A Kiwi’s Stories of Misadventure, Mayhem and Mining

By Mike Bellamy

Since I was in primary school I had a strong interest in the Australian Outback and still do 60 years later. Here I am, having just finished my latest book on the topic with a head full of ‘d words’ from the outback – dongas, drugs, drinking, dozers, D9Ls, D10s, D11s, drainage, ditch digging and dodgy practices of both mine workers and mine managers.

Those who have worked in the mines of Western Australia will enjoy and respect Mike’s memories and of the tough lives lived by those with backbone in the harsh conditions.

Mike tells his story in an easy to read, straightforward, ‘warts ‘n all’ manner in the style of the outback, where you speak your mind and don’t suffer fools, although you get to meet plenty of these in this book. The script is easy, relaxing reading, the print will spread out so that the pages roll by quickly. I suspect the reading level would be about 15 years. The only real complex words relate to the different types of mining machines. Very early in the book the reader gets to meet 785s, 773s, 651Es, along with many others, as well as the long road trains. An array of coloured photos of these monsters helps the non-miner readers understand this world.

As well as the mining and machinery challenges there is mother nature’s weather and wildlife to contend with, as well as the interpersonal rivalries and relationships with numerous moments of humour to help make each day and each chapter interesting.

I am now on the lookout for Mike’s earlier book TOUGH COUNTRY – Tales of Bushmen, Bulldozers and Back Country Blokes, written after Mike’s earlier years in New Zealand’s back country during the 70’s and 80’s, where his father took up work wherever he could get it.

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