Families the driving force behind Aussie outback icons
WHEN Patsy Kemp wrote a memoir about life as the daughter of an Aussie drover, she didn't anticipate the impact it would have on rural women.
Kemp said her book, The Drover's Daughter, provided ground-breaking insight into life in the Australian outback for wives and families of drovers.
"It's a story never told before, it had to be written,” she said.
Kemp, who visited the Warwick Library this week to share her book, wrote the book over two years while working in a nursing home.
She said droving was a major part of Australia's identity, but there was a lack of conversation when it came to the families who travelled with them.
"There's many books with nothing about women and children,” she said.
During the 1950s and '60s, Kemp grew up on sheep stock routes in Queensland and New South Wales, alongside her drover dad Mick.
The Toowoomba woman describes her time in the outback as difficult.
"It wasn't an easy life,” she said.
The family was challenged by drought and heat, which resonates with people of Warwick.
"Sometimes there was no water...the only choice was dry camping,” she said.
When it did rain, flooding was difficult as a family of nine living out of a truck.
Education was also a challenge and Kemp finished school in Year 5 or 6.
"When you're travelling every day, you don't get a lot of time (to study),” she said.
The author said the best part of her unusual childhood was the sense of freedom with her parents, six siblings, four dogs, six horses and 8000 sheep.
"Rather an interesting lifestyle,” she said.
Kemp reveals the motive behind the autobiography was to reminisce and connect with some previously forgotten memories.
She is working on the second instalment of her memoir.
The Drover's Daughter is available at www.patsykempdrover.com and costs $25.