The koalas have gone since the drought and floods, and Deb is selling Deb’s Café. But there are still constants that remain just right, which I found at Bollon on the banks of Wallam Creek in south west Queensland.
The café is stocked with shearing history, and nestled amongst the memorabilia was a CD at which Raylene behind the counter perceived my briefest glance. You know he’s outside, she said. I looked again. The recording was that of champion bush poet Bushie Thompson. A hero and legend.
Bushie has a silky almost cultured voice quite different from his swaggie exterior. His poetry is superb. Country music supermen Eric Bogle, James Blundell, and Troy Cassar-Daley, all love his work. A scruffy grey beard, broad-brimmed hat, bushman’s coat, faded jeans with a knee torn out, and on this day bare feet. He’s his own man.
Six hundred and fifty kilometres west of Brisbane, I was in the presence of bush royalty. I asked if I could have a picture taken with him to accompany the signed CD. He put on his thongs for the photo.
Continuing west on the Bulloo Highway, I listened. The demise of a farmer losing his land was sad; the end of a swaggie’s best friend, his dog, really got me. Bushie had done his job.
I stopped at Eulo, population 40, but on this day had a few more as cattle and emus walked the main street. Between Bushie and the emus, I knew no drought or flood could ever stop the Outback being just right.
Click here to see the emus walking the streets of Eulo