An Outback Life by Mary Groves

An Outback Life by Mary GrovesBlurb

All I could think of as my heart thumped in my chest and the rumble of 900 stampeding buffalo rocked my vehicle was, ‘Struth! Am I in trouble now!’

Mary Groves was just fourteen when her parents uprooted their family from Melbourne to Mataranka; a small, isolated town in the Northern Territory. Soon after the family’s arrival, Mary’s father took over the general store while her mother set up a school in a railway fettler’s cottage and ran the local post office.

In her early twenties, Mary fell in love with Joe Groves – a cattleman, horse-breaker, drover and rodeo rider. They went on to raise four children while leading an exciting and challenging life managing and owning an array of cattle stations.

During her 40 years living in the outback, Mary learned to operate helicopters, cattle trucks and anything else it took to help Joe keep their family afloat, deciding that if you want something badly enough you need tenacity, perseverance and – most importantly – a sense of humour.

In this earthy tale of love, hope, loss and survival, Mary describes the sometimes heart-breaking loneliness, the hard work and the rises and falls in her family’s fortunes as they battle to survive in the Top End.

My Perspective

This is the fourth of the books i have read that sweet old man has lent to me.

This book is another autobiography of an Australian woman and her life in the outback. It is a similar premise to Diamonds and Dust and Stars Over Shiralee both by Sheryl McCorry. However An Outback Life is not as emotionally intense. Mary still has a lot of stories to tell, heartache and struggles, happiness and triumph, but she packages it up differently to Sheryl. I found it to be a bit more lighthearted.

The book follows her life from when she was a young child up until about the age of 55.

I really enjoyed this autobiography. It was easy to read and interesting – a great book to read before bed each night as it is interesting enough that you want to read it but doesn’t grip you with “What’s going to happen next?!” so you end up reading into all hours of the night.

I would highly recommend this book to both women and men of all ages.


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