How can mere red dirt and stones and scrubby trees and shrubs and rises and fall sin the land and haze and a vast blue sky be so potent? Such was its power, even in intense heat, even at night, sometimes, especially at night, the landscape seized you.
Ian Parkes grew up listening to – and loving – his grandfather’s stories about the bush, so when it came time for him to enter the workforce he was keen to experience life in the outback for himself. From his first job on a remote property he fell in love with the land, forging a lifelong connection with the love that continued long after he settled back in the city to pursue a career in advertising.
A Youth Not Wasted recounts Parkes’ time working on rural properties in the 1950s, from his working alone fencing and mustering, to living alongside fellow workers, days at the races and more. Painting a picture of a time which may have passed, in a setting which in some cases remains unchanged, A Youth Not Wasted will appeal both to those who may have had similar experiences as well as those who may just be intrigued by the difference to their own experiences.
An absorbing memoir.
A Youth Not Wasted, by Ian Parkes
Fourth Estate, an imprint of Harper Collins, 2012
Available from good bookstores or online.