In every small bush town there are four central itinerant occupations. These are people who come and go with time. They are bank managers, police, school teachers and priests. Bush Priests are an essential part of Outback life. They have multiple parishes in rural areas that often require an impressive bit of travel. They are a rich source of stories - about themselves, individuals and communities - and this book is sure to be an absolute cracker as a result. There will be humour, there will be insight, there will be tragedy. Through the large number of contacts Bill has made through his other books he has already talked to a number of these bush priests: John Blair from Broken Hill is what's called a 'Flying Padre'. One of his stories appeared in More Great Australian Flying Doctor Stories with his telling of the time he helped find a missing woman. He has many other entertaining and dramatic stories to tell about his time as a Flying Padre. There's Father Tony Redden. Bill travelled with Father Tony along the Birdsville Track during the first Great Australian Cattle Drive back in 2002 when he was working on Great Australian Droving Stories. Father Tony is legendary in the South Australian outback and some of his exploits were mentioned in Great Australian Flying Doctor stories. Many are yet to be recorded. There's Fred van Brussel who runs a schools mission near Batchelor in the Northern Territory. A story or two of his will be appearing in Great Australian School Days Stories. There's Rod Bishop who had stories in two of the flying doctor books. For many years Rod worked for a Catholic Missionary up the Kimberly area of Western Australia and has a number of other stories up his sleeve. Also there's Jack Goldsmith. Bill wrote the book 'Goldie' about his early to mid-life. It was during his mid-life that he started teaching the scriptures out in the rough and tumble of mustering camps throughout Queensland and the Northern Territory. His story about attending a funeral in Oodnadatta, South Australia, is hilarious. It begins with a body being inadvertently frozen in at the Coober Pedy morgue and the trials and tribulations they had in trying to get it thawed out enough to fit in to the coffin. And, that's just the beginning. Bill will go on ABC radio, as he usually does, to announce he is commencing research for this book, and no doubt he will be inundated with contacts. He will then set off in his 4WD, with his camp stove and mattress, to drive around Australia and record the stories of the people he meets.
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About the Author
Bill ‘Swampy' Marsh is an award-winning writer/performer of stories, songs and plays. Based in Adelaide, he is best known for his successful Great Australian series of books published with ABC Books: MORE GREAT AUSTRALIAN FLYING DOCTOR STORIES (2007), GREAT AUSTRALIAN RAILWAY STORIES (2005), GREAT AUSTRALIAN DROVING STORIES (2003), GREAT AUSTRALIAN SHEARING STORIES (2001), and GREAT AUSTRALIAN FLYING DOCTOR STORIES (1999).