BOORAGOON author Lannah Sawers-Diggins is bridging the gap with the outback, set to self-publish Red Dust Dreams later this year.
The manuscript, and her work capturing the domestic stories of isolated station owners and managers, is nominated for two award categories in the WA Regional Achievement and Community Awards.
Now a self-professed city slicker, Sawers-Diggins grew up on a sheep farm between Adelaide and Broken Hill, studying through School of the Air before completing high school in Adelaide.
Tired of that city, she travelled and returned to Australia via the west, falling in love with Perth.
When her father died, she determined to finish the book he had begun on the family’s history and 17 years later did just that, discovering an interest in book writing.
She determined to combine her writing skills with her love of the outback, visiting many remote stations over a four-year period to collect stories and photographs.
“The idea of the book is to try to do my bit to raise the image of the outback,” she said.
Sawers-Diggins said an attack via social media nearly stopped her in her tracks when someone feared she may covertly photograph livestock, but she was spurred on by support from stations owners.
“I was looking at employment, education, entertainment, transport and even sewage and how they treat it,” she said.
Sawers-Diggins passion for writing began on the sheep farm where a family of 15 children on the station’s boundary were keen letter writers.
“I would see these thick letters coming in and thought I would like to get letters like that.”
She began writing to pen pals and continues to write to people across the world, also contributing to a few online publications.
She describes the book as a “labour of love” and has others in the pipeline.
“I’ve found my niche in life I think,” she said.
“I’ve met some amazing people and it has been the biggest learning curve.”
Sawers-Diggins has also overcome a few dangerous situations, recalling one night where miscommunication meant she spent three hours in the middle of the night without somewhere to stay.
She had also seen back packers who needed to do their research better, hopping off buses poorly dressed for the conditions, with no one to collect them, and expecting mobile phone reception.
“The land is unforgiving,” she said.