Andrea Nield will address the Paterson Historical Society about her overseas adventures. From the flood-ravaged backyards of Singleton to the devastation of war-torn Kabul, Andrea Nield has seen it all.

As the force behind pro bono organisation Emergency Architects Australia, Ms Nield is aware of the desperation facing those across the globe.

Ms Nield will share her story – From Singleton to Kabul and Back – during a talk next month for the Paterson Historical Society.

“I grew up in Singleton and went to study architecture in Sydney and I’ve been working in hospital design ever since,” Ms Nield, who shares her time between Paterson and Sydney, said.

But in 2003 Ms Nield travelled to Afghanistan and her fate was sealed.

“I went to try to find a site for a women’s and children’s hospital and when I came back I decided that I’d had enough of working on hospitals in Australia,” she said. “I wanted to do this sort of emergency work and do something that would make a huge difference to people’s lives.”

Since then Ms Nield has worked in the Solomon Islands, Samoa, the Cook Islands and in 2004 she travelled to Aceh following the devastation of the Indian Ocean earthquake.

But Ms Nield heralds Maitland’s 1955 flood as the main catalyst for her vocation.

“My parents lost everything in that flood,” she said.

“They were living in a garage at the time and we survived and I think, in some ways, that stayed with me for a long time and I’m sure there are a lot of people in Maitland who still have those feelings.

“Something like that produces a lot of resilience and it forces communities to come together in way they wouldn’t otherwise and I think that’s what I’m drawn too.”

n Andrea Nield will address the Paterson Historical Society on Thursday, August 2, at the Paterson Courthouse Museum starting at 7.30pm. Read more about her story in Wednesday’s edition of the Maitland Mercury.

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