HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS

Ed­wina Bart­hole­mew is glad to be off the road and ready to set­tle down, writes Shan­non Mol­loy

Herald Sun - Switched On - - COVER STORY -

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.

ED­WINA BARTHOLOMEW

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).

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