Peter and Kelsey Dalton bought Ridgeview Stations some five years ago, in spite of their friends thinking they had run mad, leaving the fertile lands of the coast for the dry, unforgiving nature of the outback. Lucky for then they had had good rains over the time and this year, were looking forward to a good muster, some money in the bank and bit over to be able to replace some much needed equipment.
Deciding they need a bit of extra help, they approach a neighbouring grazier who has a hand looking for a new position. Alexi comes with a glowing recommendation, duly arriving at Ridgeview Station, except that Alexi is not at all what is expected much to the amusement of her former boss, Graham, who had carefully left out the simple fact that Alexi was a female!
Aunty Bethany, the go-to local indigenous woman also sends out Murray, who has worked at the property before and with their own hand Ash, make a up a reliable team.
As the days approach the beginning of the muster, everyone concerned with the event is confident it is s going to go as quickly and as smoothly as possible. The antics of the two young men around Alexi provided amusement to Peter and Kelsey as well as their parents, who are an integral component of the station and station life, even though Jack is getting a little slower than he is prepared to admit.
A week into the muster a massive storm is brewing with the horizon slowly disappearing under a black cloud of fury, interspersed with hugely formidable bolts of lightning. It is with fear and trepidation they all sit and watch, from the veranda of the homestead, the storm slowly approaching, praying that it will move on without leaving any damage in its wake.
From this point on their luck seems to have run out with what appears to be a small fire out in one of the paddocks, which soon gets out of control despite their best efforts. Help is called in which duly arrives in the form of Bull and his huge ‘dozer, Chook in the service ute and Goose driving the third vehicle loaded with spares, a small fire unit, air compressor and just about anything else that may be needed in the days to come.
Based on more than 16 years living and running a sheep station, Michael Trant, in this his first novel brings the dust, grit, passion and determination of the outback people to life on the pages. You can feel the choking atmosphere of the fires, the distress caused after the death of beloved working dogs, the fear, compassion and understanding that is a part of everyday life for those who live far from the trappings of civilisation.
You can relate to the frustration of dealing with bureaucracy, and anyone who has lived in the outback can definitely relate to the characters who populate the ‘bush’, adding their courage and audacity to creating the spirit that is the Australian outback!
|Publisher||Allen and Unwin/Arena|
|Distributor||Allen and Unwin|