Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Back to the bush

It's truly awesome to see the slightly-built Damien cajole 600 kg of horseflesh into lying down and shutting his eyes like a baby

Story: Kirsty McKenzie
Photos: Ken Brass

ImageFormer Great Outdoors reporter, Bridget Adams, and her partner Damien Curr, are hotting up the Outback Queensland town of Ilfracombe with a unique bush show and historic hotel experience.

As a child growing up on Dagworth Station near Winton in wetern Queensland, Damien Curr wasn't allowed pets that weren't "on the payroll".

"Dad reckoned there was no point in having an animal that didn't earn its keep, so there were no chihuahuas or poodles aropund our place," Damien recalls. "The sheepdogs became my pets. From the age of six or seven I discovered that I could teach the dogs to yard the chooks for me and then I started trying to find other things I could get them to do for me."

The combined experience of living on the historic station where Banjo Paterson wrote Waltzing Matilda and finding he had "a way with animals" have evolved into a hugely successful career for Damien, who has created a show called Back in the Bush which demonstrates horsemanship, working dogs and othern skills in an authentic outback setting of stockyards attached to the century-old Wellshot Hotel at Ilfracombe near Longreach. Damien also takes the show on the road and has strutted his stuff to delighted city audiences at major festivals and agricultural shows all over Australia.

ImageDamien is the first to admit that his life has been blessed with lucky breaks - not the least was the chance meeting with Great Outdoors reporter Bridget Adams, who has become his life mate and mother of their daughter Madeline.

Bridget was sent west to do a swag of bush yarns, including a story on Damien's show in 1997.

The encounter developed into a romance and now something more permanent.

The couple live on Newstead, a sheep property a few kilometres out of Ilfracombe, a whistle-stop town on the Matilda Highway between Barcaldine and Longreach. Story end

Full story: Issue 3, February-March 1999

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