Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Out of the swamp countryOut of the swamp country

The Townsend family is one of many American families who, in the 1960s, couldn't resist the challenges and opportunities in northern Australia. Today, more than 40 years later, they are still there, regarded as locals in the pastoral industry.

Story and photos John Denman

Ricky Ford's mustering chopper buzzes the crowd below for the third time, and another load of chocolate Easter eggs showers down on the kids below. "It's a family tradition," says Maria Townsend. "We started it at Labelle, and now we do it here as well." Every year since mustering choppers have been a part of station life for the Townsends, this is how the kids get their Easter eggs.

Out of the swamp countryLast Easter, it was party time at the homestead on Tanumbirini Station. Henry and Maria Townsend had recently taken over the station, and both had recently passed their 50-year milestones. The neighbours had come from a wide arc of the Territory; other guests travelled from as far as Victoria. Tents and tarps and swags were scattered, and under the verandah of the homestead the Townsends gathered with many of their friends.

Tanumbirini is the latest of stations the Townsends have owned in the Territory since emigrating from the United States in 1962. First, they took up land near Darwin six years after William Asa Townsend and one of his three sons, Charlie, first came to Australia in search of suitable pastoral country. Story end

Full story Issue 34 April/May 2004

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