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RFTTE Podcast, Book & Audiobook Recommendations...

Updated: Sep 13

PODCAST: Roland Breckwoldt’s radical life change

‘In that instant I knew I needed to become a cowboy’

Roland Breckwoldt, agricultural and environmental advisor, one of Australia’s most respected horsemen, author of 'The New Ringer'.

Roland Breckwoldt was working as a lab technician in Sydney when he heard about the chance to move to a remote cattle station in Queensland to become a stockman.

He had no experience on a station and none of the skills needed for the job.

But, everything inside him told him he, “just had to go”. LISTEN NOW


PODCAST: Campbell Costello, The flying vet from outback QLD

Campbell Costello's work as a vet has taken him out of his family's station in North Queensland to places as far flung as Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Patagonia.

He's acted as the official vet for a sled race in Alaska, for epic horse races in Mongolia and Argentina, and he has run a cattle station in the former Soviet Union.

But after a family tragedy, Dr Costello got his pilot's licence so he could service Australian communities and stations in the country's most remote corners. LISTEN NOW


PODCAST: Lach McClymont - How to catch a wild bull

Lach McClymont started a contract mustering business when he was just 23. Having grown up on a sheep property near Goondiwindi, he always knew he wanted to work on the land.

Lach learnt the ropes by working as a ringer everywhere from the Kimberley to Cape York, to Victoria; always looking to learn from older hands, and with his eyes on a very big prize.

Flying over the Territory one day, Lach saw huge numbers of cattle roaming wild on traditionally-owned land near the Queensland border. He learned the cattle hadn’t been handled in 30 years.

In 2018, Lach and a small team, in conjunction with the local owners, mounted a complex operation to muster those cattle. They spent three intense months working mostly at night, bull-catching in rough, rocky, and pristine terrain. LISTEN NOW


AUDIOBOOK: OUTBACK STATIONS | The Life and Times of Australia's Biggest Cattle and Sheep Properties

"From the helicopter I could see the property's waterholes surrounded by paperbark trees, its red-stone cliffs lit by the rising sun. And grass, endless seas of grass. Here was the vision splendid: Nat Buchanan's grass castle. Gurindji country. And my country, Australia."

This is big country, the outback, home to the largest cattle and sheep stations in the world. Yet as these properties are closed to visitors, few of us know what goes on behind the farm gate. So what's life really like when next door is 500 kilometres away, and mustering livestock in their tens of thousands, backbreaking physical labour, and dealing with extreme heat and long hours is all in a day's work? And why would these tough stockmen and women not have it any other way?

You will need an AUDIBLE account to listen to this audiobook:


AUDIOBOOK: The Cattle King | Sir Sidney Kidman

This book is an inspiring tribute to the remarkable life of Sir Sidney Kidman - the Cattle King. At the age of 13 Sidney Kidman ran away from home with only five shillings in his pocket. He went on to become a horse dealer, drover, cattle buyer and bush jockey and he also ran a coach business. Above all Kidman created a mighty cattle empire of more than a hundred stations, fighting droughts, bushfires, floods and plagues of vermin to do so. His enterprise and courage won him a huge fortune and made him a legend.

You will need an AUDIBLE account to listen to this audiobook:


PODCAST | More than the station manager's wife: Sally Warriner

Sally Warriner went from a hippie backpacking across Europe, to living on remote cattle stations in Western Australia and the Northern Territory in the blink of an eye.

Twenty years later, though, in the middle of the night, she abandoned ship.

After two decades being called - and calling herself - the wife of the general manager, it was hard for Sally to redefine herself.

She went back to nursing, finding new adventures in places like Sierra Leone, Sudan and Bhutan. LISTEN NOW


PODCAST: Pastoralist Susan Bradley's love for land and people of the Kimberley

Susan's lived and worked in the remote Kimberley region for more than thirty-five years and says she may never leave.

She and her husband established a Flying Veterinary Service in Kununurra which they ran for many years. They then developed two of the most significant cattle stations in Australia's north.

Susan's abiding love for the land and people of the Kimberley inform her work to sponsor the education of Indigenous youth, and protect the Kimberley's ancient rock galleries.




Bill was massive. He had power, intelligence, and unmatched courage. In performance and character he stood above all the other 200,000 Australian horses sent to the Middle East in the Great War. But as war horses go he had one serious problem. No one could ride him but one man - Major Michael Shanahan. Some even thought Bill took a sneering pleasure in watching would-be riders hit the dust.

You will need an AUDIBLE account to listen to this audiobook:



'The Flying Vet' features David Bradley and his wife Susan, who operated the biggest veterinary practice in the world, flying a tiny Cessna out of Kununurra to cattle stations across northern Australia. David was at the forefront of TB eradication from cattle in the Top End...



'Sarawak Stock Take' from 1985, featuring the Rosewood Stockcamp and the first live exports to Malaysia - both include stunning aerial footage, including Bullo River Station, Newcastle Waters and Rockhampton Downs...



This book is hard to put down, particularly for anyone who wants to work on a station or has worked on one, this is a must read.

In the Middle of Nowhere is a story of beating the odds, of the power of love and the strength of family ties to overcome every obstacle.

Terry met John at St Vincents Hospital, where she was training to be a nurse and he was recuperating from a horse-riding accident. They wrote love letters to each other for five years before marrying. Terry's new home on the huge pastoral lease of Riveren consisted of a tent and a newly drilled bore. The newlyweds literally built their station from scratch, raising and educating their four children on the station.

It is a story told with warmth and a knowledge of the bush, its people, and the issues facing the Northern Territory of Australia.


PODCAST: Harry Bowman & Brutus the Croc

For more than three decades, Harry has been taking boatloads of people into the wild rivers of the Northern Territory.

Gigantic saltwater crocodiles follow his boat as it cruises down the Adelaide River, waiting to leap out of the water to snatch a piece of buffalo meat that Harry extends to them on a stick.

One of the largest crocs is named Brutus. Harry calls him his 'business partner'.

Some years ago, Harry was called on to save Brutus' life, which required him to extract a long, thick tendril of African vine directly from the croc's mouth. VIEW NOW


PODCAST: The Stars of Muster Dogs

Neil McDonald has spent more than thirty years as one of the country’s leading working dog trainers.He believes a blend of discipline and love, or 'head and heart' is needed to raise a champion working dog.

It took a very serious farm accident for cattle expert Joni Hall to learn how important good quality working dogs are.

She now lives a nomadic life, travelling rural and remote Australia in a van, with her 20 canine colleagues.

Both Neil and Joni star in the ABC's reality show Muster Dogs. LISTEN NOW


PODCAST: Dr Rick Fenny & His Legendary Red Dog

Over his long and successful career Rick has nursed countless animals, employed over 400 veterinarians in his vet clinics and established tourism services across Western Australia, but his fondest memories are of his four-legged-friends he met along the way.

The outback vet with stories of treating racehorses, camels and the odd chimp as he zigzagged around the Pilbara from the 1970s onwards, and how he came to meet the legendary red kelpie. LISTEN NOW


PODCAST: Judy Brewer's Mudgegonga love song

Judy grew up on a farm in north east Victoria. When she was seventeen, a family tragedy saw her thrust into life as a farmer for the first time.

Being a young farmer led her into local politics, and eventually into a burgeoning friendship with a lanky, much-loved local politician named Tim Fischer.

On their first date, Tim took Judy to the Tocumwal Debutant Ball, and it was a disaster.



PODCAST: Bernie Shakeshaft didn't quite fit in as a kid.

He struggled with his schoolwork, and was often caned by his teachers.

As an adult, Bernie went to the Northern Territory to become a jackaroo.

While working on vast cattle properties, he picked up skills as a tracker from some of his Aboriginal co-workers.

Later, Bernie got into youth work, and today he runs a youth service in Armidale, Northern NSW.

At BackTrack Youthworks Bernie welcomes kids who are a bit like his former self. He meets teenagers falling into a life of petty crime, and sometimes incarceration.

As soon as they show up, they're given full responsibility for a working dog.

The relationship with a dog is just part of Bernie's program, all of which is designed to draw out tenderness, responsibility and confidence in teenagers who've been struggling with feelings of worthlessness.

Since it began in 2006 BackTrack has helped more than 1000 teenagers see a different future.



PODCAST: Stuart Austin | Ringer From The Top End to Carbon Farming Guru

Stuart Austin is fast becoming an expert and well respected advocate of building soil carbon, as well as a well known practitioner of regenerative farming on the collection of Wilmot Cattle Co properties.

Podcaster, Charlie Arnott, caught up with Stuart to delve into his journey from farm boy in southern NSW, ringer from the top end of Australia, recruiter of ranch hands in Canada, to general manager of the Wilmot Cattle Company in NSW.



PODCAST: Dan Saunders | The Glitch

Now this podcast recommendation is a bit left field in that it is not rural related, but this is one ripping yarn - and it's all true. Every episode just gets better and better (and more incredulous), it will also make you rethink who you do your banking with!

Dan Saunders is no criminal mastermind, he’s a normal Aussie bloke who used to work at Nando’s in country Victoria. He happened to come across a Glitch on his NAB ATM card. Over the space of 4 months, he was able to withdraw $1.6 million dollars and blew it on designer clothes, girls, private jets and giving money away to not only his mates but complete strangers, like a modern-day Robin Hood.



BOOK: Nemarluk | King of the Wilds

I've just added this book to my reading list as the recommendation comes from a trusted source (thank you Tamy) who says Nemarluk is her Dad's favourite yarn... and I'm hoping it will come out as an audio book soon - which I will link to when it does.

Nemarluk, one of the most feared Aboriginal renegades in the north of Australia, had vowed to rid his land of all intruders. This is the story of the last few years of his life, and his battles with the Northern Territory Police and their tracker Bul-Bul.

Ion Idriess (1889—1979) is one of Australia's best-loved writers, with fifty-six books to his credit and millions of copies sold. When he returned from the First World War he wrote The Desert Column, about his experiences with the 5th Light Horse. Prospecting for Gold was his first major successful work; it immediately sold out and was reprinted constantly in the following years, as were many of his books.

Idriess spent much of his life travelling throughout Australia, collecting material for his true-life stories, including Flynn of the Inland, The Red Chief and Nemarluk. He was awarded the O.B.E. in 1968 for his contribution to Australian literature.



PODCAST: Motherland Australia

Real, raw, and unbelievable stories of motherhood told by women on the land.

Join Stephanie Trethewey each week as she dives deep into rural motherhood with frank and unfiltered conversations with rural mums from across the country.

Tune in and find out what’s it like raising kids on the land.


BOOK: The High & The Mighty | The Noel Buntine Story

When Noel Buntine first arrived in the Northern Territory in 1950, he was told he was not qualified to hold a responsible government position … but that didn’t stop him pioneering road transport of livestock in the Top End and the Kimberley, long before there were roads … and, with persistence and determination, went on to build a multi-million dollar trucking empire that traversed more than half of the continent, from Geraldton in Western Australia across to Queensland and New South Wales. The success of his business was based on trust, integrity and down-to-earth loyal drivers and support staff.



PODCAST: Life on the Land with Camille McClymont

Camille McClymont’s life in Western Australia’s Kimberly region is well reflected in her Instagram posts, (@thecattlemandaughter); the red dust, the blazing sunsets and the days of mustering, the 31-year-old gives a little snapshot into her days spent managing her family’s property, Kalyeeda Station.

In this episode Camille gives an insight into life managing 10,000 head of cattle spread across 122,000 hectares, during some of the most extreme weather Mother Nature has thrown at them in recent history. She also gives a heart wrenching, yet deeply insightful look into her idyllic childhood preceding a series of devastating twists of fate in her early teens that marked the beginning of a life-threatening eating disorder. This is a story about family, commitment, love and most of all, a truly wondrous sense of belonging.



BOOK: Hell West and Crooked | Tom Cole

"The horses are hell west and crooked - it'll take a week to muster them." In this remarkable autobiographical account, Tom Cole 'the real Crocodile Dundee' tells the stories of his life in the outback during the 1920s and 1930s. With great humour and drama, he recounts his adventures as a drover and station hand in the toughest country in Australia and later on as a buffalo shooter and crocodile hunter in the Northern territory before the war.

Personally I think this book is an Australian Classic!



PODCAST: Bec 'Sister' Crozier nusing in Kimberley Country

From growing up with a rural background to nursing in remote areas, Rebecca Crozier shares the memories on how she has ended up working and living on Nerrima Station neighbouring the Fitzroy River in the West Kimberley. Back and forth between nursing and nature, Bec's small stint at the Fitzroy health centre turned into a long term commitment. Partner Chris, Manager at Nerrima, along with daughter 4 year old Georgina are the hard working couple that get to improve the herd and live within a community that are grateful to have Bec not far away to assist in the healthcare system in the surrounding communities. 

Angie Nisbet speaks to Bec on her podcast 'Married to the Land'.



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