Author talk: Greg Barron

Community life - 13 February 2018

Mid North Coast author Greg Barron will present a talk on his latest book, Whistler’s Bones, at Kempsey Library this month.

Set in 1880, the book follows the life of Charlie Gaunt, who leaves his home in Bendigo at the age of 15 to sign on as a drover. Two years later, he becomes a key man on one of Australia’s greatest cattle drives - the Durack family’s epic journey from Cooper’s Creek, Queensland to the Kimberley.

Stumbling on Charlie’s largely unknown story, and filling in the gaps with fiction, Greg soon discovered that Charlie Gaunt was a perplexing mix.

“He was a bona fide Australian icon: horseman, drover, fighter, adventurer and all round interesting bloke,” he explains.

“He rode with two of this country’s most enduring legends: Nat Buchanan, and later the Durack family when they packed up their Western Queensland operations and headed for the Kimberley with 7,500 cattle.”

As part of his two-year research for the book, Greg left no article or record untouched.

“Charlie’s sketches that he wrote as an old man for the Northern Standard newspaper were an important source, as was Mary Durack’s book Kings in Grass Castles,” he said.

“I wanted the readers of Whistler’s Bones to feel what it was like to ride across a wild Australia. To feel the fear of lying in a swag at night. To know the arrogance of men who believe that a new land is theirs by birthright, and to ultimately know the pain of Charlie’s later life.”

Greg’s talk will be held at Kempsey Library on Friday 16 February at 10:30am. Light refreshments will be provided. 

Copies of the book will be available to buy on the day. For enquiries, please contact Kempsey Library on 6566 3210 or email

Greg BarronAuthor Greg Barron will be presenting an author talk at Kempsey Library on 16 February