Tom Curtain was horse training around south west WA, a bit down on his luck and, for the first time in his life, with his saddle and kit bag by his side, he stuck out his thumb to hitch hike.
Dressed as he is now, western style, he got plenty of shouts from passing vehicles on South Western Highway near Byford, but only one vehicle stopped.
Not only did Tom McLarty give him a lift, but he got to stay with the family on Blythewood, their beef farm in Pinjarra, which has been in the family more than 170 years, and he got to meet Annabel McLarty.
An urban planner then living in Perth, but who had worked on projects for Port Hedland, Newman and Tom Price, as well as the Peel region, she was down to see the family, and it was the moment that would lead to her joining Tom in the Northern Territory at Katherine Outback Experience, and their marriage. They have a young son, Harry, and another child is expected soon.
The shift from city to Katherine in 2016 might have been a leap of faith, and love, for Annabel, but being in a remote northern landscape seems natural.
For Annabel was born into a sixth generation family which not only took up the land in Pinjarra in 1839 but also was among the first graziers and pastoralists in the Kimberley in the 1880s, when they took up six stations, including Jubilee Downs, Liveringa and Oobagooma.
Read the full story here.
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