Where is the Outback? … and a Giveaway!

G’Day Mob,

Now before I start rambling on about the Outback and something I may have to send to one lucky reader … would you take a look at that new header photo. Can you believe it? This is actually the view over our Front Paddock, courtesy of our festive storm season. Look at it – green grass and clouds and if you look closely (very closely) under the tree right of centre you may make out the nine cows that currently comprise our herd. Yep, while the grass may be growing we are a long way from being drought free and in a position to restock Rocky Springs.

And because I can’t help myself here is another view over the property

129 green

But onto other matters …..

This year I have been privileged to write for R.M William’s Outback magazine, including stories on bush racing at Bundarra, the opals of Lightning Ridge, the amazing Kelly Foran from Boggabri and a pub up at Toompine.

So what exactly is the Outback? My Macquarie Dictionary defines it as “the most remote parts of the inland or back country,” but that is rather vague.

And where is this Outback? We don’t consider Rocky Springs to be Outback but I’m sure my Uncles from inner Sydney probably do. I wouldn’t even consider Lightning Ridge as Outback although it is getting closer (and my friend Hayley definitely thinks it is!).

Maybe the Outback is a relative notion. To me it is red pindan of the deserts I once worked in; big space, big sky, old country.

If you peruse the 2015 R.M William’s Outback calendar you will see photos of Commonwealth Hill sheep station in SA, a cotton crop near Dirranbandi in QLD, the red cliffs of Cape Leveque in WA, Mount Buffalo in VIC, Rapid Creek near Darwin in NT and other interpretations of the Outback.

129 calendar

So, Mob, for your chance to WIN A COPY of this calendar tell me below where you think the Outback is. Or, if you are one of my valued overseas readers, what is your equivalent of “the most remote parts of the inland or back country.”

All comments received before 9pm Monday 5th January (my time) will be judged and go into the running, with the winner announced on the next post.

Talk to me Mob. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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14 responses to “Where is the Outback? … and a Giveaway!

  1. http://discover0.com/visit-death-valley-national-park-in-california-nevada-usa/ Don’t know if this counts if I haven’t been there – and I haven’t – but it was the first to pop into my mind. Love your blogs Mandy.

    • There are some beautiful photos on that link, thanks Elaine. If definitely counts even if you haven’t been there. There are many Outback areas I haven’t been to (and I just added one in California to the list!), and I think that gives us another reason to dream, which adds to the mythology of the Outback.

  2. Those are beautiful photos of the ranch, Mandy.

    Where is the American Outback – a tall order! There are so many remote places here with different climates, cultures, flora and fauna. Everything from desert to swamp! I guess for me the Outback is more a state of mind, to take with me anywhere I go. And I credit Baz the Landy for installing that notion in my head.

    • Well Baz may be reading these comments so I’m sure he’d get a kick out of that. I like the notion of the Outback being a state of mind.

  3. Wow! Seeing green must be so nice.
    Outback … that is a hard one. I see it as the drier, tougher country where towns are distanced and communication is limited but well that covers a lot of area. Where I was between Charters Towers and Longreach was Outback, I guess, but in my minds eye I really see it as further west. My students from Japan get told the Outback is inland Australia. Maybe it is just anywhere west of the Great Divide, especially for those on the East Coast. Outback, I think, also has a lot to do with the character of a place and the people.
    I hope you get some good follow up rain.

    • I agree with your thoughts Anne on the Outback being a lot to do with the character of the place and the people. That’s a good way of looking at it.

  4. Hi Mandy,
    Back in Aug, 2011, I attempted this definition of the Outback (in contrast with “the country” and “the bush”) in my newsletter:
    The Australian Outback is defined mostly by being remote and arid. Arid areas don’t tend to attract many permanent residents, so settlements are usually spread far apart – often 200 or 300 kms, and sometimes much more. About 70% of Australia is classed as arid. At least three-quarters of Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia is serious Outback, and significant portions of Queensland and New South Wales. Overall, one could reasonably say that two-thirds of Australia is Outback. That’s about 5,000,000 sq kms – plenty of room to move around.
    Rob
    PS: Hope you get some rain soon.

    • That’s the closest I am going to get to a factual definition, thanks Rob 🙂
      We had five inches of rain in December, which has got the grass growing and with any luck we may be able to start re-stocking Rocky Springs again soon.

  5. I think that the Outback is a lot of the places that I’ve lived in since I escaped city life 16 years ago. I’ve experience a cattle station near the Gulf of Carpenteria, but I don’t know if that was really the outback. I’ve experienced Cunnamulla, which I don’t really think is either. I’ve been in the Kimberleys and I don’t know how much that is the outback, but it’s definitely remote, just not arid. I’ve been in remote areas of the NT and WA and they would definitely be the outback as there was plenty of red dirt and not many people at all, with one place being 290km NW of Alice Springs, another being 220km NE of Alice Springs and then being halfway between Alice Springs and Broome, down the Tanami. I’m now in Brewarrina and it’s definitely arid, but after all the other place I’ve lived in I don’t know how remote I class it as being. But majority of people I know would class all of those places as being the outback.

    • Wow, Shirl, you have lived in some amazing places and we may know some of the same people since you’re now in Bre. We had cattle out there several years ago.
      I guess you’ve also touched on another angle of the Outback in that once we become accustomed to somewhere, regardless of how remote it is, we consider the true Outback to be further out – hence my Uncles from Sydney thinking we are remote. Having not been there myself I would consider the Tanami to be Outback.
      Thanks for commenting.

  6. I am too late for a competition, but what the heck?! I would consider almost all Bolivia as na Outback country, minus big cities of La Paz, Santa Cruz, Cochabamba:) P.S. What a lovely land you have!

    • From reading your blog Danuta, I would have to agree with you – especially the Bolivian version of Monopoly!

      And thank you – our land does indeed look lovely at the moment.

  7. Having lived the last 18 years in NT and WA it’s hard to imagine outback as being anywhere near the east coast anymore. It’s not just the arid landscape, it’s the type of people who live there, who appreciate wide open spaces and make do without the luxuries and easy conveniences of the city dweller. And think nothing of 4 or 5 hour round trips just to visit a friend!

    • And yet the NT and WA are wilder and more “outback” than the east coast could ever hope to be. I still have a yearning for the wide open spaces of WA and the laid back attitude of the people. Though that could be looking through rose-coloured glasses and nearly twenty years of hindsight!

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