This is a tale of a farm boy who grew up in ‘the world of the rural poor, [which] remained what it had been for generations; a day’s walk in radius, a tight, well-trodden loop between home, field, church, and, finally, a crowded family grave plot’. It is the story of James Cook’s dramatic escape from that loop, told by another equally restless soul, American journalist Tony Horwitz, who spent eighteenth months travelling the Pacific in the wake of Cook’s three great voyages of discovery.
Australia’s frontier legend is alive and well, as is John Flynn’s contribution to it in these two new books. In Australia’s Flying Doctors, Richard Woldendorp’s glorious photographs celebrate a medical service that reaches about eighty per cent of the vast Australian landmass. They are complemented by Roger McDonald’s economical personal vignettes of outback spirit.