Dave Morrell was born in Northam in 1953. He was taught correspondence by his mother and went to several schools in the south-west before travelling north to Bohemia Downs Station with the family at about nine years of age. Since moving to the remote cattle station in Western Australia’s far north-west, the red dirt of the Kimberley has coloured Dave Morrell’s blood and filled his life with adventure.
Schooling was by correspondence on the station, and there was plenty of time to ride mules and horses and muster cattle. He developed a close affinity with the Aboriginal people on the station as they were the extended family.
Dave went to high school and university before returning to the Kimberley in 1978 to establish a veterinary business in Broome, servicing the west Kimberley area.
He was upset to find many of the people he’d grown up with as a kid were now living in various apathetic situations in towns and reserves and beset with alcohol and despair.
This collection of his bush poetry and memoirs portrays a raw and untold history of his home. Often with humour and sometimes full of emotion, Dave combines his own recollections of life in the outback with stories of white colonisation, Aboriginal displacement and tight-knit community bonds. Herein, through poetry and prose, Dave shines light on the immeasurable good of this remote community, as well as the darkness that lurks, often unspoken, on the edges of its history.
The Broome Veterinary business continues to service the towns and communities and cattle stations of the west Kimberley to this day.
Dave remains committed to the veterinary needs of the Kimberley and still nurses a deep sadness for the plight of Aboriginal people in the north. He hopes that in some way, this book will help explain how the events of the past have led to the status quo we experience today.
Johnny James and Other Verses share stories of the real Kimberley, by the Broome vet Dave Morrell.