Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


From the Heart

Rachael Treasure - kelpie trainer, cattle farmer, jillaroo - couldn't live anywhere but in the country. "I never wanted to be a city girl," she says. "I can drink a jug of beer in one hit - that's the kind of girl I am."

ImageBut visits to the city have become a 'necessary evil' for Rachael, 33, who is now having to get used to being another kind of girl - the best-selling author type. Her first novel, Jillaroo, which tells the story of a young woman pushed off her Victorian high-country family farm by an old-fashioned father, eventually returning as a skilled jillaroo to save the farm and family from ruin, has struck a chord with readers Australia wide. Going into its seventh print run after selling over 20,000 copies in its first three months, Jillaroo catapulted Rachael from her life in Fingal in central Tasmania to the literary world of book launches and promotional tours that included top billing at the 2002 Melbourne Writers' Festival.

Safely back on home soil and surrounded by friends and family at the Hobart launch of Jillaroo, Rachael has an eloquent answer and a smile for everybody among the eclectic mix of farmers, city workers and a few homespun writer types.

"My friends like to take the piss out of the literary world," Rachael explains. But she is not afraid to send herself up, either. Her work has been featured in literary journals, but when asked about other publications she jokes, "I once appeared in Boars & Babes with a dead pig and a rifle - does that count?"

ImageJokes aside, Rachael admits she plays the 'country girl' role to avoid having to appear intelligent. "All that literary stuff - I can do it, analyse and so forth, but I don't really like playing that game," she explains. "My friends, my family are what's important, what's real. Yes, the literary world is wonderful, but I really wanted to write about my rural heritage."
Rachael's farming relatives look slightly uncomfortable in the city bookshop. "Most of my rels - they're the ones with the stubbies, hiding in the corner - they couldn't really remember the last time they actually read a book!" Rachael says. "But I wanted to show people that our rural life is rich, alive, well and complex - not like McLeod's Daughters [a Channel 9 television series] would have you believe." Story end

Full story: OUTBACK, February/March 2003

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