By Melissa-Jane Pouliot
Ursula Dianne Barwick is a missing person. She would have turned 43 on August 14 this year. It is 26 years since we have seen her.
“Write About Me” is inspired by Ursula, who is my first cousin. She was born in Quirindi NSW on 14 August, 1970 and the daughter of Peter and Cheree (now deceased) Barwick. Ursula is the second name of my grandmother. Her middle name is after my mother, Cheree’s only sister, who said Ursula was the most placid, contented baby she had ever known. Mum said she never cried when she was a baby – ever.
Ursula was like a sister to me. We did everything together as children and into our teenage years. She taught me how to ride a pushbike and a motorbike. She taught me how to laugh until my cheeks and sides hurt. She taught me the words of songs such as Jessie’s Girl and Hot Chocolate and Dr Hook classics which I still remember today because we would sing them over and over and over again.
The last time I saw Ursula was in Quirindi when I was almost 15 and she was nearly 17. My memories of the months after she left her home town are vague, and dates and times aren’t clear.
What I have learnt since publishing “Write About Me” is that Ursula boarded a train at The Entrance to go to Sydney at around this time – new information that has come to light means we need to look into the exact dates. Police reports say it is August 14, 1987 but it is more likely early September. Family members put her on the train believing that she was going to stay with friends, set up a new life and get a job.
Ursula’s story does not end with Write About Me. I am currently working on my second novel.
- Write About Me (thewordmintmelissajane.wordpress.com)
- AFP endorses Write About Me
- Channel 9 Mornings TV Interview about Ursula and Write About Me