Waltzing Australia by Tim Borthwick is a new collection of original Australian bush ballads, celebrating the people and the land through 50 poems and stories. Borthwick, a Bronze Swagman-winning writer, draws his inspiration from his days working on the land, inspired by long days droving sheep and cattle or riding on the bike of a motorbike.

Like many writers, Borthwick’s passion for the written word began at a young age. As a boy, he loved to read the poems of Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson, captivated by their ability to tell a story.

“I’d always enjoyed bush poetry, and was intrigued by the way they could tell a story not only in rhyme but in rhythm as well. Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson were probably the greatest influence on my appreciation for rhyming verse, as I was attracted by their ability from a young age and that fascination with rhyme invariably prompted my own attempts,” he said.

Borthwick grew up in western Queensland and currently lives in Toowoomba, which he says is a great source of inspiration for his writing.

“Toowoomba has actually been good from a writing perspective, because the fields from where my inspiration comes has been dramatically expanded. I’ve written more in the past five years than in the previous 12, and  my repertoire has expanded accordingly,” he said.

His newest book portrays the heartbreak, humour and handwork that come with living and working in the bush.

“Living on the land was a fairly solitary existence in some regards and my early writing was probably born from self amusement and satisfaction, on long days behind sheep and cattle et -cetera. Banjo and Henry also obviously had a big impact on my beginning to write and it’s been a good little hobby that has given

 me a good deal of pleasure over the years,” said Borthwick.

These evocative bush verses and the tales behind them shines a light on characters and events from Australia’s pioneering past. His favourite piece in the collection is Preserving the Past.

“It basically tells of the importance of retaining our older peoples’ knowledge, and getting it documented before it all goes to the grave with them,” he said.

Borthwick hopes to continue writing in the future, encountering more of Australia’s stories and portraying them through poetry.

“I have a little private touring company called Timbuktours that I’d like to see gain a bit more traction. Through doing that I’d hope to meet more people, hear their stories and hopefully recreate some of them in the form of verse,” he said.

Waltzing Australia is available from Harper Collins Australia for $35.00.

Read about Australian writer Patti Miller here.