The following is an excerpt from the book ‘Ridgeview Station’, which you can purchase here.
Many of Peter and Kelsie Dalton’s friends thought they were crazy when they bought Ridgeview Station. But five years on, their hard work, help from Kelsie’s parents, and record rainfall have them in high spirits as the summer muster approaches.
Realising they’re going to need more help this season, Peter rings around the neighbouring stations to try and find a good worker. After a glowing recommendation, Alexi arrives to give them a hand – and is not at all what they’d expected . . .
Everything is going smoothly with the muster before disaster strikes and the Dalton’s find themselves battling to save their livestock, their property and their lives.
An entertaining yarn set on a vast outback property peopled with colourful and authentic characters, Ridgeview Station is about love, loss and the spirit of the bush.
Jack leaned back against the bonnet of his LandCruiser, staring at the horizon beyond their dirt airstrip. Graham could have driven over but, like Jack, he never missed an opportunity to fly.
A movement nearby caught Jack’s eye, and he watched as a kangaroo hopped over to graze on the edge of the strip. He’d need to look out for the roo as the plane came in, otherwise things could get messy.
Jack lit a smoke, thinking about an odd remark that his son-in-law had made the day before. Graham had called to tell them what time he expected to arrive, and then Pete had said he’d got the strong impression that Graham was hiding something about the backpacker. Jack wondered what it could be. Could Alexi be some sort of vegan, animal-loving hippy on a crusade to save poor persecuted sheep from nasty farmers? He’d once come across a bloke like that, back when they’d been on the coast, and it had taken all his self-control not to lock him in a pen with twenty wild rams and then ask him if he still thought they were defenceless.
Of course, Graham wouldn’t put up with a bloke like that either.
The buzzing of a light aircraft interrupted Jack’s thoughts. He glanced up to see Graham’s blue Cessna passing over the homestead, then circling the airstrip. No doubt Graham had one eye on the lifeless windsock. Jack checked for the roo, but it seemed to have disappeared. He waited as Graham landed the plane on the runway with only a few small bounces. As the plane taxied towards him, Jack saw two heads peering over its engine bay. From this distance and with his eyes, he couldn’t quite make out Graham’s passenger. After the propeller had come to a stop, the two of them began clambering out, and Graham ran around to help his passenger.
Jack started over towards them. Then he stopped dead in his tracks and watched the second person alight from the plane with Graham’s assistance. ‘Holy shit,’ he whispered.
Michael Trant is a WA country boy just beginning his new life as an author, following a wide range of careers from marine draftsman to farmer, and pastoralist to FIFO pot-washer. Michael is now based in Perth, having grown up on the family farm at Eneabba, before moving to Geraldton then out to Yalgoo. His debut novel Ridgeview Station was inspired by his time on Gabyon Station, and he highly recommends a visit for those curious about life on a sheep station.
When he’s not writing, Michael can be found plucking away at his guitar in attempts to replicate his idol Tommy Emmanuel, or swearing at his beloved Fremantle Dockers. He still travels to Three Springs to drive tractors ‘just to keep my hand in,’ but despite the advent of autosteer machines, refrains from taking the laptop to write, as that would not end well for power poles, fences or trees.
Michael began writing with his highly successful blog – ‘A Farmers Way of Life,’ where he used humour and anecdotes to give an insight into life on a family farm. The blog is now archived, and he has commenced work on Wydjawanna Writer, taking the name from the original title of Ridgeview Station.