Great Australian Stories

Amazing Grace /
Great Australian Bush Priests Stories
—Stories of faith and friendship from outback Australia

Cover Amazing Grace

Priests, pastors, and preachers play a vital part in the lives of people in remote and regional Australia. Often from the city, they are posted to places they have never even heard of to provide spritual care for communities over areas larger than they could ever imagine. No matter their religion, they are all committed to helping people in the busy—whatever way they can! They shear sheep, put up fences, travel hundreds of kilometers to visit their parishioners, act as counsellors, set up schools and programs, and advocate for Aboriginal and asylum seeker rights.

Cover Great Australian Bush Priests Stories

The term 'Bible bashing' took on new meaning in our household…Mum used to suffer from bunions; that is until she started bashing them with the heavy family Bible, believing the Lord's weight behind the Lord's word could move anything from mountains to bunions.

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Great Australian Outback School Stories

Cover Great Austrlian Outback School Stories

This collection perfectly captures the experience of life growing up in the outback. Whether you loved school or not, these stories will bring a smile to your face and maybe even a tear to your eye, as students and teachers alike share their yarns and memories of a time gone by.

…this little kid, he spun around at me and he snapped, 'Piss off, Miss.'
Of course, I immediately replied with, 'Excuse me. In this school we always use our best manners when we talk to teachers and adults. So what should we say then?'
And this little kid, well, he looked up at me all sheepish and he said, 'Well then, Miss, piss off, PLEASE.'

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Great Australian CWA Stories (including 90 classic recipes)

Cover Great Australian CWA Stories

'She can't swim, she's a bit afraid of the water and she's also got two bung knees. But she just gets in there and paddles. And that's the character of the CWA, isn't it?'

Put your hand up if you think the Country Women's Association is a tea-and-scones group of women who sit around tables and chat away. Wrong! ? as these stories reveal, these big-hearted, fun-loving, practical women are the backbone of communities throughout Australia. Think drought relief, rural health programs, care for newly arrived immigrants, outback education, women standing up and taking on politicians, women with international reputations. CWA women dig bogged vehicles out of sand dunes, look after the lost and lonely, speak at national events, and can still, at the end of the day, serve up a plate of scones just out of the oven and a strong cup of tea.'

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The ABC Book of Great Aussie Stories for Young People

Cover The ABC Book of Great Aussie Stories for Young People

'If you've got a minute to spare I'll more than gladly relate to you the real, true, fair-dinkum, ridgy-didge, authentic story.'
(ABC Books 2010)

Imagine droving thousands of cattle across the vast outback for months, living under the stars without any parents around. Lots of people in this collection have done just that. You'll hear great stories about fast trains running away without drivers, learn how to shear a sheep (and how not to!) and read about the flying doctor service arriving just in the nick of time. Some stories need to be read to be believed.

Bill 'Swampy' Marsh is one of Australia's most popular storytellers - he knows a good story when he hears it and now he has gathered together a collection of real Aussie adventures for younger people.

Richard Baillie–2MCE Bathurst—'A ball-tearer of a book.'

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Great Australian Stories: Outback Towns and Pubs

Cover Great Australian Stories: Outback Towns and Pubs

The people you'll meet will touch your heart as Swampy brings to life all the drama and delight of life in outback Australia.

"Long after the last tale has been told, you'll still hear the laughter from the pub and the crash of a drunken donkey falling into a trench, and recall the time…they found this bloke, sitting in the main street at 3 o'clock in the morning, hammering one of those survey pegs in the ground. So they said, 'What the hell are you doing?' And this drunken feller replies, 'I'm driving a peg into the arsehole of the world.'"
(ABC Books 2009)

Award-winning writer Bill 'Swampy' Marsh collects yarns that get us in, boots and all. He gives us back our childhood and shares those precious memories of an Australia that's passing into legend.

Radio National (Australia Wide)–Evenings with Christopher Lawrence–re: audio of Great Australian Stories: Outback Towns and Pubs—'Some good ones have come in already. One from Marshall, in Rosebery, who was listening to our Outback Towns and Pubs story…He says, 'That was the best bit of storytelling-poetry I have ever heard.' 'Thanks to school,' he said, 'I inherited a healthy loathing of poetry. I may have had a life-changing experience here.'

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Great Australian Railway Stories

Railway Stories    Railway Stories

'So what's yer name?' asked the train driver.
'Charlie, sir.'
'I don't address my firemen by their Christian names, son. Give me your surname.'
'Darling, sir.'
'Okay, Charlie, start shovelling.'

(ABC Books 2005, new edition June 2008)

ABC Books—'Where explorers and settlers went in Australia, the railways followed. Small towns were linked like beads on a string by the railways: it was the way these communities stayed alive. Bill' Swampy' Marsh has brought together another enthralling collection of first-hand accounts, of tales from the tracks and the railway sidings, from the engines and the guard boxes, the pubs and the carriages.'

Peter Goers (arts critic and broadcaster)—'Beautiful stories; little vignettes of people's lives ... and that's what (Bill's) cleverness is, in the way (he) tells these tales, or re-tells them, that, just in a couple of pages you get the sense of the person and that person's whole life goes into that one yarn.'

Justine Bashford (Limelight)—'This is a collection of stories about people who thought rules were meant to be broken, who were suspicious of bureaucracy. It's about the spirit of the Australians who simply made things happen.'

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Great Australian Droving Stories

Droving Stories    Droving Stories

So yes, I did have the smarty ones that came out droving. But though I might be a woman, I can still pack a punch. Too right I can. And what's more I knew where to hit, too–Bang–right on the chin and down they'd go. Oh, I've decked a few blokes. By jeez I have.
(ABC Books 2003 and new 2007 edition)

Peter Brewer (Canberra Times)—'This book sets the record straight; and in the process (Bill 'Swampy' Marsh's) subjects' insight gives us, the modern-day readers, a greater respect for life on the road. There are dozens of gems here.'

Steve Hodder (Weekend Liberal–Dubbo and the Orana Region)—'Bill 'Swampy' Marsh has a passion for Australiana, evident in this compilation.'

Barrier Daily Truth (Broken Hill)—'(Bill 'Swampy' Marsh)–'One of Australia's most popular storyteller-writers.'

John Wright/Russell Barnsley (Radio Bay–FM QLD)—'The result is a fascinating view of a lifestyle most of us know little about. Bill tells the tales with a wry humour…also, it's not nostalgic–it happens every day in our great country.'

Christopher Bantick (Country Living–Albury, Horsham, Swan Hill)—'Bill 'Swampy' Marsh is one of a band of writers and singers striving to keep Australian bush history alive. This saddle bag of tales will delight and move readers and make them laugh out loud.'

Merry Wickes (Bonzer!–Online Monthly Journal)—'Bill Marsh has done us a great service…and as a result we get some very frank reports about the harshness and isolation of droving life, as well as the good times…it's a book that's very easy to dip into but once I got started I found it hard to put down.'

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Great Australian Shearing Stories

Shearing Stories    Shearing Stories

The boss comes over and he says to the learner, "Hey, you should've cleaned those bloody sheep up better, they've still got a lotta wool on their legs." "But boss," the learner replies, "it's gonna be a bad year for snakes so if there's still wool on their legs they won't get bitten." And the boss says to the learner, "Well, if you took a bit of bloody wool off their eyes they'd be able to see the bloody snakes!" '
(ABC Books 2001 and new 2007 edition)

Christopher Bantick (Canberra Times)—'…shearers have been, since the blade days, the subject of poems, ballads, stories and films…Great Australian Shearing Stories by Bill Marsh, provides a valuable addition to the crop of (this) shearing literature.'

Midland Express—'Shear reading enjoyment! Yes, award-winning writer/performer of stories, songs and plays, Bill "Swampy" Marsh has produced a beaut collection of shearing stories.'

Telegraph—'…brings to life the Australian outback in this wonderful collection.'

The Chronicle—'Swampy offers some great little Aussie yarns.'

Don Petersen (The Courier Mail)—'Great Australian Shearing Stories…you can't get more fair dinkum than that. These (stories) are guidebooks to his country. Go find him.'

Tony Maniaty (Weekend Australian)—'…the blokes that Bill 'Swampy' Marsh talks about aren't clumsy; some have been shearing since they were fourteen. What's fascinating is how little has changed: the Chips Rafferty doubles, the heat and flies and–in the inimitable poetry of one character–"those iron-fleeced bastards of sheep".'

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