Spectacular. Extraordinary. Peaceful and so quiet it is almost eerie. It also almost seems to be endless. This is that enormous area in the middle of Australia – and stretching to the coast in some places – It is the ‘outback’.
‘Red Dust Dreams’ focuses on the domestic side of life on those massive stations. It is not an easy life. These people cope with the loneliness, isolation and lack of convenience that is readily available in the urban areas of the nation. The research covered three to four years travelling around Australia, criss-crossing the outback of South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, going from station to station, interviewing, chatting with, observing and photographing these people going about their daily lives from the domestic angle.
Aspects included in ‘Red Dust Dreams’ include entertainment, employment, education, shopping, mail, groceries, travel, holidays (what holidays?). Readers will learn where milk really does come from, meat, vegetables and fruit – and so much more.
The people living out there are doing it tough, on stations so large that they can be compared to some of the large countries in Europe. Many are struggling on an almost daily basis, simply to survive.
Lannah Sawers-Diggins grew up on one such station. It was isolated enough for her education to be through the School of the Air and correspondence. While she no longer lives on the family station, she remains passionate about that outback way of life.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite Red Dust Dreams: Living in the Outback by Lannah Sawers-Diggins is a non-fiction memoir that details various experiences of living in the Australian Outback. Red Dust Dreams starts off with an introduction to Lannah herself and her own roots in the Outback where she grew up. The book then mostly explores the major homesteads in the Outback today and the daily life and experiences of the inhabitants there. As a result, the book is more a collection of memoirs from different people that Lannah has interviewed and consolidated in this book. These stations and people come from everywhere in Australia and even beyond, and include descriptions of New South Wales, Victoria, South and Western Australia, and more. There are photographs of the homesteads, as well as the families who live there, scattered throughout the book as each family talks about their own personal experiences with food, survival, education, water and electricity, transportation, etc. I found Red Dust Dreams: Living in the Outback to be an extremely interesting book. The contents include not only her interviews and lodging experiences with the homesteaders, but also recipes, poetry, pictures, short backpacking traveler memoirs and travel tips, and her own experience with travel. All of this is perhaps a bit too much and could be better organized, although I did find some of the content to be interesting glimpses into life in the Outback. I also wish that some experiences living or interacting with the aborigines had been included since they are an integral part of the Outback. Overall, this is an interesting subject matter and the landscape it is set in makes it an enjoyable read.