In BACK ON THE WOOL TRACK, Michelle Grattan traces the footsteps of pre- eminent journalist and war historian C.E.W Bean. In 1909, Bean was commissioned by the Sydney Morning Herald to write a series of articles on the wool industry in western New South Wales. The articles were later compiled into a book and published as ON THE WOOL TRACK which went on to become an Australian classic. (Continually in print until 1966.) Now, almost 100 years later, Michelle Grattan traces Bean s footsteps and paints a fascinating picture of the Far West in 21st century Australia. Like Bean, whose descriptions brought to life the characters who inhabited this harsh, arid region, BACK ON THE WOOL TRACK is about people. Grattan visits the wool country and tracks down descendants of people Bean met during his travels and she observes the modern shearers, doing an old job in a new world. As Bean brought the outback to his city readers in 1909, Grattan interprets the Western Division for contemporary Australians. BACK ON THE WOOL TRACK is a vivid and sensitive portrayal of this delicate country that responds like a piano to whatever touches it .
MICHELLE GRATTAN has been a political journalist in Canberra since 1971. She was editor of The Canberra Times and has written for The Age, The Australian Financial Review, and The Sydney Morning Herald. She is currently a columnist at The Age and does political commentary for the ABC's Radio National. In 2004, Michelle was awarded an Order of Australia for her services to journalism. She has a long- held interest in the country.