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In Jackaroo, Thornton recalls his years learning the ropes in an era when farm work was still done on horseback. Engaging, candid and often funny, his memoir reveals the hard working lives of the unsung all-rounders of the country.

From choirboy to cowboy . . .
In 1967, fresh from boarding school humiliations, and having lost his father to alcoholism, gangly teen Michael Thornton was packed off to a tough sheep and cattle station to work as a jackaroo. He was to learn the wool trade from the lamb up, under a boss legendary for working his farmhands in an almost military regimen.

Tasked with the dirty, disgusting and downright dangerous jobs, jackaroos are the dogsbodies of our farms. But at Habbies Howe, in central Victoria, somewhere between castrating lambs with his teeth and hauling backbreaking sacks of fertiliser for no obvious purpose, Michael discovered inner strength, and the friendship and male role models he'd craved.

He also earned respect – enough to later walk into a job with the nation's most famous farmer, the Defence Minister and future PM Malcolm Fraser.

In Jackaroo, Thornton recalls his years learning the ropes in an era when farm work was still done on horseback. Engaging, candid and often funny, his memoir reveals the hard working lives of the unsung all-rounders of the country.
'Engaging and energetic.' The Australian

Reviews

'Written with candour and humour, Jackaroo is an absorbing read' – The Age

PRH, PRH

'Engaging and energetic' – Ross Fitzgerald, The Australian

PRH, PRH

'Michael Thornton has renewed my faith in this genre [memoir] with his fantastic stories from outback Australia' – APN regional newspapers

PRH, PRH

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780143567318

    February 22, 2012

    Penguin (AU Adult)

    288 pages

    RRP $24.99

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  • EBook

    9781742533551

    June 27, 2011

    Penguin eBooks (AU Adult)

    288 pages

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