This is the extraordinary story of an indomitable Australian woman going to the back of beyond and triumphing over adversity. It is a story about bush people and their generosity, filled with wonderful characters. Most of all, it is the story of a woman's love for her man and the adventure it took her on.
When 22-year-old Jenny Old followed her heart to the vastness of the Gulf of Carpentaria, she had no idea of the primitive conditions she'd find herself in. Often her only contact with the outside world was through her two-way radio. Stretched to the limits, she achieved more than she ever thought herself capable of. With every setback and in the toughest of times when the odds seemed insurmountable, she learnt to dust herself off, find a smile and just keep on going.
For eighteen years Jenny and Rick battled flood, drought, cyclones and personal hardship. Yet their world was a big as the landscape in which they lived, filled as it was with generosity, wonderful characters and the joy of life. At McAllister they established an oasis for their family and friends.
From her childhood in Deniliquin to boarding school in Sydney, to becoming a reluctant nurse in Melbourne; meeting the ‘amigos’ and then venturing forth into the unknown as innocent nurses abroad.
Follow Jenny on her magnificent journey around 1960’s Europe and beyond, on a bus called Dennis. Imagine cooking spaghetti on a sidewalk in Cannes or crossing the Sahara Desert. Being questioned by soldiers in East Berlin before ‘The Wall’ fell. Dodging the riots in France, Spain, Britain and the spreading unrest across Europe as it begins to prosper and expand.
This story tells of living and working in London in the 1960’s, travelling abroad, lasting friendships, the social life, and of course, the love affair. How will it end?
Brought up on a comfortable farm in the Riverina, at twenty-two, Jenny Bull fell in love with Rick Old and went to live and work with him on his property, McAllister, in the Gulf of Carpentaria. There, she faced incredible hardship, living in a hut with not even basic necessities. Her only contact with the outside world was a two-way radio. In this vast empty landscape, she battled drought, flood, fire, and cyclones. For eighteen years she and Rick struggled to stay on in the Gulf, eventually triumphantly turning McAllister into a thriving oasis.
AN EXCERPT FROM INNOCENT NURSES ABROAD
Little did we know, our fun was about to begin. Howard, who was our navigator for the day, followed the map we had been given, directing us to Hitler’s Bunker. We drove into an area between two large, wire gates, which were open. It was rather surprising that there was nobody around.
All of a sudden, two motorcycles with armed soldiers arrived., waving us to the side of the road. Howard willingly obliged. Maybe there was a visiting dignitary coming by? This will be interesting. I wonder who it is?
The mood on the bus moved from curiosity to apprehension. Dennis and his anxious occupants were surrounded by four military jeeps filled with menacing
soldiers armed with machine guns. Six of them leapt out of the vehicles, with their ugly guns directed at us. The guards on top of the Wall trained their guns on us as well. It was very obvious that we were the point of interest, but why?
There was an angry conversation in German, which nobody could understand. But we realised it wasn’t good news by the tone, which was far from welcoming.
It was obvious that our three bewildered men were to be taken somewhere, who knows where?
It was with sinking hearts we watched the jeep disappear at high speed, leaving us damsels in distress in the care of machine gun wielding, grim East German soldiers, not having any idea what we had done to warrant such aggressive reaction from our host country……………