What happened, when the early settlers, enticed by dreams of vast grazing lands, left the security of the great rivers, and finally approached the real arid outback? How were they greeted by the occupants?
In a celebration of the Australian Outback, Michael Chambers draws on his own experiences, and a hundred and fifty years of his wife's family as graziers. He weaves the stories of the Ngiyampaa people, as recounted by his friend and their Elder, Roy Kennedy, into one epic tale, brimming with the sheer vastness and rugged beauty of the Outback.
An historical novel of European settlement set in the arid Willandra and Mungo Lakes District of western New South Wales.
But the real story begins long before that.
Time passes. People come to the dry country, between the rivers; the first peoples, the Ngiyampaa mob. They learn to live where others could not. They find plenty, not poverty. They live there a long, long time, happy and content.
Others come; Europeans, Afghans, Chinese, from across the world they come. The land changes. It no longer gives up its bush tucker. Many Ngiyampaa die. Some survive, and they learn to live with the settlers, as they had lived with the desert.
They become many again. A town emerges from the dusty plains, phoenix-like, appearing from nowhere, shining brightly for a while.
A story spanning twenty thousand years. Barak, the one-legged warrior, challenges Thylacoleo the feared Marsupial Lion; Mundawal, forced to leave his island home and the woman he loves. Beaufort Harris survives the battlefields of Crimea to vanquish the vast waterless Outback. Kathleen O'Hara travels the world to marry and founds a global dynasty. Billy Christmas, blackfella, searches for his culture and his heritage.
Tom Duncan is a Jackaroo, from New Zealand. He transitions from youth to man. He learns hard work and values that will define his future. Suddenly, he finds love. The love of his life!
These are stories of the Outback, of two peoples, one ancient, one modern. There is a Treaty; can either man understand what is promised? Can there be harmony? Here is a story of the ancient land: its fertility, its degradation, and its powers of recovery. And redemption.