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Fannie Bay to Flemington
Barrie & Jan McMahon
The soul of Australia is captured in its legends. Some we invent, like the Man From Snowy River while others, such as Ned Kelly, we anoint. Animals share this legendary status; Phar Lap and Red Dog have captured our hearts as compellingly as Crocodile Dundee or the Man with the Donkey.
Though we live in cities, our legends stem from our dying bush culture, from the cattle musters, the remote communities and the bush races. The story of Shane Clarke, bushman, horse breaker, trainer and Aussie battler, who arrived in devastated Darwin after cyclone Tracy, and reject horse Undue, illustrates that bush legends regenerate and endure.
Legends are made when the odds are beaten. Such was the case with Darwin trained horse Undue. Never taken seriously except on the Fannie Bay dirt oil track, horse and trainer captured ‘down south’, plundering the stake money and the bookies’ bags to become the only Darwin trained horse ever to win Group 1 races.
Perhaps bush culture is not dying and we are just looking in the wrong place. We need to look from Fannie Bay to Flemington.
WHAT THEY SAY...
We loved every word of it – and we want to buy 5 more copies for family and friends. Ann and Bill Rigg, Nedlands, WA
This should be made into a film. I could just picture the scenes and characters. Margot Huntsman, Penang
I couldn’t put the book down – and went back to it every spare moment I had. Dawn Burton, Como, WA
ABC RADIO INTERVIEW - 1 August, 2011
> True Aussie bush culture lies beneath Darwin Cup