A remarkable memoir detailing a heroic and unswerving commitment to renew the severely degraded land on Wooleen, a massive pastoral property in Western Australia’s southern rangelands.
The outback conjures many images that the Australian psyche is built upon. Its grand vistas of sweeping dusty plains and its evocation of a tough pioneering spirit form the foundation of our prosperous culture. But these romantic visions often hide the stark environmental, economic, and social problems that have inadvertently been left in the wake of our collective past.
Through retelling the struggle of his family amid droughts, financial ruin, depression, and death, David Pollock exposes the modern-day realities of managing a remote outback station. Forced by a sense of moral responsibility, he set out on an uncharted course to restore the 153,000 hectares of degraded leasehold land that he felt he was obliged to manage on behalf of the Australian people. Then, just at the point when that course seemed certain to fail, the project was saved by the generosity and faith of everyday Australians.
This is an urgent story of political irresponsibility, bureaucratic obstinacy, industrial monopolisation, and, above all, ecological illiteracy in a vast segment of the Australian continent. It is a familiar story of overexploitation. Yet it is also a story of the extraordinary ability of the natural environment to repair itself, given the chance.
After over a decade of his hard-won insights, Pollock outlines in The Wooleen Way a specific and comprehensive plan to reverse the ecological damage done to the pastoral resource since European colonisation. He also emphasises the economic and social necessity of carrying it out, and of curbing the conquering human spirit so that it aligns with the subtle power of the natural landscape.
‘Written in simple, accessible language devoid of cant or dogma, this is a work of bracing intellectual honesty. All Australians who take environmental issues seriously must read this book.’ 4.5 STARS
Chris Saliba, Books+Publishing
View all reviews
‘With passion, wisdom, and keen observation, David Pollock has conducted a master class of regenerative rangeland instruction, supported by a do-able plan. The Wooleen Way should be read and absorbed by every agricultural/environment minister in the country and by their departmental staffs, whilst the principles outlined should be taught in all our agricultural colleges.’
Major General Michael Jeffery, AC, CVO, MC, former governor-general of Australia and former governor of Western Australia
‘David tells his story with detail, care, humour and an endearing vulnerability. This 360-page paperback is a personal story of a man with a deeply rural heart and love of the land who wants to see it return to its former glory ... It’s a great read for lovers of autobiographies or anyone who wants to understand rural Australia, and particularly vital for anyone interested in livestock production in semi arid country.’
R.M. Williams Outback
‘By asking difficult questions and following the advice of ecologists who were working against received wisdom, Pollock has managed to bring water back to Wooleen Lake, attract native wildlife, build soil health, and make muddied rivers run clear. Pollock pulls no punches. He questions whether land essentially owned by banks can ever be sustained as a public resource, and criticises government policy that favours short-term profit over environmental restoration and Indigenous land management.’
Michael McLoughlin, Readings
The Wooleen Way is an engaging, must-read for anyone managing land in this nation. It will both challenge and reassure all farmers.’
Sarah Hudson, Weekly Times