Rick Morton, now the social affairs writer at The Australian, grew up on a 1000sqkm cattle station in outback Queensland. As a 7-year-old, he witnessed his brother catch on fire during an accident on the remote farm, and suffered the catastrophic breakdown of his family that followed: his father’s alcoholism and infidelity, his parents’ divorce, and the homophobia that pervaded his rural community as he struggled with coming to terms with his sexuality.
Rick went on to be raised by his hard-working single mother, existing on the poverty line, and witness his brother’s drug addiction and imprisonment. He saw journalism as an escape from the isolation of rural life. He went on to land a journalism cadetship, suffer a nervous breakdown while coming out as gay, and has gone on to win awards for his reporting and columns. He’s particularly well-known for his reporting on the NDIS, and for being an openly gay, progressive journalist at one of Australia’s most conservative mastheads, and for his tireless coverage of issues effecting marginalised groups in Australia.
One Hundred Years of Dirt is his story; one of social mobility, class, childhood trauma, homophobia, mental illness and drug addiction. It is the story of Australia’s fringes: social and geographical. And it is truly un-put-downable.
Meet Rick in conversation with Gabrielle Chan at Muse.
Tickets: $12 (includes a complimentary glass of house wine or soft drink)