With three published books under her name and a fourth on the way, Alice Springs lawyer Tanya Heaslip reflects on a life of resilience borne on Bond Springs station.

Story Mikki Cusack   Photo Stephanie Coombes

Tanya Heaslip’s career and life path has never been straight and clear. It has followed a curved and uphill track, like the craggy gullies she used to ride her mare Sandy through as a child.

Based in Alice, where she lives with her husband Stephen Jarrett, Tanya is working as a lawyer and writing her fourth book – a legal murder mystery set in Central Australia in 1990.

Growing up on Bond Springs station in Central Australia, Tanya could ride by the time she could walk. “I galloped after mountain cattle, swam in the creek when it rained, and my horse was my confidante,” she says.   

By the age of 7, Tanya joined her siblings as part of the stock camp, mustering cattle for days on end with her father and the stock workers. “Even if we’d been mustering in the 45°C heat all day and were utterly exhausted, we couldn’t give up, because the only focus was to get the cattle to the dam and water, and then to the yards and to market,” she says. This grit and determination would shape the rest of her professional journey, from junior stockwoman to lawyer to author. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #144

Outback Magazine: August/September 2022