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February 07 , 2009

Australian Farming Families


'This is a book about the human aspects of life on the land - the stories of success and failure, life and love, of hardship and celebration - and the passion and gritty determination that characterised every family I interviewed.'

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On their way to the sea shore, Fred was driving so slowly. Eleanor asked him teasingly whether there was a problem in his car, he smiled and said, “I won't see or hear anything or (looking in her eyes) anyone more attractive than what I can hear and see! Why should I drive fast?" Eleanor's face reddened and she smiled shyly and thanked him. Fred…

Author Deb Hunt sets out to discover what makes what makes Australian farming families tick. She travels tens of thousands of kilometres to properties at either end of the country, from a vast, dusty cattle run in outback Queensland to the wheat belt of Western Australia and dairy and sheep farms in Tasmania. She introduces us to eight families who survive, even thrive, on the land despite fires, floods, personal hardship and uncertain economic times.

We see a different sort of family life, where the kids are expected to pitch in, the classroom is often the kitchen table, the nearest maternity hospital is a five-hour drive, and generations live and work side by side. We meet the French family, whose connection to the bush goes back seven generations, Philip the Philosopher, who by 29 was managing a property of more than one million hectares carrying 20,000 head of cattle, and the outspoken Roma Brittnell, who was awarded Australian Rural Woman of the Year in 2009.

Inspiring, moving and sometimes challenging, these stories provide a window into a way of life that defines the Australian spirit at its best.

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