Marking our 100th issue, writer John Dunn recalls some of the many stories he’s written in OUTBACK since he began contributing to our first issue in 1998.
Story By John Dunn
Where and what is the outback and who are the people who live there? This was the initial assignment back in 1998 when the magazine prepared for its opening issue.
Where does it start? Maybe the Mitchell Highway in northern New South Wales takes you there as it stretches gun-barrel straight from Nyngan into the setting sun and to a sign that announces Bourke and declares, ‘Gateway to the real outback’.
So this is where it begins? Not really. As writer Jocelyn Burt says, “There is no specific boundary to the outback; some say it begins and ends in our mind.” Since that first foray in 1998 I have found the outback in many places and in the hearts of many people.
The outback is at the tip of Cape York where the land narrows like an arrow to a perfect point and where, as you look south from the mainland’s northernmost point, it’s difficult to comprehend that Australia spreads 4500 kilometres before you.
Across the other side of the continent in the far north of Western Australia, the outback is a museum to the early settlers, the famous Duracks, on the shores of Lake Argyle.
Or it can be towards the middle where the world’s longest mail run – 2600km and 25 landings – crossed two states to supply and inform and provide a lifeline to those in the isolated centre, or it can much further south still where wool prospers in the grasslands of Tasmania.
This story excerpt is from Issue #100
Outback Magazine: Apr/May 2015