Book gives glimpse of Dingle's dealings

Book gives glimpse of Dingle's dealings

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GOOD READ: Mt Perry axeman and businessman, Arthur Dingle, at the launch of his biography, Never Say Never, with good friends John Boydell and author Richard Apel.

GOOD READ: Mt Perry axeman and businessman, Arthur Dingle, at the launch of his biography, Never Say Never, with good friends John Boydell and author Richard Apel.

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The life to date of Mt Perry cattleman, axeman and business, Arthur Dingle, has been captured in a book.

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ARTHUR Dingle sleeps in the nude.

Not exactly a topic of conversation among the woodchopping fraternity but a true fact in itself.

It's just one of the eyebrow raising snippets to come out of Never Say Never, a biography of Arthur who is one of Queensland's best known axeman.

Launched at the 2016 Bundaberg Show, fittingly in the woodchopping arena, the book has attracted plenty of interest from those who know Arthur or just know the name.

And there are plenty of both.

The book tells of the story of the Mt Perry local's working life in the timber industry and how he built a tree-clearing business from the ground up, despite numerous setbacks and financial troubles.

There are also glimpses into his affinity with other rural industries, such as beef cattle and the development of his Droughtmaster stud.

Arthur, who is adamant everything in the book is "dinky-di true", said he'd never considered his life worthy of book. 

"Not until about 13 years ago when Richard mentioned that if I had any spare time I should put some thoughts down," Arthur said.

"Because in the next 100 years they'll think back and wonder what the hell that little fellow did for a living."

Arthur says the book has had a tremendous response from those who've read it.

The man responsible for putting the words on the page is Arthur's friend of 40-plus years, Richard Apel.

He said people would discover plenty about the Dingle family previously untold.

"There is a whole lot there that nobody knows about Arthur," Richard said.

Richard, who did a writer's course in order to bring himself up to speed with putting a book together, said there was a great sense of accomplishment in being able to hold a physical copy in his hands after some 2.5 years of work. 

"I started to read it and it was as though someone else had written it. That's the feeling of it," Richard said.

He's currently working on another book, Drover's Dust, which he hopes to sell into the American market. 

CHOP ON: Arthur in action doing the sport he loves- woodchopping.

CHOP ON: Arthur in action doing the sport he loves- woodchopping.

In getting the book published, as in his life, Arthur pushed the boundaries of what was possible.

Richard said there were comments and details of Arthur's dealings with banks which had to be omitted on the advice of a lawyer.

Still, the pages are filled with plenty of other stories to amuse and be amazed at.

The hard yakka of his bush work camps; his generosity to family, friends and strangers; his savvy business dealings; trips, travels and adventures; and even the idiosyncrasies that make Arthur the character he is, are all laid bare in his book.

There are insights into his vernacular, with many direct quotes beginning with his familiar "by jove".

Then there are some of his unusual culinary habits.

A breakfast consisting of "Weet-Bix, Corn Flakes, a handful each of raisins and sultanas, plus a couple of bananas, all mixed together in a tin bowl with powdered milk and two tablespoons piled high with sugar" shines through as an example of the simple tastes the bushman takes pleasure in.

His preferred sleeping attire, or lack thereof, gets several mentions throughout, including an incident during a road trip with his startled son-in-law, and another when wild pigs ripped through a bush camp. 

OUTDOOR OFFICE: A shot from the book of the Arvale poisoning camp at Theodore in 1976, a typical setup for Arthur Dingle's timber clearing operation.

OUTDOOR OFFICE: A shot from the book of the Arvale poisoning camp at Theodore in 1976, a typical setup for Arthur Dingle's timber clearing operation.

Not surprisingly, woodchopping gets a mention.  

"There's a bit in there but it's not overdone," Arthur said.

"I've never claimed to be a champion chopper because I've been a middle-of-the-road chopper, and getting down to the bottom end now."

He said he enjoyed the experience of reminiscing over certain events and people he'd come to know.

"I enjoy doing things for other people and especially communities," he said.

Upon reflecting on his working life (he's been retired for about six years now), Arthur said the longevity of people in the workforce was something that had changed, with few people sticking at a job for decades on end.

For now, there are no other books on the horizon for the axeman but as the title suggests: never say never.

"I don't know about another book but I'll get rid of this one first. I've got other things to do yet," he said.

Never Say Never is published by Vivid Publishing.

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