Rob Cook’s story of bush courage and survival

Beef Central, 30/08/2013


When the Dust Settles is the inspiring story of NT cattleman Rob Cook's journey back to life after a catastrophic helicopter accident in 2008 that left him paralysed from the shoulders down, and his struggle to regain a life on the land as a quadriplegic.

When the third-generation cattleman set out on a routine mustering job in a chopper, it was a day in his life like any other, but when the chopper fell 200 feet out of the sky, it became the day that changed everything.

This one-time extremely active sporting representative and professional bull-rider had been in many scrapes before including a broken arm from football, a broken jaw needing facial reconstruction when a horse kicked him in the head, and a severe groin injury suffered when a cow gored him.

He had even miraculously walked away from a previous crash in his beloved Gyrocopter, but this time it was different and after a painstaking wait of seven hours to be rescued from the wreck there was no walking away.

‘When the Dust Settles’ is a biography with the intention to inspire.  It is a story about Rob’s childhood, when he moved to the Northern Territory with his family to live, and work on Australia's most remote cattle station Suplejack Downs, which his family has run since the early 1960s.

It is a story about a long-distance relationship which blossomed into marriage and family.  It is a story about love and family commitment which played a pivotal role in his recovery and it is a dedication to the love and support of his extraordinary wife, Sarah, who helped ease the realisation that he would never move his body again.

  • ‘When the Dust Settles’ is available from ABC bookshops, or click here


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  1. Lynette Spackman, 18/10/2020

    I have just read your book Rob, OMG dont tell me you are not an amazing human . As my husband was an incomplete Quad and a farmer your story touched me so so much, also your beautiful wife Sarah… if every person in this world could read your book what a wonderful lot we would be. I can so relate to you, having spent many months with my husband at RNS Sydney’s Spinal Unit. I lost him at the age of 50 due to his spinal injuries and farming he was run over by a tractor 20 years after breaking his neck in a car accident. I am so glad you lived the life you did before your accident as I think God wanted you to retire as he had such an important new life for you. You are not just a credit to yourself, your family and every one who knows you but to every abled bodied person who ever lived. What an amazing legacy you will give to your dear little boys……. Go ROB you are super human (I shed many tears while reading your book)

  2. Chris Rutter, 28/08/2014

    Just finished your book “When the Dust Settles.” What an amazing life. I laughed a lot, then found other parts so sad but with your positive approach to your life changes I found simply insirational. I hope if I happen to strike huge problems in whatever form I will return to your example and get through them. Well done mate.

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