Your cart

Close

Total AUD

Checkout

Imprint

  • Hachette Australia
  • Hachette Australia

Back on Track: How one man and his dogs are changing the lives of rural kids

James Knight, Bernie Shakeshaft

2 Reviews

Rated 0

Biography

A thought-provoking and heart-warming story of how one man (and his working dogs) is giving rural kids, on their last chance, a second chance.

As a kid, Bernie Shakeshaft's mischievous and reckless behaviour led him to became known as the wild one of his devout Catholic family. It isn't surprising that his path led him to the Northern Territory, a place where people often go to either lose themselves or find themselves. Bernie, a searcher for his purpose in life, found himself.

He had many jobs, firstly as a ringer on a cattle station owned by the Packer family, and later as a dingo trapper for the Parks and Wildlife Service. Throughout it all, he drank, he swore, he fought, and took chances with his own well-being. But, crucially, he also developed deep connections with the Indigenous people, and it was these connections that helped lay the foundations for what was to come. He worked for youth welfare organisations, and all the while he built up his knowledge about helping wayward youths, particularly those from Indigenous communities.

Years later, Bernie was living in Armidale. He'd been visiting too many kids in prison and going to too many funerals. The usual methods weren't working so that reckless, mischievous kid inside him decided he could do better. He started a youth program called BackTrack, with three aims: To keep them alive, out of jail and chasing their hopes and dreams.

For most, this was their last chance. Combining life skills, education, job preparedness with rural work, Bernie threw in one other factor: dogs! And it works. With the help of these working dogs, the lost boys (and girls) find their way back on track. These days, Backtrack youth tour the country competing in dog-jumping trials. Bernie and the BackTrack team are now supporting other communities in Lake Cargelligo, Broken Hill, Dubbo and Grafton, and have forged a new beginning for over 1000 young people. This one man is making a huge difference.

In BACK ON TRACK, bestselling author James Knight tells Bernie's story and the stories of those whose lives he has saved. It is a powerful reminder that we should never give up on our kids.

'This fella Bernie, he's a good fella, a bit of a genius really. What a great story.' - Russell Crowe

Read More Read Less

Praise for Back on Track: How one man and his dogs are changing the lives of rural kids

  • This fella Bernie, he's a good fella, a bit of a genius really. What a great story. - Russell Crowe about the documentary, BackTrack Boys

  • Fuelled by Shakeshaft's earthy charisma, buoyancy and colourful language, Back on Track interweaves the tale of his reckless, troubled youth and how he found his feet, with vignettes from daily life at BackTrack and the stories of the kids whose lives have been transformed - Sydney Morning Herald

Read More Read Less

Discover more

Left
loading...

Mojgan and Milad tell us what freedom means to them.

loading...

Mojgan tells us about some of her memories in detention.

loading...

Mojgan tells us what this story means to her.

loading...

Mojgan and Milad tell us why they are telling their story.

loading...

Author James Knight tells us about his new book Henry and Banjo

Right
Left
loading...

Mojgan and Milad tell us what freedom means to them.

loading...

Mojgan tells us about some of her memories in detention.

loading...

Mojgan tells us what this story means to her.

loading...

Mojgan and Milad tell us why they are telling their story.

loading...

Author James Knight tells us about his new book Henry and Banjo

Right

James Knight

James Knight has worked in network television, independent documentaries and is a bestselling author. He has written twelve non-fiction books, with topics including cricket, travel, mountaineering, and human-interest biographies. He wrote THE DRAGON'S JOURNEY, an incredible story about Vietnamese boat person Duy Long Nguyen; THE MAN FROM COOLIBAH, the bestselling biography of outback legend Milton Jones; and most recently worked with Sally Faulkner on ALL FOR MY CHILDREN. James lives in Sydney.

Readers also viewed

Left
Right
This website uses cookies. Using this website means you are okay with this but you can find out more and learn how to manage your cookie choices here.Close cookie policy overlay