Joanne van Os was just twenty-two when she met Rod Ansell. At twenty-three Rod was already a legend in Australia and around the world, having survived alone for two months without supplies in one of the harshest and most remote parts of northern Australia. To Joanne, Rod was a a genuine hero who could do anything, could make anything out of nothing, told the funniest yarns, had a philosophy on everything. She married him, and they had two beautiful sons who idolised their father. Together they lived the tough life of outback bull catchers and cattle musterers. But as time went on Joanne came to realise that Rod was both a complicated and deeply troubled man. For the sake of her sons she never gave up on Rod, even after their divorce, but just how far he'd gone only became apparent when his life ended in tragedy: out of his mind on drugs, Rod became involved in a shootout in which a young police office was killed. 'How does someone, whose extraordinary story of survival in the wild inspired so many Australians, become a psychotic, drug-crazed gunman?' Joanne asks.
OUTBACK HEART captures the Territory life on paper: the dust, the heat, the struggle and the larger-than-life characters. But it's also a deeply moving and powerful story of a love affair and a marriage, and the pain when it all falls apart. It's the story of Rod Ansell, but even more it is Joanne's story, of how a young, naive woman grows up the hard way, and has the most exhilarating and the most heartbreaking times doing it.
Born and bred in Melbourne, Joanne Van Os moved to the Territory when she was 20 and has never looked back. She has two adult sons, Callum and Sean. A keen photographer and illustrator, Joanne lives in Darwin with her husband and daughter.