Author: Lachlan Hughson
Publisher: Aurora House, 2019
In many ways this captivating book describes the relationship between the author and his much loved Australian Outback.
In travels rivalling those of Odysseus in extent, the author takes us across the vast expanse of the ancient Australian continent, mixing geological insights, historical background, and personal experiences with vivid descriptions of nature in all its forms – the land masses, the geological formations, the wildlife, the flora, the night sky, the scents, the feelings under foot, the awe inspiring gorges (with Ormiston Gorge being the author’s clear favourite), the swims in the cool water holes – the whole plethora of nature’s offerings.
The key theme of the book being that we should seek physical and psychological replenishment in nature, not in the material world. The author’s experience in the investment banking industry, personally suffering the fall-outs from the 9/11 attacks and the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, underline this theme.
Whilst the Australian Outback can be a harsh and forbidding place, often conjuring up fear in people’s minds even when just speaking about it, let alone travelling in it, the author shows us its other, less threatening, and often rawly beautiful aspects.
The author points also to the successes of those early explorers who worked with the Outback rather than against it. Operating light and fast with agility and the capacity to adapt to the environment rather than equipping a large over-burdened expedition and vainly attempting impose their order upon nature. In this the author is perhaps sending a message to the modern world that if we wish to survive as a species we need to cease vainly challenging nature and come to understand that by working with nature, adapting to the natural world rather than trying to impose our will upon it, we will survive and thrive.
Overall, an uplifting and inspiring book casting a net of ideas and insights as wide and challenging as its subject – the Australian Outback.