Charlie and Pauline Rayment wouldn’t live anywhere but the Outback. Charlie brought Pauline as a bride to ‘Kurran’, in the ranges of the Diamantina catchment. Pauline faced the wilderness while Charlie carved a property from the harsh environment.
Their story typifies this new collection by Marion Houldsworth. Readers share the Outback experience at one remove; wake face-to-face with a rock-python, are sucked down in a whirlpool, trapped inside a water-tank, help a neighbour bury a dead child. They swim cattle across the flooded Burdekin, and, like Clancy of old, tail ‘twelve-fifty fats’ down the Cooper. Brumby hunts, droughts, floods and fires,even a trip by Cobb & Co. Told with compassion and humour this more than a valuable addition to the social history of the Outback. These are Australia’s stories at their liveliest and best.