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The Birdsville Track is very arid country between the Simpson Desert and Sturt's Stony Desert in central Australia. Artesian Bores provide a permanent water source that enabled cattle and Drovers to travel the length of the Track, from South-West Queensland to the livestock markets in South Australia. Many people have perished here over the past 100 years or so. The Birdsville Track has recently become a popular tourist attraction, but being so isolated, traversing the harsh country without due care can mean life or death for the inexperienced. The story Battlers and Bushmen is a collection of memories and experiences of a Birdsville Track stockman: growing up and working on the Track during the 1950s and 1960s. The story provides a richly descriptive account of one man's journey being 'on the run'- the term given for people who spend their days mustering, living in Stock Camps, and sleeping under the stars. Peter Daw had much less childhood than was normal in the 1950s. He was born in Port Augusta, South Australia, where he continues to live today. At age 14, his family moved to Mulka Station on the Birdsville Track, where he stayed for the better part of the next decade- foregoing formal education, and instead learning about life and hard work while 'on the run', becoming a Stockman. Now, in his twilight years, he reflects on his experiences: moving from a comfortable childhood, to being a responsible adult, working from daylight to dark - and all before he had hair on his chin! His years on the Track have had great influence over him, even to this day in his retirement. After leaving his life on the land, Peter married and had a family. He became a Plant Attendant at the Port Augusta Power Station until his retirement. His recount of life on the Birdsville Track is his acknowledgement of those who shared their knowledge with him in his early days; a story for those who want to hear of the life and experiences of Australian Bushmen; and, a celebration of all those who have crossed his path and become lifelong friends. ¿The story is in his own words.
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