Welcome to the book launch of Phil's latest book, The Red Dust.

the red dustMy childhood was spent on my parent’s property, west of Griffith on the edge of the Hay plain. This property was one of sixty that were a part of a soldier settlement scheme. It is dated during the 1960s.

In 65 and 66 there was a severe drought. “The Red Dust’ tells the story of the community during this dry time.

Although the novel tackles such issues as isolation, education, distance, social structure, first nation people and the aftermath of WW2 on the settlers, the novel
obsessively deals with the women who followed their husbands into this hash environment.

Marg Stirling, the main character, has difficulty finding her place in this land that offered her little. The story follows her realisation and acceptance of her lot in this
very tough land.

In this novel I have tried to capture the spirit of the outback. It’s extremes, it’s unpredictability, the constant battle to survive but most importantly it’s great peace
and beauty. It is a description of the uniqueness of this land and its effect upon the inhabitants.

It has been written as homage to my parents and the community we were a part of. 

by author Phil Aughey


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IT is easy to see while watching The Exchange why writer-director Phillip Aughey's comedy about two retired country blokes who spend their days drinking in a small-town pub has been an audience-pleaser for a decade.

Loquacious ex-shearer Toby and quieter former boundary rider Cyril turn virtually all the topics in their conversations, from mice plagues to rainfall and vague memories of people they once knew, into amusing arguments that have the ring of truth. Young barman Ron, still viewed as a newcomer to the town after 12 months, listens to their wrangling and tries to resolve their frequent arguments as to whose shout it is, and occasionally falls deep in thought about his own, unstated problems.

I first saw The Exchange in a hotel lounge nine years ago and it has lost none of its charm or truth. The Newcastle Playhouse season is its first in a theatre auditorium after more than 100 pub and club performances and it is just as engaging in a formal theatre space.

The sparks fly between Brad Burgess's Toby and Aughey's Cyril, and Matt McFarlane's introspective Ron has those watching wondering what is going through his mind as he patiently puts up with the two geezers' antics. Leof Kingsford-Smith is Toby and Greg Gorton is Ron at some performances.