The women who helped to settle Queensland's outback were courageous and enterprising. They created homes from rough slab dwellings, raised families, established flower and vegetable gardens in the wild bush and learned to communicate with the Aborigines. There were long, lonely days spent watching rain sheet across the plains for months during the wet season, there was the fear of bushfires and the hardship of drought. Yet there was also the enjoyment of picnic races, afternoon tea parties and camping trips and visits to town for supplies. Jane Bardsley was one of Queensland's pioneer settlers. Born in Clermont, Queensland in 1877, she married Tom Atherton in 1895 and went to live with him at Midlothian in the Gulf Country. Over the next forty years they ran sheep and cattle stations and dairy and sugar farms near Mackay, Bowen, Maroochydore and Toowoomba. Jane's letters to her friend Althea, written with a naive charm, reveal the excitement and the harshness of station life in Queensland's Gulf Country and northern coastal regions at the turn of the century.


Across the Years by Jane Bardsley