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Rural Reads: Frauke Bolten-Boshammer’s favourite books about strong, outback women

November 19, 2018

About the Author

Frauke Bolten-Boshammer arrived with her family in Kununurra, WA, in 1981 and launched a jewellery shop in town in the early 90s. After starting out as a display cabinet in a Kununurra gift shop, her business, Kimberley Fine Diamonds marked its 25th anniversary in 2016. Two and a half decades into business, its clientele now reads
as a who’s who of Kimberley visitors — Nicole Kidman, Baz Luhrmann, Hugh Jackman. While the pink stones caught her eye immediately after migrating from Germany to the Kimberley 30 years ago, it wasn’t until a visit by a friend, a jeweller, that the idea for opening a diamond shop was born. It was always her dream to have handmade jewellery featuring the East Kimberley’s most famous export — diamonds. With the Argyle Diamond Mine, the world’s biggest producer of pink diamonds, on her doorstep, Mrs Bolten-Boshammer said the idea to sell them made sense.

Purchase a copy of A Diamond in the Dust here 

Read our review here 

From Strength to Strength by Sara Henderson

As tough, spirited, warm and funny as the woman herself, From Strength to Strength is the inspirational story of Sara Henderson’s extraordinary courage and determination.

In 1959, Sara met American war hero and shipping magnate Charles Henderson III. Three years after their marriage, Charles presented Sara with her new home, a tin shack in a million acres of red dust. Bullo River.

With very little to lose, Sara and her daughters, Marlee and Danielle, took up the challenge of rebuilding Bullo River … with such tremendous results that in 1991 Sara was named the Businesswoman of the Year. This best-selling autobiography of Sara’s story has touched the hearts of people all over Australia.

In the Middle of Nowhere by Terry Underwood

In the Middle of Nowhere is a story of beating the odds, of the power of love and the strength of family ties to overcome every obstacle.

In the Middle of Nowhere is a story of beating the odds, of the power of love and the strength of family ties to overcome every obstacle. It is a story told with warmth and a knowledge of the bush, its people, and the issues facing the Northern Territory of Australia today.

The Outback Midwife by Beth McRae

Outback Midwife is the story of Beth McRae’s 40 years as a midwife, from her terrifying first day witnessing a birth as a naïve student nurse to her training as a midwife – the days when the words ‘birth plan’ were unheard of and what women wanted was a long way from being part of any plan – to the outback.

At a time when most people are thinking about slowing down, Beth decides to move to a remote Aboriginal community in Arnhem Land to embark on a whole other adventure.

Outback Heroines by Sue Williams

From horse whispering to crocodile hunting to single-handedly changing an 80-kilo flat tyre on a road train in 40-degree heat…there is nothing these modern-day outback women can’t do.

But when it comes to hardship and heartbreak, they’ve endured far more than their fair share. Living and working in some of the most remote spots in the world, they’ve had to become experts at turning tragedy into triumph.

This book is a tribute to the great Australian Outback from those who live and work at the heart of it.

When it Rains by Maggie MacKellar

The heart-wrenching but triumphant story of rebuilding a life and a family.

When Maggie’s vibrant young husband, father to a five-year-old daughter and an unborn son, dies tragically, Maggie is left widowed and due to give birth three months later to their second child. Then her beloved mother, backbone of the family, mother to three children, grandmother to two, dies suddenly of aggressive cancer.

When It Rains is a meditation on grief and the vagaries of the human condition, and a stunning memoir about piecing back together a life, and moving forward, one step at a time.

Great Australian Outback Nurses Stories by Bill ‘Swampy’ Marsh

With hearts as big as the outback, rural and remote nurses are a dedicated and gutsy bunch who work selflessly to care for their communities, often in isolated and inhospitable conditions, with few resources but plenty of experience, courage and care.

This memorable and eye-opening collection of real-life accounts from nurses in the Australian bush is by turns inspiring, poignant, heartbreaking and hilarious – and Swampy should know. It was while he was researching this book he had a near-fatal fall from a cliff in Kakadu, and experienced first-hand the skill and heroism of these outback nurses in extraordinary situations.

A Sunburnt Childhood by Toni Tapp Coutts

Toni Tapp grew up on the massive Killarney Station, where her stepfather, Bill Tapp, was a cattle king. But there was no ‘big house’ here – Toni did not grow up in a large homestead. She lived in a shack that had no electricity and no running water. The oppressive climate of the Territory – either wet or dry – tested everyone. Fish were known to rain from the sky and sometimes good men drank too much and drowned trying to cross swollen rivers.

Toni’s love of the natural world and of people alike has resulted in a tender portrait of a life that many people would consider tough. She brings vividly to the page a story seldom seen: a Territory childhood, with all its colour, characters and contradictions.

The Washerwoman’s Dream by Hilarie Lindsay

The epic true story of the indomitable Winifred Steger and her extraordinary life in 19th century outback Australia.

Winifred Steger travelled to Australia with her father in the 1880s when he took up a land grant in north Queensland. The grant proved to be worthless, and faced with poverty, endless backbreaking work and isolation, Winifred’s father spiralled into depression and alcoholism.

The Washerwoman’s Dream is the story of a remarkable woman with a tenacious spirit, and is now an enduring Australian classic. Pieced together by Hilarie Lindsay from Winifred’s memoirs, short stories, letters and unpublished novels, this is an account of the amazing life of a forgotten Australian writer.


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