionate about the role that the arts can play in facilitating social and cultural change about death and dying.[show_more more=”show more” less=”show less” color=”#ff4dbe”]

Kerrie has worked in community development, as a social researcher, clinical psychologist in palliative care, health and community settings. In 2001 she co-wrote a booklet for caregivers who are supporting children bereaved by suicide. This text is still in use today and has been adapted for inclusion in other publications in both Australia and overseas.

Kerrie is a fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs and a PhD Candidate at the University of Western Sydney. You can watch Kerrie present at TEDxSydney and read her articles 10 Facts about death everyone should know and Talking about Death with Children: Lessons from Sesame Street.[/show_more]

Sarah BWDr Sarah Buckley is a NZ-trained GP, with training in GP obstetrics, and author of the internationally best-selling book Gentle Birth. Gentle Mothering, (Celestial Arts/Penguin Random House, 2009). Sarah is also mother of four home children, all naturally born and raised, now in their teen years and beyond. [show_more more=”show more” less=”show less” color=”#ff4dbe”]She currently combines mothering with her work as a writer and lecturer on pregnancy, birth and parenting.

Sarah has a special interest in hormonal physiology and is the author of the scientific report Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing, published in January 2015 by Childbirth Connection, now a program of the National Partnership for Women and Families, with support from DONA International and Lamaze International. This report has been described as “…one of the most revolutionary and influential publications on maternity and newborn care ever issued.”

Sarah is committed to the best possible outcomes for mothers, babies, fathers and families in relation to hormonal physiology in childbearing and is currently also pursuing a PhD at the University of Queensland on this topic.

For more about Sarah and her work see www.sarahbuckley.com and her membership website www.gentlenaturalbirth.com [/show_more]

Michael Barbato WebsiteMichael Barbato has been in medical practice for more than 40 years and has been a palliative care physician for over 20 years. During this time he has directed several palliative care services within NSW and the ACT. [show_more more=”show more” less=”show less” color=”#ff4dbe”] He has held the positions of Medical Director at the Sacred Heart Hospice, Darlinghurst, NSW and the Palliative Care Unit at St Joseph’s Hospital, Auburn, NSW and was Director of Palliative Care for the ACT Canberra.

He retired in late 2008 and now runs courses on Death and Dying for professional and community groups and continues hands on palliative care with locum work in remote parts of Australia. He has a long-standing interest in unusual experiences around the time of death.

“Dying, more than any other life event, presents us with the opportunity to grow, to change, to love, to appreciate and ultimately to experience the meaning of our existence. Our death is the completion of our life’s mission. The setting sun may have lost much of its early brightness but this has unexpected rewards for it can, often for the first time, be clearly seen. It seems paradoxical, but truth and the mystery of ‘Who am I?’ are revealed in the final moments of our life.”
– excerpt from “Reflections Of A Setting Sun” [/show_more]

Shea_WebsiteShea Caplice has been a practising midwife for over thirty years, most of which has been as a privately practising Midwife attending births at home. In addition Shea has extensive experience in developing and implementing a variety of midwifery models of care including Birth Centres and Team Midwifery. [show_more more=”show more” less=”show less” color=”#ff4dbe”]

Shea was the Project Coordinator for the first publicly funded Homebirth Service in NSW, Australia at St George Hospital, Sydney. She is also currently the Clinical Midwifery Consultant for the Royal Hospital for Women Malabar Community Midwifery Link Service in Sydney. The Malabar service is an award winning service providing continuity in midwifery care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, another first for NSW.

For the past ten-fifteen years Shea has been drawn to the world of film making and has completed many videos used in the education of women, midwives, doctors and other allied health professionals. Films include the popular: What is a Midwife?, Waving Not Drowning, With A Voice (stories from survivors of sexual abuse) and the best seller The Art of Birth (waterbirth). Hannah’s Story is a moving personal account of one woman’s perinatal loss and the film entitled Men and Grief is about perinatal loss from the father’s perspective. Poignant stories.

Shea is an experienced and down to earth facilitator with a strong passion for birth as a significant and meaningful life event.[/show_more]


Details for Saturday 18th June 

9:00am Doors Open
9:30am Event Begins
11:00am Break for Morning Tea
1:30pm Event Completion

Super Saver $80.00 (Available until May 31st)
Saver $95 (June 1st – June 10th)
Non-Saver $110.00 (June 11th – June 18th)

All rates incl GST and incur additional BF

Aura Creative
7 Hudson Street
NSW 2016 Australia

“People are hungry. They are hungry for ideas, innovation, knowledge, motivation, personal growth, an edge, inspiration, aspiration, learning, love, connection, art, and a better world. Our events & experiences feed and nourish the hungry ones”.

Mel Greblo, Founder & MD, Talking Sticks


Share this

Latest from the Blog

Follow Us on Social Media

Get in touch

Contact Details

Email Talking Sticks
PO Box 89
Avalon NSW 2107