Conversations about Death and Dying

Bring an open mind and an open heart to a day of conversation about dying and death. Industry experts share their experience and knowledge in understanding the spectrum of emotions and situations from wellness through illness, palliative care, sudden or traumatic death, dying, and bereavement and grief. This day, imbued with a gentle dose of humour, covers the legal, practical, realistic, emotional and sacred choices we can make about life and death.

Ticket price includes all talks and lunch.

Thank you to our supporters : The Constant Reader Bookshop, Olive and Moss, Picaluna Funerals, HammondCare

*Please note there is an error in the North Sydney Arts & Culture guide listing for this event. Cost of the event is $90 as advertised on this website not $35 as published in the Guide.

Guest Speaker: Maryanne Larkin

Maryanne Larkin is a passionate supporter of Charlie Teo and his brave approach to surgery and brain cancer research. Maryanne is the wife of Gavin Larkin founder of RUOK? An organisation committed to promoting connection to prevent suicide. In 2010 Gavin and their son Gus were both diagnosed with cancer in the space of one month. The family went on to undergo months of treatments and surgery whilst Gavin continued his work on RUOK. In 2011 Gavin lost his battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Two years later Maryanne lost their son Gus to brain cancer. Along with Josie (17yrs) and Van (12) Maryanne continues to support brain cancer research as she would love to envisage a world where no child ever has to go through what her son Gus endured. The family story can be viewed on the ABC’s Australian Story- Beyond RUOK.

Guest Speaker: Michael Barbato

Michael entered Palliative Care in 1989 following 17 years as a General Physician in rural NSW. He retired from clinical practice in 2014 and is now doing research into the experience of unconsciousness in dying patients. Michael has directed palliative care services in NSW and the ACT, did regular locum work for the Northern Territory Palliative Care Service and has done voluntary work for a Cambodian NGO that served the sick and dying. He has a long-standing interest in death literacy and non-ordinary states of consciousness, including end-of-life dreams and visions. He is the author of 3 books, Caring for the Living and the Dying, Reflections of a Setting Sun and Midwifing Death and has completed one unit of Pastoral Care training. For the past five years he and his wife Ann have run a correspondence course for members of the community and healthcare workers on the art of midwifing death. Ann and Michael have four adult children and four grandchildren. His interest include living sustainably, walking, swimming, table tennis, mushroom forays, tending his bonsais and growing vegetables.

Guest Speaker: Chris Basten (M.Psychol; Ph.D.)

Chris Basten is a Clinical Psychologist with particular interests in health psychology, adjustment to illness and injury and cognitive behaviour therapy. After receiving degrees in psychology from the University of NSW then University of Sydney, he worked for 15 years at Westmead Hospital in consultation-liaison psychiatry. While there, he regularly worked with people in the cancer, palliative care and trauma wards. For the 10 years since then he has focused on his own practice and on training other health professionals. He has casual lecturer roles at a number of universities and honorary appointments with Macquarie University and the University of Technology Sydney.  

Facilitator: Margaret Rice

Margaret is a journalist by training and lives in Sydney, Australia. She has written news and features and worked as a sub-editor for Australian Associated Press (AAP), as medical writer for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian, and as feature writer for The Good Weekend. Her blog is designed to help start the conversation about death. Margaret’s book A Good Death, A compassionate and practical guide to the end of life will be released by Murdoch Books in May 2019. “Brilliant. Comprehensive, practical, sympathetic but honest and beautifully written. I loved it” - Ken Hillman, Professor of Intensive Care, UNSW and author of A Good Life to the End.

Guest Speaker: Kathryn Breusch

Funeral Director and Celebrant.