The Winter Road

The Winter Road

A Killing in Croppa Creek

Kate Holden


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An epic true story of greed, power and a desire for legacy from an acclaimed Australian storyteller.

July 2014, a lonely road at twilight outside Croppa Creek, New South Wales: 80-year-old farmer Ian Turnbull takes out a .22 and shoots environmental officer Glen Turner in the back.

On one side, a farmer hoping to secure his family’s wealth on the richest agricultural soil in the country. On the other, his obsession: the government man trying to apply environmental laws.

The brutal killing of Glen Turner splits open the story of our place on this land. Is our time on this soil a tale of tragedy or triumph – are we reaping what we’ve sown? Do we owe protection to the land, or does it owe us a living? And what happens when, in pursuit of an inheritance for his family, a man creates terrible consequences?

Kate Holden brings her discerning eye to a gripping tale of law, land and entitlement. It is the story of Australia.

‘An incredible writer.’ —Books+Publishing

‘Kate Holden finds the epic thread in this crime and weaves a quintessential Australian story.’ —Chloe Hooper

‘Beautifully written, meticulously researched, carefully plotted and seamlessly stitched together. This book is a major contribution to the canon of Australian land and social history: a bedfellow with Francis Ratcliffe, W.E.H. Stanner, Tim Flannery, Bill Gammage and Bruce Pascoe … Its power is in exposing a hidden, suppurating sore in the psyche of our nation.’ —Charles Massy, author of Call of the Reed Warbler

‘A gripping account of our land, and our selves.’ —Tara June Winch

‘I felt utterly in the grip of this agonising and powerful parable. Kate Holden brilliantly telescopes centuries of history and law into fatal conversations at a farm gate. As one man stalks another on a winter road, the whole psyche of modern Australian settlement comes under trial. An enthralling and disturbing tale told with deep insight and compassion.’ —Tom Griffiths

‘Beautifully and compellingly told, shattering in its reverberations, The Winter Road is a story for our times – a battle that is being fought the world over as we try to find a better way of managing the land and respecting the forces of nature that sustain us.’ —Isabella Tree

‘This is a special book, and I cannot thank Holden enough for writing it. By telling the human story of a man and his land, Holden reveals the timelessness of brigalow country, and threads a narrative that is ecological, humane and grounding.’ —Anna Krien


Kate Holden:
Kate Holden is the author of two acclaimed memoirs, In My Skin and The Romantic, and a regular contributor to The Saturday Paper, The Monthly and The Age.