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Jane Smith ‘spiritual mistress’


Zoe Satherley
13 March 2009
Her name is Jane Smith. Once she was pretty much like most people. She was the PA to the CEO of a company called IOU Solutions - a financial concern registered in the Cayman Islands.
She drove a 1974 Subaru and lived in an apartment next to the airport - and off the wrong end of the runway. Her place was tiny, yet somehow could still get pretty untidy. Maybe that was why she claims never to have had any friends.
Jane Smith is the nom de plume of Southern Cross University Bachelor of Arts graduand Belle Buttrose whose first book about her life experiences and insights has just been published by New Holland Publishers and will be launched this Sunday, March 15.

Formerly of Lismore and Byron Bay and now living in the Blue Mountains, Jane will graduate this year with a Writing double major.

“I didn’t have a boyfriend, but at weekends would go out to bars and haul back a man with all the personality of a clubbed seal,” Jane writes of herself. “In other words, I was in a mess and going nowhere.
“So I did what any sensible girl would. I maxed my credit card and took off overseas. I went to India to see if I could find out if I could find out what was missing.

“My life was saved when I entered the ashram of a great holy man called Kea. The key to Kea’s teaching was what he called ‘the inner shelf’... in his seven CD deluxe boxed set manifesto, titled I, Kea, he says if we properly organise the outer world in which we live, then our spiritual inner world will take care of itself - an unusually practical world-view for a guru, I think you’ll agree.”
Jane’s adventures in India as a self-confessed ‘spiritual mistress’ are catalogued in her new book, Finding the Shelf Within - Spiritual Development through Home Improvement, co-created with her partner in fiction, Larry Buttrose, a former Southern Cross University Creative Writing tutor and lecturer, and successful author.
Jane is not the only Southern Cross University writing student achieving success. Great results have also been chalked up by other past and present writing students and members of staff.

Undergraduates Sonia Borenstein, Craig Faulkner, Lin Foley and Margaret Heggen all had stories published in ‘The Weekender’ during the Northern Star’s short story summer competition. Craig Faulkner was a finalist.

Re-Placement, a recent anthology featuring the work of some of Australia’s top emerging creative writers, showcased the work of four Southern Cross University past and present writing students. They were Dr Nell Cook, Lainie Jones, Sally Goldstein, Dove Rengger-Thorpe and Mary-Ellen Stringer.

The executive editor was Writing course coordinator and senior lecturer Dr Janie Conway-Herron, with assistance from Writing lecturers Dr Moya Costello and Dr Victor Marsh.

Other Bachelor of Arts graduates and PhD students who have also enjoyed success as published writers include Dr Maria Simms, with The Dead House, Katherine Howell, with Frantic and Panic, Dove Rengger-Thorpe, who has three times won the lucrative USA-based international poetry competition, the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Poetry Prize and Jessica Cole, one of several Southern Cross University students to win a Varuna writer’s support residency to work on their novels with HarperCollins editors.

Jane Smith’s book is being launched by singer and cabaret artiste extraordinaire Max Sharam in the Blue Mountains this Sunday, March 15, at 2pm at Gleebooks in Collier’s Arcade, Govett’s Leap Rd, Blackheath.
Media and the general public are welcome to attend. Jane Smith is preparing a cosmic spread of Jatz, cheese cubes and piles of chocolate crackles for guests.

You can visit Jane’s blog at

Photo: Jane Smith, self-confessed ‘spiritual mistress’ and author of Finding the Shelf Within, which is being launched this Sunday, March 15, in the Blue Mountains.