WhatsNew2Day
Latest News And Breaking Headlines

Adelaide weather presenter Melody Horrill opens up on abusive childhood and how dolphin saved her

A former weather presenter is candid about the moment she saw her father viciously attack her mother with a corkscrew and slit his own throat.

Melody Horrill, 55, an environmental journalist from Adelaide, has only now in her book A Dolphin Called Jock shared the heartbreaking story of how her childhood was riddled with domestic violence at the hands of her father.

She said her father showed up at her home in April 1986 after she and her mother tried to escape from him, after which he jumped at her and slammed the corkscrew in his wife’s face.

As she rushed to call the police, Mrs. Horrill saw her father pass a carving knife across his throat and fall into a pool of blood.

Ms Horrill became one of the best weather presenters on Channel 7, her calm facade concealing the years of trauma she had endured.

In her book, she credits the incredibly close bond she shared with Jock, a timid but playful dolphin living in Port River, as the only thing that allowed her to heal.

“The bond I forged with him destroyed the walls I had built around my heart. He taught me that my life should not be ruled by fear and mistrust,” she wrote in an excerpt from her book.

Former South Australian news presenter Melody Horrill (pictured) has revealed her dark upbringing, telling how a dolphin changed her life

Former South Australian news presenter Melody Horrill (pictured) has revealed her dark upbringing, telling how a dolphin changed her life

In an all-encompassing book, Ms. Horrill (pictured) has revealed how she overcame the trauma of her childhood to become one of the nation's top environmental journalists

In an all-encompassing book, Ms. Horrill (pictured) has revealed how she overcame the trauma of her childhood to become one of the country’s top environmental journalists

Mrs Horrill grew up in Adelaide with her brother, mother and father, with both siblings subjected to their father’s cruelty.

Police often visited the family home, with violent fights between Ms Horrill’s parents frequent.

‘Yes, it was difficult. But I think I realized I had to be brave,” she said The advertiser.

After a particularly horrific flare-up between the pair, her mother slipped out the front door and gave the future presenter a gift to remember her by — a scented handkerchief — in what appeared to be a final goodbye.

Then, days later, she returned home as if nothing had happened.

In her later childhood, Mrs. Horrill moved into a flat with her mother in an attempt to escape her father, but instead he stalked them, sometimes appearing in bizarre disguises.

Ms. Horrill was rescued by an unlikely companion who inspired years of deep environmental coverage (pictured)

Ms. Horrill was rescued by an unlikely companion who inspired years of deep environmental coverage (pictured)

The resilient host recalled in her book how she would be obsessed with the locks and looking out her windows at the street, all the while hiding behind her curtains.

Ms Horrill’s mother said she herself was obsessed with her ex-partner and moved from the flat to her new boyfriend on the advice of the police.

Young Mrs. Horrill was joined in the flat by a close friend, but the domestic violence came to a boil when Mrs. Horrill’s mother came to visit a few months later to drop off some laundry.

It was then that Mrs. Horrill’s father ambushed them, swinging the corkscrew at Mrs. Horrill’s mother, narrowly missing her eyes.

Authorities arrived and found the young woman crouched in a corner of her home, held back by fear and trauma.

Her father survived his own injuries and abused Ms. Horrill when she testified against him in court.

The case eventually ended in his imprisonment where he spent 18 months behind bars.

He was released from prison and six months later and just a week before Mrs. Horrill was due for her final high school exam, her father committed suicide at the family home.

“There was just a turning point in my life where I realized I had to drag myself out of these dark spots,” she said, adding that she was determined to finish her exams.

Through persistence and determination, Ms. Horrill went on to pursue a communications degree, majoring in psychology, but was traumatized by the experiences of her teenage years.

Her father’s voice telling her she would “never achieve anything” echoed in her mind.

Mrs. Horrill's story is laid out in its entirety in her now-released book - A Dolphin Called Jock

Mrs. Horrill’s story is laid out in its entirety in her now-released book – A Dolphin Called Jock

But a class with a psychology professor passionate about humans’ newfound connection to nature led her to research Port River dolphins and fall in love with the species.

A dolphin captured the heart of the future host, Jock – an animal scarred and mutilated from fishing equipment, and too scared to swim with the other dolphins in the main river.

Not only did he seem so physically damaged, but his behavior was so different, he seemed so lonely. It seemed so very sad and I felt this tremendous empathy for him and a connection with him,” she said.

In her book, Ms. Horrill writes how the mammal’s confidence “stunned her” and helped “fill a gaping hole in my heart.”

She and her professor Mike Bossley visited Jock during several three-year research projects, with the dolphin always happy to greet them.

Ms Horrill said she felt herself changed and healed from her time with the dolphins, and later co-founded the Australian Dolphin Research Foundation with Mr Bossley.

In her unfolding career, she found herself reflecting on her experiences with Jock, at one point a documentary about the Port River Dolphins picked up by Channel 10 nationally and CNN in the United States.

She admitted it was difficult to let go of the trauma from her past, but called the acceptance “of a dolphin and his friends” her “salvation.”

A Dolphin Called Jock by Melody Horrill is out now.

LIFELINE 13 11 14

1800RESPECT

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More