Friday, July 1, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: An Outback Life

Title: An Outback Life

Author: Mary Groves

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

RRP: $32.99

ISBN: 9781742377056

Release Date: June 2011

Pages: 344


All I could think of as my heart thumped in my chest and the rumble of 900 stampeding buffalo rocked my vehicle was, 'Strewth! Am I in trouble now!'

In An Outback Life, Mary Groves describes the heart-breaking isolation, the hard work and the rises and falls in her family fortunes as they battle to survive in the Top End.

Mary was just 14 when her family moved to the Northern Territory from Melbourne. In her early 20s, she met Joe Groves - a cattleman, horse breaker, drover and rodeo rider. Mary and Joe fell in love and raised four children while leading an exciting and challenging life on an array of cattle stations.

During her 40 years in the outback, Mary faced death, disaster and disappointments with remarkable resilience and stoicism. She learned to operate helicopters, cattle trucks and anything else it took to help keep her family afloat, proving that if you want something badly enough you need tenacity, perseverance and - most importantly - a sense of humour.

An earthy tale of love, hope, loss and survival in the outback, Mary tells her story at a lively pace, with one entertaining yarn after another.


Born in Melbourne, Mary Groves moved to the Northern Territory with her family when she was 14. In her early 20s she married Joe, a rodeo rider, and they went on to have four children and live on an array of cattle stations and run a variety of different businesses in the Top End. Now in her early sixties, Mary lives near the Gold Coast, Queensland.


An Outback Life is a great Aussie yarn by a woman who walked the walk and talked the talk. It was great to read the story of Mary Groves and the hardship often faced in the Australian bush, and not from the perspective of a bloke. We’ve all read, or heard of, the tales of many early settles or bushmen who did it tough making a crust in the outback, but what about the women, the wives or daughters of these blokes.

Well An Outback Life is just this.

I really found Groves’ story to be both exciting and heartbreaking, with the trials and tribulations described.

Great Aussie yarn and thoroughly enjoyable.

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