The Brushmen of the Bush – Jack Absalom

Brushmen of the Bush. Now here's a painting group that deserved their iconic name. In 1973 five artists met in Broken Hill, New South Wales  and started collaborating. The artists, comprising of Pro Hart, Eric Minchin, Jack Absalom, Hugh Schulz and John Pickup would change forever the perception of outback art both in Australia and abroad, ensuring [...]

Mustering money. The company property.

Mustering money. It’s a term that can only be applied in Australia. A place where once mighty sheep stations were forged in the outback by men with the ability to raise funds for their far-flung ventures. The majority of company properties (the AACo was established as a land development company in 1824) came into being [...]

South Australia & Goyder’s Line

Imagine having settled in a new country over one hundred and fifty years ago. You’ve been there for scarcely 30 years trying to carve out a business and home for your family. As a farmer you would need a good understanding about climate and growing conditions and if things turned pear-shaped due to flood, drought [...]

Waltzing Matilda – A shearer’s strike, a suicide & Banjo: How our unofficial national anthem came into being.

By the 1950s Australia ‘rode on the sheep’s back’. It was a phase that came to symbolise what it was to be Australian.  For a century, the wool industry had given Australia one of the highest living standards in the world and the economy rode high on wealth from primary exports. With the opening up [...]

Lightning Ridge – A town of contrasts

The name Lightning Ridge is said to have originated in the 1870's when the body of a grazier, his dog and 600 sheep were found, thought to have been struck by lightning. With such inauspicious beginnings, quirky seems a strange word to describe this north-west New South Wales town; yet this is a place where [...]

By | March 24th, 2019|Australian History, Outback Australia|0 Comments

The inspiration behind Stone Country

The duality of human nature lies at the heart of my new novel, Stone Country. What sets us apart from our friends and family? Why do we make certain choices during a lifetime? Ones that can just as easily mean our triumph or our downfall. Decisions that can affect not only oneself but also that [...]

Coochin Coochin Station

In February 1861 sixty Aboriginals attacked Coochin Coochin Station only to be repelled by the wife of the station owner L.E. Lester who wielded a revolver. A later inquiry heard that the Aboriginals had been angry over the loss of their native hunting grounds and it was also suggested that the homestead was too close [...]

By | November 9th, 2018|Australian pastoral history, Outback Australia|0 Comments

Orroral homestead

Orroral homestead - a snapshot of a fabulous old homestead: Stock stations in the Canberra district were established towards the end of 1824 and several years later pioneers settled in the mountain valleys west of the Murrumbidgee, beyond the limit of the 19 counties. William Herbert paid £10 for a pasturage licence in 1839 for [...]

The first Afghan cameleers.

Elder & Co. brought the first ‘Afghans’ (Afghan cameleers) to South Australia to help traverse the desert terrain and long distances. Thirty-one Afghans arrived on the the ship 'The Blackwell' at Port Augusta and on New Year’s Eve 1865 the waiting crowd of onlookers watched the remarkable sight of 124 camels being lifted and deposited [...]

How a cow and a calf led mobs of cattle across the Darling River.

“Wilcannia, city of wind and dust, Queen of the western plains; Where man works for his daily crust, And it seldom ever rains.”   (The Barrier Miner, Friday, November 3, 1939.) The Burke and Wills expedition is well known.  Burke’s impatience on reaching Cooper’s Creek on November 11, 1860 and the unfolding disaster that transpired became [...]

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