A brief history

From earliest memories I was enchanted by the magic of words and the power of the pen. I devoured books with an insatiable appetite and often read in bed at night by torchlight beneath the eiderdown, because how could I possibly go to sleep without knowing what happened to The Famous Five or The Seven Little Australians?

terry as child

My first ten years unfolded in the sleepy country town of Albury (NSW) where gypsies and swagmen roamed. I loved writing and some of my poems and short stories were published in "The Catholic Weekly", copies of which I still treasure.

My sisters, brother and I learned musical instruments, sang songs around the family piano and knew by heart marvellous Australian poems. Probably my two favourites were Banjo Paterson's The Man From Snowy River and Outback by Henry Lawson. Outback - a sound and place I found evocative, mysterious, compelling. Then my family relocated to the "big smoke". Even as a young child, I had two dominant dreams: I wanted to marry a farmer and one day when I was a very old lady, I would write my autobiography. How blessed I am to have both fulfilled.

terry as nurseIn 1963 at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney, I nursed the strapping young stockman from way up north, who some say in retrospect, broke his back to meet me. After a five year courtship by correspondence, we celebrated our engagement at the Kimberley Hotel, Halls Creek, and were subsequently married in Sydney. Both cultures got a "Guernsey". Then in a red Bedford truck loaded with six tea chests of wedding presents, we drove for days and days and days to our new home, a bough shed on the banks of a dry creek bed. The development of our family and cattle station home was intertwined.

first home  newly weds

My arrival as a new bride in the middle of nowhere, as indeed it was, coincided with road trains replacing drovers. Other significant changes in cattle management, communication and rural remote life-style have occurred over the past four decades. Teaching our four children correspondence lessons via Katherine School of the Air in our home school room over an eighteen year period was not just challenging and gratifying, but one of the most important things I have ever done. In one of the most remote locations in the Northern Territory, Australia, the world, we learned and grew together.

young family  underwood family

riverenFrom 1968 to 2013 the Underwood family developed Riveren Station, their three thousand square kilometre home, to support twenty thousand head of Brahman cattle. Midway Station was owned and operated by the Underwoods from 2004 to 2012 and during this time was converted to a cell grazing operation to finish sale cattle.

Inverway Station was purchased in 2007 and sold with Riveren to Japfa Santori on 1st October 2013.

Midway Station, in the Douglas Daly NT, was sold in February 2012.

My involvements and achievements include:

2009 Wrote Foreword for the Country Table Cookbook ACP Publishing
2008 ABC TV Landline - "Back O'Burke"
Delegate Australia 2020 Summit (ABC 7.30 Report 'PM takes action after 2020')
2008 Wrote Foreword for Australia in Style (RM Williams Publishing)
Keynote closing speaker MEA National Conference Alice Springs NT
Channel 9 Fresh at Riveren
2007 Member Sesquicentenary Book Committee for book St Vincent’s Hospital 1857 – 2007
2007 Channel 9 Australian Women’s Weekly Christmas Special at Riveren
Channel 9 Fresh programme at Douglas Daly
Member - Northern Australia Land & Water Taskforce
Ambassador - Field of Women Live (Breast Cancer Network Australia)
Member - National Advisory Council Australia Outback Development Consortium Ltd (Outback Calling Ltd)
In The Middle Of Nowhere becomes an Australian Classic.
2005 Wrote Foreword for Great Pioneer Women of the Outback by Susanna de Vries
2005 Presenter Popular Australian Readers’ & Writers’ Festival (Australian Voices in Print) Sydney NSW
Awarded Medal of the Order of Australia in the General Division in Queen's Birthday 2005 Honours List for "service to the community, particularly through business and in promotional and cattle industry roles".
2004 Appointed National Patron of The Penguin Club of Australia Inc
2004 Northern Territory Finalist - Australian of the Year Awards 2004 (Local Hero Regional)
2003 Unveiling of the Katherine Icon - "Stockman's Tribute"
2003 ABC-TV's New Dimensions - "Lifelong Partners"
2003 ABC-TV's Landline - "Territory Tribute"
2002 Recorded Unabridged Bolinda Audio book "In The Middle Of Nowhere"
The Cattle Kingdom Photographic Exhibition, Katherine NT celebrating International Rural Women’s Day and YOTO
National Role Model 2002. Selected by Northcott Society as 1 of 20
women in a celebration of women and their achievements.
2001 "Australian Women Speak" Conference Literary Lunch, Canberra ACT
2001 Ambassador for 2002 Australia's Year of the Outback.
2001 Sassy Award winner for Strength of Spirit.
2000 Awarded Life Membership Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association Inc (NTCA)
Launched photographic book RIVEREN, My Home, Our Country
2000 Patron Northern Territory Fashion Awards
1999 Recipient of Chief Minister's Women's Achievement Award
1999 Awarded Territorian of the Year – Katherine Region
1999 Australian guest author at the 10th International Biennial Listener Women's Book Festival in New Zealand
1999 Patron of Australian Outback Tourism Association
1998 – 2008 Extensive public speaking engagements as author and Ambassador for rural, remote Australia
1998 –1999 Extensive TV radio and print media associated with launch of In the Middle of Nowhere, followed by National Tour
1998 Published autobiography In the Middle of Nowhere
1998 Sassy Award winner for In The Middle Of Nowhere
1998 Represented Northern Territory cattle industry at 2nd International Women in Agriculture Conference in Washington DC
1998 Guest speaker at Rural Press Club Luncheon, Canberra for International Rural Women's Day

John and Terry Underwood

1998 Winner Business Owner in Northern Territory Telstra Business Women's Owner Awards
1997 First woman in 46 years to open the Royal Darwin Show
1996 Featured in ABC TV's Australian Story - "John and Terry Underwood"
1995 Featured in ABC TV programme Hot Chips
1995 Photographic exhibition The Cattle Kingdom at Barry Stern Gallery, Sydney
1994 - 1996 Appointment to Council of Northern Territory University
1994 Solo photographic exhibition The Cattle Kingdom, Rockhampton, Qld
1993 Ambassador for Tourism launch of Northern Territory promotion campaign – You'll Never Never Know If You Never Never Go
1993 Inaugural solo photographic exhibition The Cattle Kingdom in Darwin
1992 Hosted Hey Hey It's Saturday television production crew and subsequently appeared in Hey Hey It's the Northern Territory
1992 Exhibited in Landscape Photography Exhibition at the Blaxland Gallery, Sydney
1991 Producer/director of 25 Years of Katherine School of the Air
1990 Producer/director Robin Would if Robin Could (amateur performance to raise funds for the education of geographically isolated children)
1990 Founded Pastoral Industry Training Scheme Scholarships
1987 – 1992 Coordinated annual Beef Bash Gala industry dinner
1984 – 1989 Member of inaugural Group 6 On Air Penguins
1984 Interviewed by Ray Martin on the Midday Show
1983 – 1984 Member inaugural Northern Territory Women's Advisory Council
1984 – 2001 Positions on the Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association
1983 Producer/director of the Northern Territory Talent Quest (amateur performance to raise funds for the education of geographically isolated children)
1982 Producer/director of wedding satire play Dimboola (amateur performance to raise funds for the education of geographically isolated children) - captured on ABC TV A Big Country
1981 - 1989 Positions on the Katherine School of the Air Associates
1981 – 1989 Positions on the Isolated Children's and Parents' Association
1966 – 1967 Midwifery nursing certificate
1962 – 1966 General nursing certificate
1965 National president of Student Nurses’ Association

Terry with cattle and champagne

How fortunate we are in this magnificent country
to have the land as our livelihood, family and friends
as companions and faith and love as our tools.
My ultimate passion and responsibility remain to showcase
to the rest of the world who we are and what we do.