Home…soil…rain

The MacDonnell Ranges in the Northern Territor...

The MacDonnell Ranges in the Northern Territory are found in the centre of the country. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Free association exercise – WordPress topic: When I hear the words home, soil and rain I am reminded of my time in the Northern Territory. I am currently reading a true story by Mary Groves called My Outback Life.  Her large Catholic family moved from Melbourne to Mataranka in the Northern Territory in the 1960’s mainly because Mary’s mother had a bad case of asthma and they thought the climate would be good for her health. Mary falls in love with Jim, a stockman much older than herself. They can’t marry because he is already married but separated. My life story has some similarities. I married at 18 and my husband was 12 years older than me. When I was 26 we moved from Melbourne to the Territory to a remote Aboriginal Community called Numbulwar. We had two sons, Robert who was 4 then, and Andrew was 6 months old. Mary Groves and her husband Joe were continually on the move chasing work at different cattle stations where they lived in very basic and sometimes primitive conditions. Mary was determined to make a home for her family including four young children, over and over again. I, too, have lived in many different houses that came to be our family homes for a time. The soil in the Territory, where we lived, was very sandy and had very little nutrient value. The land is mostly pastoral (cattle) country covering hundreds of square miles. The cattle move freely to where feed and water can be found. The tropical rains went some way to making up for the poor soil. With some nurturing the environment could be a tropical paradise. The pests such as fruit bats would invade anything edible and consume it in no time. Our little vegetable garden had to be covered completely to make sure there was something left for us. The book reminded me of the tropical storms and the monsoonal rains  that fell anytime between October and March/April. Since that time I haven’t seen anything close to that spectacle. It was scary, amazing, awe-inspiring, regenerating, refreshing and very wet! The roads were impassable and airstrips were closed – it was very isolated and medical emergencies needed the Flying Doctor Services to evacuate patients to reach proper medical attention. Reading the book has brought back many memories about the Territory but today I am glad to be living in a more temperate climate in our own home with no plans to go anywhere else 🙂

Lorraine

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3 thoughts on “Home…soil…rain

  1. It sounds like an amazing book, and an amazing life story. I’m sure it was often hard making things seem “normal” for your kids, but you clearly pulled it off. You have my admiration.

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