Milton Jones, author of The Man from Coolibah, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

by |October 29, 2012

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Milton Jones

author of The Man from Coolibah

Ten Terrifying Questions


1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in the old Darwin Hospital ( before Cyclone Tracy ) blew her down. My baby years were spent on Gordon Downs station that straddled the WA-NT border. Dad was manager there. After that we travelled round a lot, through the Territory and Queensland. I didn’t go much on schools and I left for the last time when I was just a kid. Then, it was into the school of hard knocks.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

I wanted to fly helicopters and be involved with cattle. Not much has changed over the years. It’s been a good, full life.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

Don’t drink rum and chase girls!

4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

The old fella, Stan (my father) had a huge influence on me. He worked bloody hard and that rubbed off on me. The years of bull-catching as a young man taught me a lot about bending your back and having a crack to make money. And the biggest influence of all has been getting my helicopter licence. I often wonder what I would have done if I didn’t get it; I know I wouldn’t have been as lucky and successful.

5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? aren’t they obsolete?

It’s a good record for my children to keep.

6. Please tell us about your latest book…

It tells a bit about my life and some of the experiences I’ve had. Looking back I suppose I’ve crammed a bit in. Not many people really know about life in the Northern Territory. More people should go there because it’s a bloody beautiful place with good people.

(From the Publisher:

In the tradition of Mailman of the Birdsville Track, The Man from Coolibah details the life of outback cattle property owner, helicopter muster operator and knockabout bloke Milton Jones.

The youngest in a family of five, Milton Jones grew up on large properties in the outback. His father was a farm manager and so his early life was a world away from that of city kids. Milton left school in Queensland in his mid teens and moved back to the Northern Territory. Mustering was in his blood and so his first job was as a bullcatcher.

Milton Jones is a man of his environment; tough and hardworking with a firm opinion on most things that he isn’t afraid to share. The story of how he bought Coolibah Station in 1988 in cash and the way he has built up his country empire is just one element of this book. For him, wrangling crocs, mustering cattle, fighting bush fires and riding rodeo are the norm. Over 500km away from nearest city, Darwin, his life is lived on horseback, his days ruled by the sunlight. With the help of a seasonal workforce, plus his 42 choppers and a dozen or so horses, his business musters cattle from across the territory.

The Man from Coolibah shows us what it is like to live in the never never and brings the Outback to life. For the men and women who live in Milton’s world, things are changing but the harshness and beauty of the outback stays the same.)

Click here to buy The Man from Coolibah from Booktopia,
Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

To make people more aware of bush life, especially life in the Northern Territory.

8. Whom do you most admire and why?

There are too many to mention, but there’ve been many old fellas who taught me a great many things. They taught me about cattle, about the bush, about helicopters, about life really. The Territory has many great characters. Real authentic Australian bushies that should never be forgotten.

9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

To look after my wife and my family. Make sure I have healthy kids, real healthy kids, that’s important eh.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

I don’t reckon I’m really in a good position to give advice to writers, in fact The Man from Coolibah is the first book I’ve ever read. But if I was to give some general advice it would be: ‘Work hard, look after your family, stand up for your rights, and don’t get involved in race horses.’

Milton, thanks for playing.

Click here to buy The Man from Coolibah from Booktopia, Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

19 Comments Share:

About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

Follow John: Twitter Website


  • Milton Downs

    December 13, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Don’t waste your money. A poorly written piece about a man with delusions of grandeur. In the Territory, Jones will well known, but not known well. I hope the Tax Man reads this and takes Jones to the clearners

    • walter edward midson

      October 20, 2013 at 9:56 am

      this blokes only jealous of a persons success on ya milton

    • geoff

      November 2, 2013 at 6:02 pm

      sour grapes ( milton downs } not enough guts to give your real handle

    • JJ

      July 25, 2016 at 5:07 am

      Jealousy is a curse. What makes you think he has done the wrong thing by the ATO. Maybe the ATO wants you.

    • Nelson

      April 9, 2018 at 12:37 pm

      Did he do something personally to hurt you or are you just hateful.

  • fran

    January 8, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Watched “Keeping up with the Joneses”. Have purchased the series and just finished reading his book. Disagree totally with the previous comment, Loved it!!

  • March 24, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    The guys a legend wish they would make more of the series but totally understand why they would not want to. You have to respect anyone who is “self-made”

  • Laura Mackay

    July 14, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Loved watching keeping up with the Joneses. We have been right past the property on our travels. If IT had known about the family I would have loved to have met them. Milton looks a very hard worker and a good family man. I wish the family good luck in the future living in a very hard but beautiful country. It is worth while travelling outback to see its beauty. I will now look out for the book. Well done Jones family.

  • gail dowling

    October 26, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Hi there every sat – afternoon i just love to watch the Jones, i love hearing about there family life and the way they are, i have not had the opportunity to read his book yet. I`m truely a fan of your Milton Jnr Milton & Christina, you too and congratulations your going to be a mum for the second time, please keep your programme going i just love it. I would love one day to visit Coolibah station and meet the clan Milton & Christina jnr milton, My husband of 25yrs & i would really love to meet you. Gail & Steve of Tinonee

  • November 17, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    Thats God dam crap, ive had family that have worked for aa helicopters and they have only good words for milton and Cristina and Family.

  • November 17, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    Milton you keep doing what you r doing, no man can do any thing more! Merry Christmas, my parents did the stations in qld I understand

  • Wayne Blyton

    May 10, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Would like to contact Milton re business prop ?

  • Yolie Gunderson

    January 5, 2017 at 10:25 am

    I fell in love with this hard working family from the very first episode! I have a modest 600 acres cattle farm in Southern Missouri and I have been contemplating making a move to a different country for several years after the death of my husband. I wonder if I could volunteer to work for the Jones family and get my feet wet. Being from South Texas and involved in the cattle industry my entire life but wanting to try a new adventure and experience a different way of life.

  • Rita Vance

    January 11, 2017 at 8:01 am

    Loved binge watching, “Keeping up with the Joneses” on Netflix this weekend. I fell in love with this hard working family. I grew up working with my Dad on the farms. Always a girl doing a boys work. I am proud of who I am and I credit my parents and their parents for teaching my brothers and I all about family and working together. Would love to know how you all are doing after the birth of baby Jack.

    • jorge oliva

      January 19, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      love the show pure life into farm

  • jorge oliva

    January 19, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    I wish be in coolibah station. Milton is a hard worker be a honor visit tha place one day..

  • jorge oliva

    January 19, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    great show. pure life

  • Carla

    January 21, 2017 at 11:26 am

    Just finished Keeping Up with the Jones on Netflix, looked forward to every episode. Wondering if Christina now has her 4 boys. Much admiration for this family and what Milton has accomplished.

  • Adam Kathrein

    February 11, 2017 at 6:57 am

    Living in Wyoming, USA, I can relate to the remote ranch life, although not quite as remote as NT. Love the show and reading all Google has to offer on the Jones Family. I look forward to reading the book.

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