WHAT happened when Australia’s early settlers, enticed by dreams of vast grazing expanses, left the security of the rivers to journey inland?
And how were they greeted by the inhabitants of those wide open spaces?
They are the questions that inspired Mildura author Michael Chambers and his historical novel ‘Walking Amongst the Stars’.
A celebration of the Australian Outback, Michael Chambers draws on his own experiences, and those of his wife’s grazing family dating back 150 years as he weaves through the stories of the Ngiyampaa people, as recounted by his friend and their Elder, Roy Kennedy.
It is an epic tale of settlement set in the arid Willandra and Mungo Lakes District of western New South Wales.
But there is another story that begins long before that, when others come to the dry country, between the rivers; the first peoples, the Ngiyampaa mob.
They learn to live where others could not.
They find plenty, not poverty and they live there a long, long time, happy and content.
Then others come, the Europeans, the Afghans, and the Chinese. The land changes. It no longer gives up its bush tucker and many Ngiyampaa die.
But, some survive and they learn to live with the settlers, as they had lived with the desert.
It is a story that spans 20,000 years and is the story of an ancient land, its fertility, its degradation and its powers of recovery.
And redemption too.
Elder Roy Kennedy says of the book: “I am very impressed with this book. It takes me back to when I was a young man. Many of the stories told here are either mine or from my people. This book needs to be widely read, so that both young and old will realise what this country is all about. I believe it will explain a lot about what happened.”
Released only recently, the book has garnered some glowing reviews, both local and interstate, including: “Images perfectly painted of the harsh Australian bush and the people connected to it. I could not put it down,” – Lauren, Mildura, and another: “A magnificent historical novel for anyone who enjoys the early history of the Australian outback, a terrific read.” – Adrienne, Perth.
‘Walking Amongst the Stars’ is available in Mildura from Collins Booksellers, 58 Langtree Mall, or telephone 5023 1836.
Signed copies are available from the author. You’ll find him on Facebook.
NEW BOOK EXPLORES OUTBACK PAST