Son's gift becomes hit for outback author

Son's gift becomes hit for outback author

Life & Style

Flinders Ranges pastoralist Anna Nunn has self-published her first children's book, Where is Cowboy Roy's Hat? It has been a hit and good fundraiser for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.


Flinders Ranges station manager's wife Anna Nunn wanted to give her son Roy something special as a gift for his second birthday.

So she wrote him a children's book, Where is Cowboy Roy's Hat?

"I thought Roy had nearly everything and then the idea came into my head, and because it has been so dry here there has been less staff to cook for and look after I had the time," she said.

"Roy's hat is identical to the one in the book so it was special when he recognised it in his copy."

But it is not just Roy, who lives on Wertaloona Station near Arkaroola and loves being outside among the cattle and horses, that enjoys being read Where is Cowboy Roy's Hat? although his copy has a few pages with frayed edges.

In the first two months following the book's launch - and Roy's birthday - about 1000 copies of the book were sold.

"It is very exciting, it is bigger than I ever thought it would be - I didn't realise how much interest there would be in a story about a boy in the outback," Anna said.

The plot follows a young boy Roy living on a dry and dusty outback cattle station and his search for his missing straw hat.

Along the way he encounters animals including a cow, a goat and a kangaroo, which are all beautifully illustrated by Tanja Hasan-Warner from Robe.

"I had been searching for an illustrator but hadn't found the right fit," she said.

"My mum was the principal of Rendelsham Primary and Tanja had done some work there so mum knew she was an artist. I contacted her and she sent through some of her work and it was exactly what I was looking for."

Anna grew up in the state's South East at Rendelsham but took to station life when she had a gap year as a governess on Billa Kalina Station, via Woomera.

She studied a degree in communications, media relations and public relations, which she says has helped her become a self-published author.

In 2016 during a visit to the William Creek pub she met her now-husband Justin.

The couple have been managing Wertaloona, which is owned by the Rowe family from Princess Royal Station at Burra, since mid-2017.

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Anna says living in the bush is no barrier to being an author with all the editing done online.

Each week she sends book orders out in the mail bag.

Where is Cowboy Roy's Hat? is also being stocked at Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, the Miners Crib Cafe Bakery at Blinman, Willow Springs Station at Wilpena, the Pink Roadhouse at Oodnadatta, as well as Sassi Gift Home Living in Millicent.

One dollar from each book sold during October was donated to the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Anna says it is an "amazing" service for those in rural and remote Australia, not only in life-threatening emergencies, but general health care, using the pre-natal and post-natal services during her pregnancy and after Roy was born.

"I have always wanted to do something to help that was more than attending the race days that support the RFDS or putting money in a donation tin," she said.

"As more and more people said they wanted to buy a copy when I was in my pre-launch stage I thought it would be a great way to give back."

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