Iconic Aussie pair produce ‘Darn a Good Yarn’


There are few organisations that encapsulate the Australian spirit more aptly than the Royal Flying Doctors Service of Australia (RFDS) and the Country Women’s Association of Australia (CWA).

For almost a century, the pair have been working shoulder to shoulder supporting those living in the heart of the country.

So, when they decided to partner to produce a collection of Australian bush yarns this year, the result was a book that they promise will fill you with an array of emotions.

Darn a Good Yarn is a 125-page book filled with 85 stories contributed by those with a rural address.

A week after its official launch, it has already sold 1,500 copies.

The brainchild of RFDS director of communications Lana Mitchell and CWA president Tanya Cameron, the book offers a glimpse into that challenges that come with life on the bush.

“We put a call out for stories three years ago, but an unrelenting drought meant we had to put it on hold, twice,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Then, when Tanya contacted me earlier this year, we thought: ‘Well after fires, floods and a health pandemic, if there was ever a year that needed a few good stories – it’s 2020.’”

Ms Mitchell said submissions for the book had come from young and old.

“There are so many voices, not edited, and each voice presents a unique perspective,” she said.

“They are short snippets that take you into another time, but they all typify the Aussie spirit, that resilience and caring that make us Australian.

“We have a social fabric that is woven tight. Through floods and fires, accidents or whatever it may be, when we get dropped – we bounce.”

After six years working in communications for the RFDS, Ms Mitchell says she has accrued a large collection of people’s stories, hinting there was more than enough for one edition.

“I’ve got so many favourites, it was such a joy to put them all together, and we have had to keep some for a next edition. We’re hoping this will become an annual book.”

‘Biscuit Tin’, a story about bribing a child during an emergency, ‘Help, I’ve killed Michael’, a tale about a tree climbing incident, and the best recipe for scones, are just a few of the trinkets instore for the readers of this book, Ms Mitchell said.

“This book will surprise you, make you laugh out loud, bring joy and maybe shed a tear.

“It is a book about today as much as it is about historical events and the wry sense of humour displayed, in sometimes very severe circumstances, communicates our famous Aussie spirit well.”

Darn a Good Yarn is available through Booktopia, with proceeds going to both RFDS and CWA.