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A Bunch of Battlers

Raintonightclearingtomorrow”Theannouncer’svoice
stopped abruptly as Pete switched the radio off.
“Rain”Billyexclaimedexcitedly(notwantingtomissouton
anythinghehadbeenlisteningwithPete)“IknowwhereI’m
sleepingthen”hedashedoffandcalled“Overhere!Look!”Pete
and Robyn went after him.
A cheeky face peered at them from a hollow log.
“Billy!Comeoutofthere!”Robynorderedgrabbinghimbythe
jumper she pulled him out. Billy was too surprised to protest.
“Therecouldbered-backsorsnakesinthere”Robynwas
worried. Pete examined the log.
“It’sokay”hesoothed“But next time, little brother, ask me to
check out your cubbies first. Now I need you to help me put up
ourtentsowedon’tgetwettonight”
An early morning ride through the sweet smelling freshly washed
bush bought them to Nyngan. Here they shopped, collected mail,
and posted off their completed lessons.
Much later, as the day turned to evening, the children sat beside
a waterhole 20 kilometres out of the town, opening their mail.
“Readmyletter!Readmyletter!”demandedBillywavingMr
White’snotesinPete’sface“Lookstickers!Lookstamps!”Billy
was so thrilled that he hopped from one foot to the other as Pete
readtheletteraloud“Readitagain!”Petelaughedashedidso
Robyn read her letter silently, and then passed it over to Pete.
Dear Robyn, [Mr White had written]
Your family reminded me of pioneers. You are Outback
Overlanders going in search of a future, like the overlanders of a
centuryago...”
“OutbackOverlanders!”musedPete“WellIguesswearetoo”
He felt a glow of pride, and sat gazing over the water as the light
faded.
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