The Outback - by Leighton B. Watts

A poem that describes the real life in the Australian Outback

I want to share one of my favourite poems with you. I think it really tells about the hardship and problems in the Outback. But it also pictures that trust, relationship and caring is a value that still counts.

Guiding a flock of sheep over the road with a motor bikeGuiding a flock of sheep over the road near Kingoonya, SA

Even if cattle and sheep are often handled with motorbikes, it is hard and dusty work in a hot and remote country.

The Outback Poem

There's a place where daily hardships are the making of a man

Where learning skills come less from books than a knowledge of the land

Where a rough and kindred mateship can be built on work and trust

And a fair day's work reaps just rewards for a fair day's work's a must

Where an unforgiving landscape boasts extremes of flood and drought

And a sheep walks miles 'tween blades of grass or it has to go without

Where the pestilence of rabbit, fox and feral takes its toll

And the red hills rust with iron ore and the valleys seam with coal

Where gold and light-rich opal can be wrested from the earth

And a man can find a solitude to test his very worth

Where a woman's sense of humour is a valued prize and dear

For a woman holds the heart of man when it's more than he can bear

Where a team is all that matters when the river's running rife

And a single strand of radio can be all there is to life

Where age is often listened to for experiences gained

And helping out a neighbour is an ethos much maintained.

It's a place they call The Outback and we're never far apart

For The Outback's not a place at all it's the beating of my heart.

© L.B. Watts

Shearing sheep at Mount Ive stationShearing is hard work

This wonderful poem by Leighton B. Watts was selected by the Australian Outback Development Consortium as the official poem of the Year Of The Outback 2006.

Leighton B. Watts is an Australian singer, songwriter and poet whose heart is in the Outback and the Bush. His songs describe the deserts, the rivers, and the colourful characters you will meet back of beyond.
Thanks Leighton for giving permission to publish the poem.

A rusty gate in Outback NSWStation Gate at the Gibbs Way, NSW

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