The Colour of Courage : two years by packhorse along Australia’s National Trail by Sharon Muir Watson (Muir Publications, 1999) is the story of a once in a lifetime trip, beginning at Cooktown in northern Queensland on 12th May 1989 and ending at Healesville just north of Melbourne on 3rd March 1991. Sharon Muir Watson and Ken Roberts were the first people to undertake to travel the entire Bicentennial National Trail as it was so named in 1988 when the trail received a grant from the government. It was promoted as a recreational trail for horse riders, bushwalkers and cyclists. The trail is over 5000 kilometers in length. It winds its way along the Great Dividing Range down the east coast of Australia.

The book highlights many of the difficulties these two riders had, firstly in navigating the trail in its infancy with incomplete maps and secondly due to Sharon and Ken’s inexperience in traveling long distances on horseback. Nevertheless it becomes an amazing adventure as their endurance levels are pushed to the limit and their survival skills severely tested. The book contains a lot of information for future riders but much of this was lost on me as I know so little about horses. I had hoped for a little romance in the book since Sharon and Ken only met a week before they began the ride and they are still together today!

Overall though it is a fascinating tale of a great journey.

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