Back Country Rivers

There are many ways to live a life. There’s the life you’ve led, the life you’d like to live, the one you wish you hadn’t lived, the life about which you fantasised but which eluded realisation. 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 and sometimes tragic. The poems accompanied by interesting explanatory and/or historical information 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.

If you are a grey nomad, a blonde or red-headed nomad, or have other nomadic traits, this book is for you. Alternatively, you may have no nomadic urge and are more than willing to visit the back country via a comfortable chair in your living room. If so, you also qualify. Enjoy!

  • Title: Back Country Rivers
  • Published by: Jabiru Publishing
  • Year of publishing: 2019
  • Book format: Paperback
  • Pages: 120
  • ISBN: 9780648574125

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.