Outback heroines cover


From a woman who wrangles the world’s most deadly reptiles – saltwater crocodiles – for a living, to another who retraced the steps of the tragic Burke & Wills expedition alone with her camels, from a former Miss World who’s at last found peace in her life to a female truck driver who brought up her kids in the cab of her vehicle …

Sue Williams’ latest book, Outback Heroines: True Stories of Hardship, Heartbreak and Resilience was released by Penguin in September 2013, to an audience awestruck by the courage and daring of her latest cast of contemporary women living in some of the most isolated parts of Australia.

Following on from the hugely successful Women of the Outback, Outback Spirit and Welcome to the Outback, Outback Heroines is a collection of the stories of the lives of 16 truly inspirational women. 

All Australians find the Outback an amazing place, but some of the people who’ve made their homes there are even more incredible.

Outback Heroines features some astonishing heroines who’ve endured the deaths of partners and children but who’ve continued to make the best of their lives for the sake of everyone around them. There’ve been others who’ve lived in tents during biting winters or in make-shift shacks in the middle of nowhere just for the love of the land. There’s also one particularly remarkable woman who’s worked as a doctor not only in the red deserts of Northern Australia, but also in Nepal and Antarctica. 

 ”All the women featured in the pages of this book are remarkable. Australia is a country that defines you, so it’s astounding that they’ve managed to make their mark – and what a mark! – in such an unforgiving environment.” Actor Georgie Parker, in her foreword to the book.


  •  Sue’s Left For Dead has been voted by Australian booksellers, authors, publishers and readers one of the top 50 books of the year, and awarded a You Can’t Put Down sticker on the cover in retailers, libraries and online.
  • Father Bob: The Larrikin Priest has become the first book in Australia to be the subject of an online web experience with a mix of interactivity and layered content for a totally immersive experience of the book. Check it out on www.penguin.com.au/true-stories/

Sue’s previous book,Left For Dead, is a harrowing, thrilling and ultimately life-affirming story of the savage attack on Police Sergeant Samantha Barlow and her battle to stay alive and then regain her life and career. It was released on August 21 2013. 

Before that, Sue published Father Bob: The Larrikin Priest, the biography of the controversial Melbourne priest who’s become one of Australia’s most loved, and most loathed, public figures for his outspokenness on all subjects, from asylum-seekers to gay marriage, pedophilia to poverty.   

Before that was Welcome to the Outback, a hilarious account of her own travels around Australia’s Outback as a confirmed cityslicker, completely out of her depth in an Outback boxing ring, on a cattledrive and in an Outback ironwoman contest.

Previously, there was No Time For Fear, starring the indefatigable shark attack survivor, Paul de Gelder. He lost a hand and a leg fighting off a shark while on an anti-terrorism training exercise with the elite clearance divers in Sydney Harbour, but his courage and determination to reclaim his life – and his spot on the frontline – is both amazing and hugely inspiring.

Prior to that was Outback Spirit: Inspiring true stories of Australia’s unsung heroes, which came out at the end of 2010. It’s a look at a group of amazingly gutsy people who are passionate about helping the outback and those living there. With a foreword by Australian Governor-General Quentin Bryce, it’s published by Penguin and is available at all good bookshops.

Outback Spirit was the acclaimed sequel to the phenomenal outback best-seller Women of the Outback, telling the astonishing life stories of 14 remarkable women, from high-achievers to everyday heroes all living out back of beyond, and battling drought, flood, harrowing isolation and often horrific accidents to survive and thrive.

Other books have included Love Is In The Air, about a group of dancers who defy all the odds to achieve excellence and And Then The Darkness: The Disappearance of Peter Falconio and the Trials of Joanne Lees, which was shortlisted for the world’s top crime-writing award, the prestigious international Gold Dagger, and for the highest Australian award for crime writing, the Ned Kelly Award.

Sue’s biographies have also been well-received. Her Peter Ryan: The Inside Story was her compelling tale of Australia’s top corruption-fighting cop; Mean Streets, Kind Heart: The Father Chris Riley Story is about the life of a man who’s been achieving miracles with his work helping homeless youth; and its follow-up World Beyond Tears revealed Father Chris’s work following the 2004 tsunami which devastated parts of South East Asia. Death of a Doctor was the biography of an acclaimed doctor and alternative practitioner struck off in a controversy still having repercussions today.

Her book Apartment Living written with her partner Jimmy Thomson, is still considered the ultimate text for Australia’s movement into medium and high-density living, while her travel book, Getting There – Journeys of an Accidental Adventurer, is on travel-writing curriculums as far afield as the US. It is now also available as an e-book on all formats, includingSmashwords.

She has also written fiction in Love, Obsession, Secrets and Lies and a little book about Australia, The Spirit of Australia, with Selwa Anthony.

Sue is now listed in the ‘Who’s Who of Australian Women’, a celebration of influential women in Australia.