Vanishing Australians

Vanishing Australians

Vanishing Australians

Vanishing Australians

Excerpt

THE SUN-BLEACHED PLAIN stretched unbroken to the mirage along the skyline.

"I like a land," one bushman told me, "Where the sky comes down to your boots. You really feel you're out on your own.

Perhaps an even better comment on his outlook came from the cattleman's wife out on the Diamantina:

"Ned just isn't happy sitting around the homestead," she said. "He simply has to be out in the back paddocks somewhere-and you never know when you'll see him next. I reckon he'd sooner sleep in a swag than a decent bed."

No attempt to define the Australian bushman -- his attitude to life, how he sits a horse, and all the rest -- can much be able to improve on that.

"Back paddocks" is a typical bush understatement. Back paddocks! Mustering a thousand square miles of open plains, mostly unfenced, means weeks in the saddle and sleeping at night under the stars. Not that sleeping out in that part of the world is a hardship-especially in the winter months, when it seldom rains and sandflies and mosquitoes are rare. Some people are distressed by these vast and open landscapes; they reel lost and helpless without familiar landmarks all around them. But for many the . . .

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