The soap queen tells us about her six decades of diaries and the 27 (and counting) items in her handbag in our weekly object interview.
If you’ve watched television at all in the last five decades, you’ve seen Belinda Giblin. Sons and Daughters, The Sullivans, and Heartbreak High are just a few of the masterpieces in which the soap star has appeared. She has played two different roles on Home and Away: Cynthia Ross in the early 1990s, and Martha Stewart, Alf’s long-presumed-dead wife, since 2018.
Giblin grew up in Tamworth in the 1950s, and after a year at the National Institute of Dramatic Art, he began performing in the 1970s (Nida). She’s still working today, preparing to star in the Griffin Theatre’s Ghosting the Party, which will be performed in Sydney from May 6 to June 11. It’s a bleak comedy in which Giblin portrays an 87-year-old woman who decides her time has come, forcing three generations of her family to confront their mortality.
Giblin has been a devoted keeper of journals since she was a youngster. She currently owns six decades’ worth, which she would race to save in the event of a fire. The actor explains why such “jottings” are such an important tool for self-reflection, as well as the narrative behind two other significant personal items.
What I’d save from my house in a fire
If I couldn’t save the journals, diaries, and scribbles I’ve kept for the past 60 years, dating back to high school, I’d be devastated.
They are a record of my life, ranging from family activities and musings about my childhood in Tamworth to my time at school, university (during the Vietnam War, moratorium marches, and hippiedom! ), and finally Nida. My career as an actor spans 50 years, beginning with radio drama and progressing to theatre, television, and film.
I also include comments about my marriage and childbirth experiences, my children and grandchildren, numerous trips abroad, my career as a corporate trainer and speechwriter, and my breast cancer experience, which occurred over 12 years ago (all excellent – the trick is to catch it early).
I go through them all now and then, impressing myself with how optimistic and self-assured I am.
My most useful object
Of course, it’s my handbag! I wouldn’t need a suitcase if I went abroad for a week.
It’s remarkable how much I can cram into that small space. My wallet, cards, keys, phone, four pairs of glasses, tissues, an umbrella, toothbrushes, toothpaste, a variety of masks, tablets, a variety of pens and pencils, a tape measure, hair clips, lipstick, perfume, a cut-out SMH cryptic crossword, a comb, a scarf, dozens of business cards, prescriptions, theatre tickets, a magnet, addresses of people I can’t remember, a mini screwdriver for broken glasses,
The item I most regret losing
My wonderful mother sewed all of the costumes for the several ballet concerts I did between the ages of five and seventeen, and I’ve stored them in a large dress-up box. My son and daughter used to dress up in them as kids, and now my grandchildren have discovered them as well — they’re great for school dress-up days.
Sadly, a beloved goblin costume seems to have disappeared.
After Christmas, my husband and I undertook a huge house decluttering and chucked half of our belongings into a skip, including, I believe, this goblin dress. I know it’s only a “thing,” but I’ve had it for over 60 years, and making it nearly brought my mother to tears!