Thursday, 14 June 2018

Why Would You Pay $22,000 For a Dog?

G’Day Mob,

There’s been plenty of news and raised eyebrows this week about a kelpie named Glencairn Seven who was sold for $22,000 at the annual Casterton Kelpie Muster. Who, in their right mind, would pay that amount of money for a farm dog? Well, after my experience this morning perhaps the question should be: why not?

Monday, 14 May 2018

Stories Behind the Stories

G’Day Mob,

Hopefully by now you’ve all had a chance to pick up a copy of the latest edition of R.M. Williams Outback magazine and seen a couple of stories penned by yours truly on Bourke, at one dry extreme, and Cairns, at the other very wet extreme. But what happens behind the scenes on these stories? What happened out there that I haven’t shared with Outback readers? What led to photos like this ?

And why was I chased down and tormented by blood-suckers? Want the stories behind the stories? Read on.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Celebrating Rural Women

G’Day Mob,

Last month I was honoured to speak to a group of ladies in Injune on International Women’s Day. They wanted to know a little of how I came to be in front of them so they heard stories from the deserts of Western Australia to the Tasman Sea off Eden in southern New South Wales.; and heard of our gypsy lifestyle that has seen me work as a geologist, a deckhand, a bookkeeper, a grazier, an opal miner and a writer/photographer. It’s been a  bit of a ride.

But I want to talk about the women who inspire me. I culled a long list down to six, which was no easy task, and all of these women are from the bush. Let’s meet them:

Two female geologists (Steph and Mandy) living the dream in the Western Australian deserts in the mid 1990s

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Playing with (Painted) Cows

G’Day Mob,

Every now and again it’s good to step outside your comfort zone and see how the other half live; so recently I headed to the bright city lights of Sydney. There are lots of people there. And noise. And the dam is a bit bigger than ours …

But some things don’t change. I still got to play with cows.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Rain and Other Gifts

G’Day Mob,

There’s nothing quite like the prediction of rain after an extended dry spell to get farmers hopping. Fencing, put off for weeks, is hurriedly done – because it’s going to rain. Firewood boxes are topped up and washing done – because it’s going to rain. Water tanks are emptied and cleaned and the residents are relocated -

because it’s going to rain. And then, when the jobs are done and the skies are still blue, a restless anticipation sets in.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

My Life as a Pit Pony

G’Day Mob,

One of the things I love about this writing caper is the interesting people you meet and places you find, which in turn tends to shunt your life in the most amazing directions.

Three years ago I was asked to write a story on the Australian Opal Centre in Lightning Ridge for R.M Williams Outback. Last month I found myself 18m underground shovelling dirt into a wheel barrow. Seems B and I have become opal miners and I have the role of pit pony.

How the hell did that happen?

Thursday, 31 August 2017

The Coming of the Camels

G’Day Mob,

Nigel, Sheeba, Frank, Ralph and Bubba arrived on our cattle property this year. Only they are not cows. They are camels.

It was Friday the 13th, it was a full moon and, to prove we’re not always certifiably sane, my better half decided it was a smart idea to add camels to the farm stock.

Why, you ask?