HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
Edwina Bartholemew is glad to be off the road and ready to settle down, writes Shannon Molloy
The notion of home has always been a somewhat foreign concept for Edwina Bartholomew.
From a young age, the Sunrise presenter moved often with her family — her dad’s job with BHP taking them to Japan when she was nine and to Malaysia a few years later.
In her teens, it was back to Sydney for boarding school, then to Bathurst for university.
“We don’t have the childhood home with our rooms maintained in memorial,” Bartholomew says.
“There’s no home town, I suppose. Home is just where the family happens to be and at the moment they’re in Sydney. So Sydney is my home.”
But the 32-year-old journalist hasn’t been there much lately. For the past three years, she’s been on the road for Seven’s breakfast show, presenting the weather from almost every dot on the map.
It was a whirlwind experience that saw her in fivestar hotels one day and roadside motels the next.
There were quirky regional towns she’d never heard of, followed by camping in the outback. She met thousands of people, had countless new experiences and ticked off most of her bucket list.
It was the most incredible and personally taxing thing Bartholomew has ever done.
“When I took it, I said a year tops,” she recalls.
“Then I said two years and that I couldn’t do any more than that. And it ended up being three years.
“I probably could’ve kept going, to be honest. It was me and four mates (the crew) travelling the country, getting up in the morning to do a bit of telly and then heading off again on an adventure. It was just amazing. But I’d done everything I wanted to do and been to every place I wanted to go. Trust me — I squeezed every single experience, joy and wonder out of that job. It was time to come home.”
There’s been plenty of speculation about her reasons for coming off the road and into the studio.
More than a few viewers emailed or made comments on social media asking her if she’s pregnant.
“It’s so funny,” Bartholomew says of the speculation.
“But no, don’t be fooled by the loose-fitting clothes. I just love a shift dress.
“I think Neil and I will do it in the traditional sense — get married and then have kids. It’s certainly something we’ve discussed and would love to do.”
Neil Varcoe is her partner of five years, who she describes as “incredibly patient” and her biggest supporter.
“I started (on air) at Sunrise pretty much around the time I met Neil.
“I was the Sydney correspondent, which involved a bit of travel. So the whole time we’ve been together, it’s been early mornings and bags packed ready to rush out the door,” she says.
(Her new Sunrise duties don’t preclude Bartholomew from travelling however, as her recent foray to the Oscars — and the ensuing hilarious #Vajayjaygate dress story demonstrates.)
Despite her chaotic breakfast television schedule, Bartholomew has also cohosted Dancing with the Stars for the past couple of years.
Her relationship with Varcoe has largely been shaped by a carefully co- ordinated schedule, to make the most of their precious time together.
“I’d leave on a Sunday morning and be gone until Friday night, when I’d get back and just collapse. We had one full day together on a Saturday, before the whole routine began again. That was a big part of it. I thought it was only fair on him too that I come home.”
To celebrate a new kind of normal, which joyfully includes weekends together, the pair has just bought a “country home”.
“You know you’ve made it when you have a country home,” Bartholomew jokes.
The modest farm house is just outside Lithgow, where Varcoe grew up.
It’ll be the project they tackle together as part of their “new kind of normal”.
“Basically I just want to be in Country Style magazine,” she laughs.
“That’s my mission in life. And at our house, I’ve reached my quota of throw cushions and blankets with Neil.”
While she’ll relish the extra downtime her new role brings, Bartholomew has no plans of slowing down.
“My real passion is telling stories — quirky, interesting, character-driven stories. And my boss (Michael Pell) has told me if I go off and find them, he’ll air them.
“To be able to find stories that I’m passionate about is pretty amazing. To be able to say that I think something is a good story worth telling and have people listen is an honour,” she says.
SUNRISE, SEVEN, MONDAY TO FRIDAY FROM 5.30AM
Sunrise presenter Edwina Bartholomew is happy to be back in one place with her partner Neil Varcoe (right).