For the vast region it covers, Western New South Wales is sparsely populated. What it lacks in numbers, however, is balanced by the qualities of its people. In this snapshot of one section of the west, we look at some of those who give the country strength.

Story By Mark Muller

Tom Murray sits in the cockpit of the family Cessna 172 and runs through his pre-flight checks in the late afternoon light. The Darling River is sliding along in the trees to his left, the tiny town of Louth, NSW, lies 12 nautical miles to the north-east, and he is about to fly across his family’s 53,000-hectare Trilby Station to check on a bore. Twenty year-old Tom, like his father and grandfather before him, has a keen aptitude for flying, and loves the country over which he is soon about to skim, country his family has worked for six generations now. “It’s home,” he says of the property that runs Merino, goats and a tourism business. “It gets into you. I’ve travelled and I’ll continue to travel for a while yet, but this is home.”
This sense of being, of place, is something that continues to hold and draw people to the vast tracts of Western NSW. Whether along the fertile banks of the Darling, or further ‘inside’ to the mining city of Cobar, or to the smaller hamlets like Louth, or Ivanhoe to the south, it is a region peopled by the determined. Not all are generations deep, not all, perhaps, will stay for generations, but all lend their lives to making up the diversity of this unique part of the world and all contribute to its changing face.

This story excerpt is from Issue #46

Outback Magazine: Apr/May 2006