Story By Louise Linke and Lara Jensen

Photographers Louise Linke and Lara Jensen both live on remote stations in the Murchison region of Western Australia, so they know a thing or two about tough times in the bush. “The last decade in our region has seen major rainfall events that can be counted on one hand,” Lara says. “Morale has taken a battering as drought, low commodity prices, wild dogs, diminishing services and declining regional populations signify an alarming domino effect that is not for the faint of heart.”
Many pastoral families have moved on, yet for those determined to stay, the outback remains a great place to raise a family. Both Louise – whose own children, the Fords, appear throughout this photo essay – and Lara have fond memories of their time growing up in the outback. “We had the same childhood as these kids, so it’s great to be able to document that and relive it a little,” Lara says. She says there is a determined nucleus of young families developing mechanisms to survive and thrive. Louise and Lara have been friends since attending Meekatharra School of the Air together. “We look as much to the optimism of children as the proven fortitude of our gutsy forebears to convince us there is a bright future ahead out here,” Lara says.

This story excerpt is from Issue #68

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2010