- HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:
Book Review: by Lang Reid
(Ric) Richardson, who lives in Chiang Mai, sent over his latest book, Brogan
(Life in Australia’s far outback) ISBN1-59705-885-8, Wings Press May 2007.
Richardson describes himself as having an obsessive interest in Australia’s
founding history, and is himself a sixth generation descendant of
Australia’s First Fleeters, and this is the background for what is really a
It is the tale of the young half-caste boy Brogan, beginning from when he
was a 10 year old in 1914, the son of a drover in the harsh center of
Australia, just known as ‘the outback’. Author Richardson has a keen eye for
detail, and having met people like the characters he describes from Central
Australia and in Queensland, Australia, their speech is indeed punctuated
with “bloodies” and worse. Advanced linguistics are not taught in the back
of beyond! The description of the outback town as being comprised of “a pub,
a police station, and a bottle dump bigger than the pub” gives an immediate
picture of life in the sun-burnt scrubland at the turn of the last century.
And some places are not much different today.
The book follows young Brogan as his natural father (a white Australian) is
killed during WW I in Europe, and he is then cared for by his maternal
grandfather, an Arab camel herder. It is his grandfather who instills
foresight into the young untrained mind of Brogan, and has him sent to
As Brogan grows up, the life experienced by the dwellers in the outback is
described, and many other players are introduced, who in one way or another
impinge upon the life of the orphaned half-caste. In those days, you could
not lead a private life - you were part of a community. Even when the pedal
radio became the method to keep the communities in contact with each other,
your business was everyone’s business.
Brogan continues to mature, making both friends and enemies on the way,
while falling in love with aviation. Flying was becoming the way to traverse
the huge distances that Australia has between centers. (Even today it takes
around six hours to fly across Australia from the west coast to the east.)
With today’s aviation problems really only the fear of losing one’s luggage,
author Richardson introduces the reader to what happens if for any reason,
the plane had to land away from civilization. A burning tyre to give a
column of black smoke, and a two day wait in the sun for spares to be
At B. 395, this is an excellent and thought provoking yarn, and one that
anyone with a feeling or interest in the differences in societies, religions
and cultures will enjoy. The human emotions demonstrated by the white
Australians, the black Australians and the half-castes are brought out, and
will evince outrage at times. Man’s inhumanity to man so ably demonstrated
by the words of Ric Richardson. Whilst much of the history, including the
famous aviator Charles Kingsford-Smith, will be of great interest to
Australians, the story itself has a much greater and wider appeal. A very
powerful book, written by a great story-teller.
Chiangmai Mail Publishing Co. Ltd.
189/22 Moo 5, T. Sansai Noi, A. Sansai, Chiang Mai 50210
Tel. 053 852 557, Fax. 053 014 195
Editor: 087 184 8508
E-mail: [email protected]
Administration: [email protected]
Website & Newsletter Advertising: [email protected]
Copyright © 2004 Chiangmai Mail. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.