Monday, September 10, 2012

Outback Heart

This was an interesting book and one that I hadn't known of the story. Written as a sort of autobiography it is also about the Authors first husband and life in outback Australia.

Outback Heart

Joanne Van Os was 19 when she first met the handsome and charismatic Rod Ansell, later known as 'the original Crocodile Dundee' (Rod was the idea behind the character ‘Crocodile Dundee’). 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 god, 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 mustering wild cattle and buffalo and living a 19th century lifestyle in remote parts of the Northern Territory,

But as time went on Joanne came to realise that Rod was both a complicated and deeply troubled man. Ultimately, however, their marriage broke down, and it was then that Rod's life started to go off the rails. 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 was tragically cut short when: 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.

Containing wonderful colour photographs, OUTBACK HEART captures the Territory outback life on paper: the dust, the heat, the struggle and the larger-than-life characters that will keep you reading till the last page. Joanne captures the outback life but she also tells a deeply personal 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.
Joanne van Os was born in 1955, and grew up in Melbourne. She moved to the Northern Territory when she was 20 and has never looked back. Her first book, OUTBACK HEART, is a best-selling memoir about life with her first husband, the 'Real Crocodile Dundee' Rod Ansell, and his tragic end in 1999. She followed this book with three children's novels, all set in the far north of Australia and written for the 10 - 14 age group. A keen photographer and illustrator she lives with her husband Lex Silvester and daughter on a yacht in Darwin, NT, and continues to write. Her most recent novel, THE SECRET OF THE LONELY ISLES, was published in February 2011. She has two adult sons, Callum and Sean.


  1. This looks very interesting. I never knew that Crocodile Dundee was based on a real person.

  2. Neither did I.
    There was controversy over Holden using Rod's story and Rod was not allowed to use the Crocodile Dundee name.