Frank Dalby Davison’s Bush Diary

Chapter 45

Published Dec, 2013

Dusty the book by Frank Dalby Davison (1893-1970) was published by Angus & Robertson in 1946. In 1983 an Australian film of the book was made. Dusty is about the friendship between a drover, played by Bill Kerr and his part-dingo dog, Dusty. Directed by, John Richardson; Produced by Gil Brealey; Written by Sonia Borg; Based on novel by Frank Davison; Starring Bill Kerr; Distributed by Umbrella Entertainment; Release date 1983; Country Australia

In 1951, Frank Dalby Davison (1893-1970) and his second wife Marie, purchased a small (60 acre) farm at Arthurs Creek as their permanent home. They established a dairy and pig farm on the property, which was aptly named ‘Folding Hills’.

Frank was best known as the author of two classic animal stories, ‘Man-Shy’, first published in 1931, and ‘Dusty’, published by Angus & Robertson in 1946. Dusty is the story of a part-dingo, red kelpie sheep dog and Man-Shy, the story of an untameable red heifer. A film version of Dusty, by director/producer John Richardson, was released in 1983.

Other well-known works include ‘The Wells of Beersheba’ (1933) about the Australian Light Horse in Palestine, ‘The Woman at the Mill’ (1940), a collection of short stories, and ‘The Road to  Yesterday’ (1964), based on his early bush experience.

At Folding Hills Frank completed his massive novel about city life and sexual behaviour, ‘The White Thorntree’, published as a two volume limited edition in 1968. He also contributed a regular feature to The Argus about bush life in what he referred to as the old settled district of Lintonvale*. The feature was published under the heading ‘Frank Dalby Davison’s Bush Diary’.

Frank Dalby Davison died at the Diamond Valley hospital, Greensborough on 24 May 1970, at the age of seventy-seven. His remains were cremated and ashes spread at Folding Hills under what was then a large gum tree. Marie Davison, who was twenty years younger, shared her love of farming with Frank and for many years continued to live on the farm. Her ashes were spread near Frank’s on the folding hills.

In 1993 Dusty & Man-Shy were published in a combined edition for the Reader’s Digest World’s Best Reading collection.

* In the early days, the Parish of Linton encompassed the rolling hills and creek flats at the junction of the Deep Creek, Running Creek and Arthurs Creek.

Source : Notes prepared for talk by Bruce G. Draper given to Arthurs Creek District Landcare Group in December 2013.

Looking across the Running Creek Valley from Minchin's Road. Photo credit Bruce G. Draper, November 2003
‘Folding Hills’ was the name of Frank Davison's farm at Arthur's Creek in Victoria. In his writings, Frank Dalby Davison referred to Arthurs Creek as Lintonvale. In the early days, the Parish of Linton encompassed the rolling hills and creek flats at the junction of the Deep Creek, Running Creek and Arthurs Creek. The photographs were taken at Folding Hills by John Barnes in 1959. Credit Westerly Review, University of Western Australia Press 1967
The Argus, 6 Oct 1950, Frank Dalby Davison's BUSH DIARY: Fruit of beauty. In his writings, Frank Dalby Davison referred to Arthurs Creek as Lintonvale. For the 1983 Australian film of Frank Dalby Davison's Dusty, the Lobb family, now in Romsey provided their farm and kitchen for filming
This plaque was presented to the Arthurs Creek District Landcare Group by Nillumbik Council at the end of 2013 and has been mounted on timber in the Arthurs Creek Mechanics Institute Hall. In recognition of 20 years of service protecting and conserving the environmental values of the local area. Photo credit Arthurs Creek Mechanics Institute Collection and Arthurs Creek District Landcare Group
In December 2013 the Arthurs Creek District Landcare Group held its end of year event at the Arthurs Creek Mechanics Institute, with a talk by guest speaker Bruce G. Draper about the late Arthurs Creek resident, Frank Dalby Davison, and performances by the Chocolate Lilies Choir. Photo credit Arthurs Creek District Landcare Group
Arthurs Creek District Landcare Group is an active Landcare Group of 120 plus members involved in all things to do with caring for the land, including erosion control, revegetation, enhancing waterways, and fighting environmental weeds. Photo credit www.landcarevic.org.au/groups/portphillipwesternport/arthurs-creek

Click here for more about the Arthurs Creek District Landcare Group

Running Creek near Ardchattan. In the early days, the Parish of Linton encompassed the rolling hills and creek flats at the junction of the Deep Creek, Running Creek and Arthurs Creek. Photo credit Bruce G. Draper, September 2003

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