The Last Station
Well, here it is at last. My eleventh novel. Out March 1st. It took some wrangling to get this one into shape. The initial concept came to me some years ago, having decided upon the Darling River as the touchstone for the work. A river that is vital, changeable, and ultimately unreliable for those depending on its flow emphasized the eccentricities of the Dalhunty’s, once a grazing dynasty of immense wealth and power, now finding themselves on the brink of poverty.
Land resumptions, flood, drought and unusual decision-making on the part of the patriarch, eccentric Ben Dalhunty who has a penchant for chickens and wearing his ancestors hand-me downs has placed the family in an unviable position. How on earth will they survive? And what will Julian, son and heir do? Especially when his mother invites a streetwise young man, Ethan Harris, into their home, fracturing their lives even more.
The Last Station is set in western NSW on the Darling near Bourke in 1909. The Darling is of course, part of the Murray-Darling waterway that has been the subject of more arguments, state border spats, Royal commissions, breakups and Think Tanks than an episode of the Crown.
Back in 1909 there was little talk of salinity, erosion, blue-green algal blooms, and invasive species. The main conversation along the Darling was whether the river was running, by how much, and could a shallow-draft paddle-steamer make it from A to B. A might be Bourke. B might be South Australia. River trade was once a vital industry but by 1909 it too was fading