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Versatile Man: The Life and Times of D/Ross, Alexande/Paper/1864650664/S023-F
They called me the versatile man," Don Ross recalls. "I put up windmills, fixed the trucks; I only had to see a thing done once and I could do it. That's how I was."
Born in Barrow Creek, north of Alice Springs, to an Aboriginal mother and a white father, Don grew up on Neutral Junction station between two worlds: the white settler world of his grandfather and other station owners, and the Kaytetye world of his mother's family. He knew both cultures and spoke both languages, and experienced the uneasy tension of living between the two.
Don was an eager eight-year-old when he first started work in the stock camps on his grandfather's cattle station in the early 1920's. In a series of yarns he delights in recalling the many colourful characters who crossed his path, and recollects the arduous and often dangerous life of a stockman.
"I've had some mongrel jobs," Don admits. And the worst? "Shifting bloody cattle. Walking them when it's hot and there's a long way to go to water. Oh gawd, you wonder whether your'e going to make it there, but you keep on going.
The Versatile Man was written by Alexander Donald Pwerle Ross and Terry Whitebeach.
It paints a picture of a bygone era of pastoral industry development and technological change in a frontier world where only the strong, the capable, the resourceful and the adaptable survived. A must for readers of Australian history.