David Gilchrist is an Australian writer. His work has appeared in Australian Geographic, The Independent (UK), The Courier-Mail, The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Canberra Times, The West Australian, The New Zealand Herald, Inside Sport, Out There Magazine and RM Williams Outback Magazine. David lives just north of Brisbane at Petrie on Moreton Bay. He can’t yet ride horses or catch bulls.
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The Kokotunga Kid David Gilchrist
“One of the most athletic riders I have ever seen. He could walk off a bucking horse as it dropped its head and jump back on before the horse looked up.”
- Equestrian identity and widow of bushman’s outfitter RM Williams, Erica Williams.
Alywn Torenbeek’s 1940s boyhood in the outback town of Kokotunga was spent chasing wild horses, catching Death Adders (otherwise known as the Kokotunga Snake), and following his dream of becoming a rodeo champion. Meanwhile the world was at war and the prospect of Japanese invasion was real. At the age of 14, Alwyn, known around town as the Kokotunga Kid, left home for good. He took with him a bushman’s spirit, an uncanny natural riding ability and determination to succeed. With that and the support of his family, Alwyn became a national champion and an international champion all before he was 21. The Kokotunga Kid follows Alwyn’s life through his adventures as a rodeo roughrider, stockman drover and family man. After an horrific accident that nearly killed him, Alwyn also established a stockman’s school to teach underprivileged teens to become Jackeroos and Jilleroos. Alwyn lists fellow Australian bush legends like RM Williams and Aboriginal elder and fellow rodeo champion Wally Mailman as his close friends. Still riding in his 70s, Alwyn shares his life’s journey with co-author and journalist David Gilchrist in an Australian bush story told with raucous Outback humour and wisdom.
Australia 2013 · Penguin
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