Red Dust Rising
By Marion Houldsworth
Ray Fryer says of himself, "I always admired those old-time pioneers, the Duracks and the Buchanans. I wanted to do something like them; something worthwhile." So, when the government resumed the Fryer property for an army training reserve, Ray threw his swag into the back of his truck and headed off to the Northern Territory of Australia.
This is is the story of Ray's 'making something worthwile' of Urapunga, a run-down property on the Roper River. After years of 'reaching up to touch bottom', rough living and hard work, of learning to live in harmony with the tribal Aborigines, of coping with crocodiles in the rivers, diseases among his stock, and of being cut off in the Wet for months at a time, he could at last begin to feel he was 'getting his head above water'. Then came the cattle crash of the 1970s. How Ray faced and overcame this challenge and succeeded in making Urapunga a valuable property is part of this gripping story of a man pitting physical strength, integrity and principles, against the odds.