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Andamooka Bill and the Lights on the Hill

Andamooka Bill and the Lights on the Hill describes men’s relationships to each other in an outback opal town. The banter, the grit, the gossip, the toughness and underneath it all, the informal supports that enable the men to front up each morning for an iced coffee and a chat about the weather and the news. Their camaraderie belies their rough appearance and speech.

Heather says, “A bit more than five years ago, I was escaping the freezing Barossa winter by holidaying in Andamooka. I was there for five weeks to care for a lovely dog while the grumpy house owner was overseas. The front verandah was set up so I could experiment with encaustic art. Every day I had a morning routine of playing with the beeswax and colours in the sunshine; toasties for lunch and a tidy up of the yard along with the occasional game of football with Puss (the dog). Every afternoon Puss and I would find a new place to watch the sunset. Every evening I was wrapped in my doona, reading. It gets chilly at night in the arid zone.

I’d been there about a week, and apart from finding the 2G network a bit tedious, I was enjoying the sunshine and arty experimentation.

I received a message from the house owner, asking me if I was ok, because no one had seen me around and they were wondering if I was still alive. The instruction was ‘so you’d better get down to the bottle shop at 9am tomorrow morning’.

Dutifully, I attended at the Bottle Shop. This was my real introduction to everything Andamooka. I was treated to local knowledge and told where to go to get the best photos (oh, yes, it had been noted where I’d been driving for sunsets and that Puss was always with me). It seems the routine was to buy an iced coffee, to have a chat with Bottleshop Bob, to throw a bottle cap for his dog (who I decided was Bottlecap Dog) then join the locals outside in the sunshine leaning on a bonnet to review world and local events. This was the inspiration for this book.”

Written by Heather Gordon
ISBN: 9780648823933
Published: 2022
Created in Australia
Available in e-book