Posted by: jkirkby8712 | December 19, 2010

Saturday, 18th December 2010 – examples of outback spirit!

Today, during a few spare moments, I finished reading a book given to me for my birthday, last October – called ‘Outback Spirit’ and put together by Sue Williams, it told a series of stories about a number of Australia’s unsung heroes, those men and women who in various aspects of life, help many of those people who inhabit the outback and remote areas of Australia. One had to feel very humbled at some of the feats and achievements of these ‘volunteers’ and ‘heroes’  –  as Sue Williams describes them, embodying the ‘spirit of the outback’, ignoring personal discomfort at great sacrifice in many cases to help others in need of assistance, where such help would not otherwise be available. While many of the stories related to Indigenous families and individuals in Australia’s frontier regions [both as recipients, and as the ‘hero’], all aspects of Australia’s more remote communities are represented.

I have to admit, that in reading of the stories of many of these characters, and their deeds, tears were brought to my eyes.  And humbled, with the realisation of the magnitude of the tasks many of them undertake.  As Sue herself writes in the ‘acknowledgement’ section at the end of the book

“This time we decided to extend the celebration of all the greatest qualities of Outback people to include both men and women [Sue’s other book, of this nature, was called ‘Women of the Outback’ – she’s actually written 11 books]. This book is therefore a tribute not only to the incredible people described on its pages – to each of whom I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude for opening up their lives to a stranger – but to everyone who confronts and overcomes the challenges of Outback life for themselves and those around them who need a helping hand”.

In an Introduction to the book, Australia’s present Governor-General, Quentin  Bryce, who herself, grew up in the outback central west of Queensland, wrote that “It’s  been a real pleasure to introduce this new book celebrating the spirit of the Outback I came to love; and the commitment, generosity and courage of those who are today helping improve the quality of people’s lives in rural and remote Australia”. And that’s what these people featured in the book do – so often,  make an enormous contribution to people’s lives, and in so doing,  generally improve the quality of people’s lives through a myriad of ways and means, using their own talents and abilities, and time in doing so.

Just a sample of the examples referred to in the book  –  ‘Cheryl flies sick patients from rural areas to emergency medical treatment in cities; Sue is often the only one between life and death for her patients in the Kimberley; Ricky trades city comforts to connect with kids through sport in remote communities while Eileen overcomes great challenges to protect remote land for generations to come, Yvonne, who lost her son through suicide and now helps men in rural areas develop relationships and basic life skills in order to prevent them from suffering a similar fate to that of her son. Also in here is the remarkable story of Paul, who assists Indigenous communities by providing much needed repairs to homes through his Healthabitat service [I mentioned this story in a blog a few days ago]    – these are some of the characters who embody the spirit of the Outback’.  I read one review which suggested that each story is like watching an episode of  the ABC’s TV series ‘Australian Story’, very true!

Outback SpiritDuring the course of this morning, I managed to complete most of my Christmas shopping  –  something that I doubt I have ever achieved ‘a week before Christmas’ – felt quite pleased with myself as well!!! And with most of my Christmas greetings also despatched [as far as normal postage mail is concerned], I feel I can devote my attention to other things for the next few days  – such as family history research, which seems to be occupying a fair degree of time lately. One annoyance this weekend, is that my internet connection seems to be down, which is proving a bit of an inconvenience! But with the weather up and down again, it is the opportunity to get other tasks attended to.

As for the Test Cricket, Australia has ended Day 3 in quite a strong position – with still two days of play available, the Aussies only need 5 more English wickets, while England, with half it’s team back in the dressing rooms, needs a further 300+ runs to achieve a victory. Has been a good fightback by he Australian team, despite some individual failures, while for my English friends, it is probably a lucky break for them, that my internet service is currently down!!!  By stumps on Day 4, the situation was as follows:   Australia:  268 and 309.  England:  187  and  5 for 81.  We really should win this one!!

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