Marianne Van Velzen: Call of the Outback
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Long before Robyn Davidson wrote Tracks, the extraordinary Ernestine Hill was renowned for her intrepid travels across Australia's vast outback. After the birth of her illegitimate son, Ernestine Hill abandoned her comfortable urban life as a journalist for a nomadic one, writing about the country's vast interior and bringing the outback into the popular imagination of Australians. Throughout the 1930s Ernestine's hugely popular stories about Australia's remotest regions appeared in newspapers and journals around the nation. She still remains famous for her bestselling books The Great Australian Loneliness, The Territory, Flying Doctor Calling and My Love Must Wait. Call of the Outback provides a vivid portrait of Ernestine, from the early brilliance she showed as a child in Brisbane to her later life. In particular it evokes her larger-than-life personality, the exotic landscapes she explored and the remarkable characters she met on her travels.