“Just as the Aboriginal people have a deep connection to the land and the songlines, I feel that same spiritual connection to Killarney.”
In her memoir, ‘A Sunburnt Childhood’, Toni Tapp Coutts celebrates growing up on the cattle station of Killarney with nine siblings and a cast of larger-than-life characters to match the outsized landscape.
She was five years old when her mother, “Tropical Cyclone June”, took the family to live with Bill Tapp, a quiet man with a big vision. Their house was a rickety shed with six posts and no walls. Coutts grew up with the Aboriginal kids who were part of the station community and was taught to hunt and dance by the women elders. While she describes her childhood as a happy one, she doesn’t shy away from the problems that go with isolation, particularly the devastation wrought by alcohol on her parents’ marriage.