'There were few more exotic places in Australia. Tribal Aboriginal people could still be seen around the town. Camel trains slowly made their way through the red-stone gorge that split MacDonnell Range. Rugged cattlemen and hard-bitten prospectors strode the streets.' In Outback Pionners, Evan McHugh gathers the enthralling stories of the men and women who opened up the Australian outback and in the process discovered the beauty and terror of this extraordinary country. We meet the little-known convict explorer John Wilson, the first European to cross the Blue Mountains (though history favours the proper English gentlemen Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson); we follow Australia's greatest drover, Nat Buchanan, as he blazes stock routes from one side of the country to another; and we marvel at the genius and grit of the men who overcome political treachery to build the Coolgardie Pipeline and the Trans-Australian Railway.
There are some delightful inclusions: a gentle Pakistani cameleer who saves foolhardy expeditioners; a nerdy ham radio operator who invents the pedal radio and paves the way for John Flynn's Flying Doctor; two bush nurses who toil in the ruins of a pub while saving outback lives; and the modern-day pioneers who battle apathy to save endangered whildlife. Plus there are the intruiging stories of R.M. Williams, the Cattle King James Tyson, and the women behind the CWA and the School of the Air.