McAllister

McAllister – 234 square miles of beef grazing land in the Gulf of Carpentaria, 90kms south-west of Normanton, 415kms from Mt Isa.

McAllister – a rugged outback Aussie landscape which is defined by thousands of heads of livestock, drought, cyclones and endless hard work and challenges.

McAllister – home to Jenny & Rick Old and a host of Jackeroos, Jillaroos and a constantly changing landscape of guests.

McAllister – a place so incredible you’d name a book after it!

In the rainy season McAllister was often isolated and when the roads were impassable, light plane or helicopter were the only options for transportation in or out. Jenny & Rick as young loves and newlyweds worked the land and managed to build it, from the ground up. Together they put in 18 years of hard work on the land. Rick & Jenny Old also later built the Burke and Wills Roadhouse, between Normanton & Cloncurry. For Jenny, Rick and their children, the two-way radio, the flying doctors, the School of the Air and the warmth and generosity of outback folk forge links and bonds with concrete foundations. No telephone. No television. A constant stream of guests and visitors. Existence at McAllister is larger than life. This heartfelt memoir successfully portrays the tyranny of distance that seems to simultaneously isolate the occupants of the outback and unite them.

After reading the memoir, I am in awe of the life that Jenny & Rick and family have lived. Everyday “routine” activities such as shopping for supplies, cooking, pregnancies and medical issues, child-rearing and schooling all become tasks of inestimable challenge, which to Jenny & Rick are “normal”. Sleeping out in swags,  living in a shed, cooking on a 44 gallon drum, mustering, branding livestock and endless hours of physical hard work.

This story is delivered with Australian warmth, humour and honesty.  Jenny Old’s memoir of her eighteen years at McAllister is thought provoking, eye opening and genuinely heart warming.