Back Country Rivers: Wider and Deeper, 2nd Edition

This book of bush poetry refers to the lives which others have lived in past generations in back country Queensland. The poems are sometimes amusing, sometimes tragic and sometimes verging on the ridiculous! David’s poems are accompanied by interesting explanatory prose that provides further information about the historical (or made-up?) facts  contained in the poems.

Just like coastal and urban people, the lives of back country Queenslanders are generally mundane. It’s a grind. And to what end? Occasionally, there are highlights, either success or catastrophe. All the stories are remembered, but often they are unchronicled. In today’s world where fact and fiction, myth and truth often merge, unprecedented steps have been taken to maintain the confusion. The stories are “as told” to or by the author and, like fossils, have lain unearthed until now.


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  • Title: Back Country Rivers: Wider and Deeper, 2nd Edition
  • Published by: Jabiru Publishing
  • Year of publishing: 2021
  • Book format: Paperback
  • Pages: 168
  • ISBN: 9780648889410

David Howard

After mediocre results in secondary and tertiary agricultural education, David Howard’s mediocrity continued when putting this education into practice. He was employed as a jackaroo, learner ringer, station hand, livestock agency employee, train drover, seismic survey “juggy” (surveyor’s assistant) and labourer. A visit to the ABC’s Perth Rural Department on a Thursday saw him start work there the following Monday. (Back in the mid-1960s there was a labour shortage affecting even the ABC). Demonstrating that he was nothing but consistent, his mediocrity persisted through relieving posts in Geraldton, Bunbury and Port Pirie, and permanent posts to Brisbane and Rockhampton. He was posted to Longreach temporarily for six weeks. That posting lasted six years.

Whilst at Longreach he was able to travel extensively. His listening area was officially bounded in the east by the Great Dividing Range south to Alpha, and then south to Cunnamulla. In the north was the Gulf of Carpentaria, and in the west and south were the respective State borders. His earlier experiences in some of the more remote parts of pastoral Queensland were of benefit. He was able to meet with both sheep and cattle producers with some degree of familiarity. His book reflects situations seen personally or referred to by others in both environs.

In his time as a broadcaster he has associated with several top journalists, but has never regarded himself as a true “journo”. He prefers to be known as someone who helped others tell their stories. He now lives in retirement in Cairns, north Queensland, with a patient and loving wife and friendly dog.