The Road to Goonong



David CoxDAVID COX (1933-) is an internationally acclaimed artist and writer. He was born in Goondiwindi and grew up on sheep and cattle stations in Western Queensland, beginning school through correspondence. Later he attended primary schools in Charleville and Toowoomba, and later Rockhampton Grammar School. As a young man, he worked as a jackaroo on sheep and cattle stations in the Blackall and Quilpie districts of Queensland.

When he turned twenty-one, he 'gave all of that up' and went to London to study art. In 1954 he enrolled at the St Martin's School of Art and while in 'beginners' year', received, from Puffin Books, his first commission for book illustration. His main aim at that time was to be a painter; but he realised in the end that his natural skills lay in story telling through words and drawing. His first story was published by Elizabethan Magazine in London, then by Lighthouse Magazine in New York. David spent eight years in Europe, mostly in the UK, but also some time in France and Spain. When he returned to Australia, worked for many years in the newspaper industry and as head artist for The Courier Mail. In 1978, he won a Walkeley Award for newspaper illustration. He has written many children's books and libretti for children's opera, which he has illustrated, and he has also illustrated numerous books by other authors and has designed sets and costumes for theatre, ballet and opera.

Since 1990, David has worked as a freelance author and illustrator. He is married to Australian composer, Betty Beath and together they have produced a number of songs, song cycles and music theatre pieces. Their most recent collaboration was POVERELLO, a music theatre piece commissioned by the Brisbane Mandolin Orchestra and performed at St John's Cathedral, Brisbane. It is a forty minute work that gives a glimpse into the life of St Francis of Assisi. David wrote the lyrics for some of the songs (others were the words of Carlo Caretto and Brother William SSF) and also a narration, which he also delivered in performance.

His many works include those he has both written and illustrated such as Miss Bunkle's Umbrella (Aurora Press, 1981), Tin Lizzie and Little Nell (Collins 1982), Bossyboots (Bodley Head, 1985), The Drover's Dog (Omnibus, 1995), Hello Puppy!(Penguin, 2003)and those he has illustrated for others such as Patricia Wrightson's The Water-dragons (Puffin, 1999), Gale Cresp's The Biography of Gilbert Alexander Pig (Cygnet, 1999), Mark Svendsen's Captain Me (Lothian, 2002), Narelle Oliver's What a Goat (Omnibus, 2003). Sophie Laguna's Big Ned's Bushwalk (Lothian, 2005), Libby Gleeson's Happy Birthday x 3 (Walker, 2007), Kate Walker's I Hate Books! (Cricket Books, 2007). In over fifty years as an illustrator he has won major awards including having been commended or shortlisted by the CBCA in several awards. Bossyboots won a Children's Choices Magazine Award in the USA and was included, as was Ayu and the Perfect Moon in that country's Children's Choices List. In 2007 he won the Dame Annabel Rankin Award for Services to Children's Literature in Queensland, presented by CBCA (Qld). This year he has also seen his acclaimed 1984 work Ayu and the Perfect Moon re-released as a Walker Classic 25 years after its first publication.

In August 2011 he launches his latest book The Road to Goonong (Allen & Unwin) about growing up on a property near Ambrose outside Gladstone during the Great Depression. The Gladstone Region is thrilled to celebrate his launch with him.

This glorious story of a bush childhood - growing up on the family farm with horses and animals, eccentric neighbours and a loving family - captures the enduring spirit of Australian country people.

Description of Book

Road to GoonongThe road to Goonong was just a pair of wheel tracks packed down by buggies and drays that had travelled that way over the years. It ran through forest and passed by farmhouses and the hut where the Schmidt boys lived. Goonong, our farm, was at the end of the road. We had beef cattle and dairy cattle, and there was plenty of room to play and plenty of horses to ride. It was a time when timber-cutters felled big ironbarks and blacksmiths' hammers rang out from the forge. The skies were always blue over Goonong ... With laid-back charm, bush humour and a spirit of optimism, David Cox captures the joy and freedom, as well as the harsh reality of farming life during the Great Depression.

Information on David Cox
Sheahan-Bright, Robyn 'Know the Author: David Cox' Magpies Vol 22 No 1 March 2007 pp 14-16.



Betty BeathBETTY BEATH is an internationally acclaimed composer. Sponsored by the Fellowship of Australian Composers, Betty represented women composers of Australia at the 3rd International Congress on Women in Music in Mexico City and the concert tour and retreat in the State of Zacatecas in 1984. In that year she was elected to the Executive Board of the International League of Women Composers a position she held till 1994. In 1987 she was invited to take up a Residency at the North Adams State College Massachusetts, USA. Highlights of her career have been the performance of her Songs from the Beasts' Choir (Rumer Godden's translations of poems by Carmen Bernos de Gasztold) at the Carnegie Recital Hall and the Symphony Space, New York, and the performance by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Richard Mills, of the love poem Asmaradana for the Music of Australia program during the Trade and Cultural Mission in Jakarta, AUSTRALIA TODAY INDONESIA 94. Her Lament for Kosovo has been widely performed on the 27th November, 2006 this work opened the program of a Peace Concert held under the patronage of UNESCO in the Konzerthaus Vienna and, most recently by the same orchestra on the 1st November, 2010, in a UNESCO sponsored memorial concert for the first recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Henry Dunant, held in the Festsaal of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna.

Her orchestral works have been performed by The Ruse Philharmonic Orchestra, Bulgaria; the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech Republic; the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the Portland Symphony Orchestra, USA; The All State String Orchestra, Texas: the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, USA; Trinity String Ensemble, Toronto, the Frauen-Kammerorchester von Osterreich, Vienna, Shepherd School of Music Chamber Orchestra, Houston, The Camerata of St John's, Brisbane and the Beijing String Orchestra.

Her work has been recorded by Vienna Modern Masters, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Grevillea and Jade and has been published by Vienna Masterworks, Publications by Wirripang, Wolfhead Music, USA, J. Albert & Son Pty. Ltd., ASMUSE, Allans Publishing, The Keys Press, Five Line Publishing, London, Addison-Wesley, Boolarong Publications, Playlab Press and Beath-Cox Art Enterprises At the present time Betty is serving as State Adviser in Music to the National Council of Women of Queensland.

Further Information