Child of the Pilbara: My Early Life on Bamboo Springs

Thetraveljunkie.org – Child of the Pilbara is a collection stories written by Bill Quin about his memoirs, born in Port Hedland in 1941 and growing up on Bamboo Springs, a pastoral station in the Pilbara, Western Australia. Bill Quin never lost his passion for rural life, becoming a well-respected agricultural editor for the West Australian Newspaper before leaving his journalism career to start a PR consultancy firm.

Bill Quin, grew up on an outback sheep station, Bamboo Springs, 60km from Marble Bar.

He went onto lead the State Government inquiry into the racing industry, as well as being appointed to review the Kimberley cattle industry, Pilbara infrastructure and a five year state tourism plan.

Quin’s posthumously published stories provide a fascinating insight into Pilbara life and his lively anecdotes reflect his passion for the racing industry and his affinity with the Aboriginal people he grew up with on the station.

“But surprisingly, my first emotions did not relate to my own chilhood. They went back a long time before, to a clear, hot, still day in 1908. There is no homestead, no outbuildings, nothing of permanence yet. A large dray loaded with equipment, luggage and paraphernalia of all manner stands where there is now a graceful, albeit deserted, homestead.” on page 8.

“Isolation is synonymous with the Australian outback.

Bamboo Springs was physically isolated and because we were not on a route between two key centres, few visitors came our way…

Isolation was a relative thing. When you made a commitment to live in this country, intrinsic to your decision was the fact that there were going to be long periods when you could suffer from a lack of human contact and loneliness. My father was by nature a gregarious man, yet I think this was not a great burden for him.

He had a meaningful rapport with the Aboriginal people and though their backgrounds were as far apart as Bamboo Springs from his hometown of Melbourne, they shared a sense of humour so that they never tired of each other’s company. It was a rapport based on a constant banter, feigned criticism, and some degree of nuance. The humour betweet them sustained itself and was often repeated.” on page 28.

“I lived in a nether world, between the natural inclinations of childhood and the expectations and obligation of the adult world around me.”

“He too had heard the stories, and he too had come to wonder if the stories I told of my childhood with these people were indeed the imaginings rather than the realities of our treatment of, and relationship with the Aboriginal people.”

“Another great falsehood of which much is made is the fact that Aboriginal people were not paid formal wages for the work they did on stations until legislation came into being in the 1960s.” In this book, page 52.

“They are called primitive because they did not progress in terms of our description of progress. They did not till, they did not herd, and they did not build. If their lifestyle seemed superficial and basic, their culture was not. Theirs was a culture that we cannot comprehend. Even I who grew up with these people cannot understand a belief system bound up with the natural features around them rather than the influential figures of the past. One of the more unusual aspects of my life has been that I have seen these people through this transition to modern times, sometimes of triumph but often too of degradation and hopelessness.” on page 54.

And, on page 171. “My father was one of seven children born in Melbourne to Charles and Annie Quin, universally referred to by our family as Ma and Pa.

Ma and Pa were of interesting lineage.

Pa’s background was shrouded in some mystery. He was understood to be descended from one of the Earls of Dunraven (Wyndham-Quin), from Limerick in Ireland.”

“”I saw a Japanese raise his sword above his head with two hands. I saw it come down.”… My uncle died a hero and a saint, loyal to his faith, loyal to his country and friends.”” on page 173.

The story about Australian civilians killed on Nauru, HERE.

Child of the Pilbara can be ordered via email at leith@parexcellence.com.au.

Check this book on National Library of Australia on www.catalogue.nla.gov.au.

xxx

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