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COOYAR


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This powerful sweeping love story is set against the majestic beauty of Cooyar Cattle Station, one of the largest properties of its kind in Queensland. Frances is the headstrong only child of wealthy owners Malcolm and Jess McInners and Will Benson is the station’s part-aboriginal head stockman.

From their close childhood friendship to their sudden strong physical attraction to each other in the teenage years the outbreak of WWII changes their lives forever; but never their love.

When Will is reported missing in action presumed dead Frances impulsively marries Arnold Smith, a sailor, before he is deployed on the ill-fated HMAS Vampire. On Arnold’s safe return they settle down on their own cattle property Wongadoo and raise their son Barry.

Meanwhile Will has survived the fighting in Tobruk due to the care of a nomadic Bedouin Tribe. When the war ends and Will discovers Frances has married he stays in the Mediterranean working odd jobs finally settling in Crete.

After years in a presumed happy marriage Arnold embezzles Frances’s fortune and leaves her for a local barmaid. Devastated by the cunning cruelty of Arnold’s betrayal Frances embarks on a dangerous mission to kill them both.

When sudden tragedy and great loss reunite Frances and Will in a way neither could have imagined fate unveils a long kept secret that will bring unexpected happiness to both of them.    

 

In Store Price: $32.95 
Online Price:   $31.95

 

AMAZON

EBOOKS
Ebook version - $AUD9.00 upload.

ISBN:978-0-9945426-7-0      
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 411
Genre: Romance/Historical
Fiction

By the same author

It Begins but Never Ends 2002

Beyond Armageddon 2004

Waves of Torment 2009

An Unbelievable Life – Authorised biography of Lynn Santer2010

 

 


 


Author
-
Sandra L. Rogers
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published:  2016
Language: English


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   Author Profile

Sandra Lorraine Rogers was born in Sydney Australia of Scottish/Russian heritage and finished her senior education at Manly Girls’ High School. Sandra lived many years in Cairns, North Queensland. Also the Greek Island of Santorini for two years where she found the inspiration to write her first book It Begins But Never Ends. She has been living on the Gold Coast now for thirty-four years and has two adult children from a past marriage.

Sandra is an advanced Padi diver and, with her husband Bruce, has dived many shipwrecks around the world. Now retired she is a dedicated swimmer with Miami Masters’ Swimming Club and enthusiastically competes in swim meets around Australia.

Over the years Sandra has been a guest speaker at various Writers’ Groups including the renowned Somerset Celebration of Literature. As well as writing three novels and an authorised biography, she has studied screenplay writing and written four feature-length screenplays; Waves of Torment, The Telemarketer, No Hope in Hell and It Begins But Never Ends along with writing and directing several short films. 

It has been seven years since Sandra wrote her last book and some time ago the idea of Cooyar took hold in her mind. Cooyar Station is a vast cattle property that was once owned by her late mother-in-law Fay McDougall’s family back in the early 1900s. While visiting Cooyar and the surrounding area the inspiration of an outback romance adventure started to grow and after many changes in story lines the result is now in your hands.    

*I truly hope you enjoy reading Cooyar as much as I did writing it.  Sandra Rogers

With love for Fay McDougall (Rogers-Dunn)

 

Introduction to Cooyar

Aboriginal name: Gubi Gubi (land of the wattle)

Cooyar Homestead was built in 1905 by the McDougall family. Their long history started with the arrival of Andrew John McDougall when he came to the Australian Colony of NSW as a free settler aboard the ship Barwell in 1798. From there a large pioneer family grew with many sons running properties and breeding cattle, sheep and horses throughout the vast land. Andrew’s grandson had many properties throughout the Brisbane area and in the mid-1800s, he purchased Cooyar as an outstation, which later became the family seat. The family is too large and widespread to bring in more detail except to mention that my late mother-in-law was Fay McDougall to whom I have dedicated this book. Her parents owned Cooyar Homestead in the early 1900s.

As well as cattle, Fay’s father was a keen horse breeder and bred a colt from one of his mares, Regret. Before this, Regret had won the Cooyar Stakes at Nanango Amateur Racing Club in 1908 and my husband Bruce was fortunate to have inherited the silver tray trophy for that race. The story of old Regret’s colt is Australian history. It is the horse in The Man from Snowy River and is mentioned briefly in this story.

The small town of Cooyar, approximately one mile from the homestead, was established around the same time. The town had a sawmill, the Royal Hotel, a general store, a post office and a bank. Crow’s Nest was the largest small town in the area and the train line went from there to Toowoomba, which was the largest city in the Darling Downs.

While the homestead and visual backdrop is fact, the story itself is fiction and by no means reflects persons living or dead connected to Cooyar. In writing this story, I wanted to capture how life was for people during that era, their struggles and passions with the outback country. I have used historical events that occurred, in particular World War II, with as much accuracy as I have researched, along with family situations during that time. Also some time frames may not be correct as this is a work of fiction and not all true factual history. Various events and situations, while similar to those that may have happened in the area, have come from my imagination and are fiction.

CHAPTER ONE

Sydney 1960

The long wide verandas sweeping graciously around the huge homestead looked in need of a coat of paint, while the corrugated iron roof was showing the first signs of rust. Jack wiped his sweat-covered brow and inspected the brown wet dust on his white linen handkerchief. His nostrils curled up in distaste. What on earth was he doing here! He shoved the handkerchief back into the pocket of his Levi jeans and started to walk towards the majestic bunya tree that seemed to dwarf the huge pencil pines soaring way above the rooftops of Cooyar homestead. Standing beside the trees, he turned around and took in the wide expanse of just a tiny section of the 71,660-acre property, and let out a deep sigh.

“You’re impressive…but you’re not Sydney Harbour,” he said to himself.

Standing six foot two, with olive skin and a rippling physique, it was 19-year-old Jack’s haunting blue eyes that always captured the girls’ attention. His rugged face and bushy hair seemed somehow out of place with the sort of young man that he was.

*

Jack Peters lived in an exclusive high-rise apartment overlooking Sydney Harbour. He had finished senior school with top marks and had just been contemplating university when his parents were both killed in a shocking car accident. Suddenly his life was turned upside down and in more ways than he could ever have imagined. He was an only child and with a distant aunt and uncle who he only saw a few times a year, it was his close school mates constantly by his side who had got him through the heartbreaking tragedy.

It was two months after the funeral when his parents’ solicitor called to talk about ‘something’. The Will had been read to him the week before; he had inherited the family home along with an estate worth approximately three million dollars.

“What is this something else the solicitor wants?” Jack thought as he pushed the button in the elevator to the tenth floor office building. Opening the door, he was greeted by the never-smiling secretary Doris and led into Charles Derwent’s office. Charles stood up from behind his old mahogany desk and smiled at Jack, then walked over and placed a firm caring arm around the young man and gave him a hug.

“Sit down, can I get you something, a coffee, water? How are you, my boy?” he said. Jack hated it when Charles called him boy, but he forced a smile.

“Just…I’m OK…got my mates,” was Jack’s unconvincing reply. Charles cleared his throat and let out a soft “good”. Inside he was in turmoil; shit he hated what had to be said to the bright young man in front of him. Charles rummaged through the files of paper on his desk as he made small talk to cover his nerves.

“What is this ‘something’…what’s happened?” Jack looked Charles in the eye.

There was no easy way to tell him. The solicitor leaned forward and saw the worry in the young man’s eyes.

“Your parents left a letter for you. They left one for me also, not to be opened until a few weeks after their death.” Charles cleared his throat again then continued.

“They wanted you to read the letter after I spoke to you, probably best in your own time.” Jack shifted uneasily on his chair; he had a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach.

“What? What is it?” he said in a raised voice.

“You know your parents loved you with all their hearts. But they had to tell you, it would have been so hard for them...please try to understand.”

Jack cut him short and yelled, “Tell me bloody what?”

With lowered eyes, Charles said as compassionately as he could, “Your parents adopted you.”

*

Standing on his balcony and looking out over the harbour with the many small boats, yachts and ferries going to and fro, Jack remembered only too well that mind-numbing day a year ago. He had struggled through a haze of depression for several months while seeing a councillor and a psychologist. God knows how he got through, but he did. Now what was left was a reserved and guarded young man still raw from the deaths of the parents he adored. But he did have another side, a stronger more determined part that would put the adoption fact away and only live with the beautiful memories of those he considered his real mum and dad. Birth parents meant nothing to him, end of story. Now it was time to live his life, maybe buy a farm, travel for a while, and then decide on university or whatever.

Jack walked inside, poured himself a coffee, picked up the morning paper and started to read the news. The sound of his phone ringing took his eyes away from the paper; he leaned backwards and grabbed the receiver. It was his mate Justin reminding him they were meeting up for drinks about seven at his place. “Yep, thanks for the reminder, see ya then,” he replied. The real estate section loomed up at him as he flipped through the paper. For some reason, his eyes were drawn to the auction pages. There were the usual stately homes, various properties around Sydney, and then he turned the page.

A full page took up a historical Queensland property for auction on 3rd September, two weeks away. The photo of a large elegant homestead taken in the early 1900s occupied half the page. It was called Cooyar and was near a small town of the same name. As Jack read about the huge property, he wondered where on earth Cooyar was, and more importantly, why he was interested anyway. He stopped reading and flipped to the next page, starting to feel interested in buying a small farm not too far from Sydney. In the course of about half an hour and another cup of coffee Jack was again back looking at the advertisement for Cooyar. Still questioning why he would consider buying a place in Queensland and one so large, he started to accept the fact that yes, he wanted to look at it. What was the harm, he thought; he’d just fly up on the weekend and take a look.

*

This property seemed a world away from Sydney, like a foreign country. Jack had never travelled out of New South Wales, even though as a young child he remembered he’d always been asking his parents if they would take him to the country. He wanted to see the wide open spaces. “Well, you’ve sure got them now!” he said to himself as he continued to stroll past the bunya tree and through the old rock fence that surrounded the homestead, down a dry grassy slope. In front was a section thick with Spinifex grass. For some reason, this didn’t seem to bother him and he strode through it towards the far cattle yards.

There were several large sheds and five cattle yards with a large loading ramp that would have had thousands of cattle pass through them over the years. Placing his hands on the posts of the fence, Jack thought about men loading the cattle and what life would have been like back in those times.

There was a dozen or so cattle in the next yard, and he walked around the fence towards them, inhaling the unfamiliar smell of cattle dung hanging in the dry dusty air. He flipped away a few flies from his face as he leaned on the railing and peered at the black cattle. He didn’t have a clue what sort they were; to him cattle were cattle. Some you ate and some you milked! He suppressed a giggle at how little he knew about the Australian outback and the animals. Funny though, he had started to relax and was really enjoying the day.

From out of nowhere a blue cattle dog came up beside him. Jack looked down and saw it was a female.

“So where did you come from, mate?” The dog wagged her tail and started to sniff Jack’s legs. She gave a little bark and wagged her tail again as Jack knelt down to pat her.

Continuing to walk around the vast cattle yards with the dog close beside him, Jack thought to himself why he had never bothered to have a dog when he liked them so much. He checked his watch; he had about 20 minutes before the auction was due to start. The crowd of 20 or so buyers was scattered around the property, though most were looking through the homestead. He realised he hadn’t even looked inside yet.

Turning around to make his way back towards the homestead, Jack stopped and took in the vast beauty surrounding him. To the left, past the open space of Spinifex grass, there were wide rich green fields of lucerne. Tall gumtrees were scattered as far as the eye could see, with a few wattle trees and the occasional ghost gum hauntingly reaching for the sky. And the sky was so blue, blue and empty and still. No planes, no high-rises, no pollution, just the occasional sound of birds. To the right and just beyond the last shed near the cattle yards stood a huge bottle tree and close by a pepperina tree. Jack remembered the names of all the trees. He had asked about them when he’d first arrived. He also noticed the large blue and white hydrangeas, wild daisies and small purple flowers that were bordering rock gardens closer to the homestead. From this distance they were just coloured specks. The cattle dog stood close to his leg and then placed her paw on his foot, making eye contact as if to say ‘I know how you’re feeling’.

A deep stillness filled the air as Jack inhaled deeply and closed his eyes for a moment, taking in the essence that was Cooyar. When he opened them he was looking directly at the far bottle tree and a cold shiver passed through his body. Suddenly from behind the tree there was what appeared to be an old Aboriginal looking directly at him. Jack blinked his eyes then rubbed them as the dog started to bark loudly and wag her tail. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing: an Aboriginal wearing only what seemed to be a loincloth and something around his neck. And what the hell! Holding a long spear! This was not on, he reasoned.

With the dog still barking, though not as loudly, Jack walked slowly towards the bottle tree and the tall dark stranger. At about thirty feet from each other, the dog stopped barking; they all stood looking at each other intently. The strange stillness still hung around as the old Aboriginal smiled at Jack, a long wide smile. “You, you child of this land,” he said, pointing a long finger at him. Jack felt strange and leaned down and patted the dog for reassurance, “What do you think he wants, mate?” The dog wagged her tail yet again and gave a soft yap, not a bark. When Jack looked up, the tall dark stranger had disappeared.

The loud ringing of a bell blasted through the property and quickly brought Jack back to the reason he was here. The bell advised potential buyers they had only five minutes before the auction started. The past 15 minutes or so had gone by in a bit of a haze. Now he was running up towards the homestead with the dog hot on his heels, at times passing him and leading him on.

 

 


 

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