Remote Qld, circa ’70’s when wool is gold and wedgies are on the nose. Roxy Bolton, feisty defender of the wildlife enlists her father’s help to create an on-property sanctuary. At Savanna State High, she befriends Tina after a racial slur, and invites her home for a camp-over at the sanctuary. When a solitary, wizened eagle sets vigil nearby, Tina tells of ‘the watchers’, mysterious dreamtime guardian-spirits.
At the local wool-shed dance, Roxy confronts a grazier over a drunken boast of his tally of slaughtered eagles. A strange massing of eagles soon after, and their eventual disappearance leads Roxy to her new friend’s door, desperate for answers. But Tina’s mother remains tight-lipped. For Irene, indigenous elder; keeper of wedged-tail lore, Mother Nature’s curveball invokes disturbing echoes from the dreamtime.
winning entry in the 2021 Mary River Short Story Contest, grew from scribbled notes penned whilst setting vigil beside my mother’s deathbed. From the heart, it touches on the guilt of an often wayward son, but also the kindness of strangers, and laughter in the face of impending grief. ‘Flight of the Owl’ can be downloaded here, or directly from the Mary River Press website.
‘Love Dust’, a fast moving tragedy about outback truckies caught in a love-triangle, was entered in the annual Winton Short Story Competition. Amongst the winning entries, it was published in Outback Anthology of Short Stories volume 5 (2020)
‘Sally’s Snoozy Thursday’, is a fun speculative poke in the eye for pollies and priests. Sally pulls no punches! Amongst the winning entries, it was published in Outback Anthology of Short Stories volume 7 (2022)
- The oz-chemistHi again, Ok, promise. No more talk about lasts. ‘Cause it’s firsts from here on, this blog being numero one in my new life. Continue reading “The oz-chemist”
- Last of the lastsHi, Today was an avalanche of the fuckers – tees, elles, ays ‘n esses like an angry swarm of hornets from dawn to dusk. AmongstContinue reading “Last of the lasts”
- Now you know why you’re a fencerHi, Some time ago, I wrote a song. Two actually, but for now, it’s all about the one. As you’re about to discover, one’s enough!Continue reading “Now you know why you’re a fencer”
Image Credit: Håkan Ludwigson‘s ‘Balls and Bulldust’
After a lifetime in the bush, Steve Hawe has worn many hats. Lately ringer, horse-breaker, farrier and fencer, and most importantly father of five (forever!), he and his partner now own grazing country west of Longreach, Qld. It was here at ‘Spring Plains’, amidst the splendour of the arid lands that he was inspired to write. To his great delight, he came to realise an authors’ hat can be
any and all of the above!
At 15, on the outskirts of Young, central western NSW, a fresh-faced, skinny (hatless!) kid stopped for a moment to listen for the school hooter. It was 9 am first day back in ‘73. On his knees at ‘Wordsworth’s Strawberries’ he breathed a sigh of relief and smiled. In his mind was the classroom clamour of book-bags on mahogany desks, and a vision of the motor bike he was saving for. Brimming with the opti-cence of youth, he was blissfully unaware of the journey enjoined. Or that his stories would one day be spiced and enriched by the laughter and tears, ‘high-fives’ and train-wrecks of five decades of hard slog in the bush. From a passing parade of workmates, bosses,
employees, family and friends; he would amass a precious well of snapshots of personas, wisdoms and events.
He would also learn that hats are earned, and should never be thrown away!