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‘Back on the old bush track’ by Trevor Till

The Kinnons and the Outback Pioneers crew were touched to receive this poem from Trevor Till, which captures his impressions of his time with us in Longreach. Trevor was moved by the resilience of the local people when the land was in drought and he was inspired by their initiative in creating experiences for visitors.

Trevor wrote the poem a few years after his trip to Longreach when he and his wife were back home in Caloundra. It captured the memories that were still vivid in his mind from visiting Nogo Station and doing the other Outback Pioneers experiences. Trevor was delighted to hear that there had been rain and it spurred him on to record his tribute to the outback in the drought times that are a frequent part of life in Queensland’s west. The words speak for themselves…

Longreach 2015

Eyes tell the sorrow and passion of recent past
The worst of droughts nature has ever cast
There once was a school on that site!!
As a wave of tourists witness the farmer’s plight

The hair on my neck begins to bristle
As the walls of the old shed whisper and whistle
With the ghosts of the past and windy days
My mind hears the shearer’s voices through the sun’s piercing rays

Town’s people share their friendship and a story
Of a rusty old car kept in all its glory
A shearer’s trips to town before his wallet would burst
Who went missing for days to quench a well earnt thirst

Sentimental gear not ever to be lost
As farmers cling to memories at any cost
Equipment kept for a better day
The good times closer today than yesterday

The dry land absorbs every passing shower
Making no impression on the water tower
Leaving soft muddy red soil to discover
For bogged grey nomads to recover

Time is on hold for this productive land
Memories not drying up like the property dams
Diminished stock numbers earned by hard working owners
Town store people becoming reluctant loaners

Not everyone is waiting for the town to die
Finding other opportunities without a sigh
Hoping rain will come with each season
Resilient people not searching for a reason

No insect plague to be concerned with here
Kangaroos ripping at the dying grass far and near
As numbers increase by the clock
Farmers use the long paddock to feed their stock

A stockman tells of the accident that smashed his hand
Robbing him of time on his beloved land
Of the widowed woman who fought on anyway
While Galahs graze next to the fur-lined highway

Scotty tells of the parents who did not come home
Leaving a teenage daughter and son on the land alone
Never leaving their property to expose their pain
Their parents’ bedroom forever the same

Stories of what neighbouring towns saw
When all their children went off to war
Distant memories of an isolating flooded river
To a water supply now a monitored giver

Glowing sunsets that can only be found here
Being captured by eager photographers so clear
Fearing this vista may also dry up soon
Like everything else under this vivid country moon

The highway to Winton saw small communities
Residents packed up for other opportunities
Only remnants of buildings that majestically stood
Moved for display or used for fire wood

Dinosaurs once roamed this land
Being replaced by a much smaller clan
Who have the same tenacity and fight
Presenting to tourists every day and night

The pubs that once filled every street
Converted to gift shops for a visitors treat
But one thing that will not change
Is the bond a sheep dog and his owner arrange

I was only a visitor to this space
To learn of the struggles and suffering the outback face
A train trip scheduled for a reason
Where history is relived till the next rainy season

The barefooted old stockman chokes on his words
With the raw emotion of the young asking for our return
To learn more of the history of this place
Of its rugged beauty and its hidden grace

Trevor Till