Back Roads: April 15

This time on Back Roads Heather Ewart is in Arawai, Kungarakan, Wulna country for a walk on the wild side of the Top End.

In Adelaide River, she joins the Fawcett sisters on a buffalo muster, a rollercoaster ride which has her literally on the edge of her seat. Sisters, Kellie, 30, Kyla, 28 and Kimberley, 20, thrive in this testosterone charged atmosphere. It seems anything a boy can do, the sisters are certainly game for, and so is Heather.

Although the buffalo is a feral animal that wreaks havoc on the environment, it is highly prized as live export and almost as emblematic of the Territory as the crocodile.

In fact, one of the NT’s own was rocketed to international stardom by Australia’s biggest box-office success, the eighties blockbuster, Crocodile Dundee. Charlie the buffalo, who was famously hypnotised in the film, was given movie star treatment when Adelaide River became his home. Heather discovers what happened to him next – and it’s not what you’d expect.

During her encounter with Charlie, Heather meets a vet who once treated him. At the age of 24, Jan Hills set off in search of adventure and found it in the Top End. Jan tells Heather the secret of handling a buffalo bull with a lethal set of horns attached to a very large, very hard and very bony head. It is a technique that raises a laugh, even as it makes good, practical sense.

Executive Producer: Brigid Donovan. Story Producer: Gerri Williams.

8pm Thursday on ABC.

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