When Leonie Norrington’s son was in year six, he asked her to spell the word “because”. She couldn’t, and so she left her life working outside, and went back to school. After a course in remedial English, she sat year 12 again and fell in love with English literature. She went on from there to do a degree in journalism. She sees much Australian children’s literature as Euro-centric, and essentially urban. If stories are allowed out into the bush, it’s clear they’re in a fearful, and dangerous place. Norrington wants to change that; wants to “present the outback, as we who live here see it - as normal, comfortable, home - a place where our culture is immersed in the land, where our families are strengthened by our living layer upon layer, generation upon generation on the same country - a place where we rejoice in the changes of the seasons and the spirits that are the land.”
She has written several children’s books set in the outback, amongst which is one story which features horses, The Last Muster.
Finding the book: tricky to find. It’s no longer in print, and was not printed in either the US or UK.
This book has adventure, wild horses, musters and getting lost, but it’s also about ownership. Who owns the land? And who owns stories? Jandamarra hid out on the station a century before. For the white family who lived there, he was a threat; for his people, a freedom fighter.