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A powerful and moving memoir about healing, healthy food and hope by Australia's leading rural writer and environmental entrepreneur.

‘For me, being in a paddock means anything is possible . . .’

Country girl and bestselling novelist Rachael Treasure had worked hard to build a long-dreamed-of lifestyle on her own patch of dirt in Tasmania’s rugged and beautiful wilderness. But through the breakdown of her marriage, Rachael lost her family farm and, in her words, lost her way in life.

Discovering an all-new compass to live by, she took her two kids and her dogs and left the beaten path. Intensive farming, men on the land and women in the home – everywhere Rachael looked she saw ongoing harm to the soil and the foodchain. By going down the dirt roads and getting back to grassroots, she discovered another set of stories about country life in Australia, and a different way to live on the land. From her rebel granny to pioneering farmers and passionate animal handlers, Rachael became inspired by fresh ways to do things.

Down the Dirt Roads starts as a heartfelt and moving insight into the life of a single mother displaced from her home, and becomes a groundbreaking and powerful book about healing, health and hope. Nourishing and sustaining, it presents a practical and positive vision of what life on our land could become.

Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780143786429

    July 17, 2017

    Penguin

    320 pages

    RRP $24.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Trade Paperback

    9780670079438

    October 31, 2016

    Viking

    320 pages

    RRP $35.00

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781760143107

    October 31, 2016

    Penguin eBooks

    336 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Extract

I began my rural journey as a knotty-haired tomboy playing in the singing creeks of southern Tasmania with frogs, tadpoles, skinks, mud and rocks. I had holes ripped in the knees of my hand-me-down boy jeans and would spend hours gazing at tiny living creatures in clear, sparkling water that shone and warbled over moss- and algae-covered creek stones. The Tasmanian land at Runnymede that my father was involved in was undergoing rapid change due to the fact its new owner, a civil engineer, had brought in some big machines to sculpt the landscape from that of marsh and bushland into a farm.

Right from the start there was conflict within me. I was a girl who loved the fairy glades of ferny rocky creek beds that offered a backdrop to my imagination, and yet all around were the ravages of the dozer blades that had fallen ti-tree, wattle and peppermint gums, and dozed sags, ferns, tussocks and rocks. The remnants of a beautiful bushland were windrowed into long giant heaps and left to dry. Then months or years later, on an autumn day when the wind was right, we would gather as a family and watch the burning. I would see graceful huntsmen she-spiders scuttling from the smoke, watch silver-sided skinks panic from log to log and hope with all my heart that any possums, quolls or Tassie devils sleeping in the piles would escape the furnace. Around the heaps the soil had been disced by iron ploughs, then harrowed and then sown with firstly turnips and swede, then later with improved pasture species that were delivered in giant bags from seed companies, and mixed with hard little white lumps of superphosphate fertiliser that was mounded in small mountains in the paddock. Back then the government helped subsidise superphosphate so it was literally bought by the truckload.

Continue Reading
Article
The Sheila from Snowy River

Rachael Treasure explores gender bias in Australia’s country stories.

Q&A
Hidden Treasure

The Down the Dirt Roads author expresses gratitude and awe for our world.

Also by Rachael Treasure

Girl & the Ghost-Grey Mare
The Cattleman's Daughter
The Rouseabout
Jillaroo
The Stockmen

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