Ten questions for Robbo aka @BiteTheDust

I drove off the lands on Boxing Day 2015 and stayed a couple of nights with Bob Gosford. For my sins he forced me to answer his 10 question quiz. The original post is here.

My pet hate listed in the quiz has certainly come to prominence following the 4 Corners investigation into the running of Indigenous Corporations. Please watch the show “Ripped Off” if you have not already seen it.

Ten questions for Robbo aka @BiteTheDust

In July 2015, Robbo was named the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Pharmacist of the Year for 2015. Robbo has worked for the last ten years as a remote pharmacist in the vast Ngaanyatjarra Lands of Western Australia adjoining the NT and South Australian borders and is a tireless advocate for improvements in Aboriginal health.

Robbo, George and Girl outside Wanarn Clinic
Robbo, George and Girl outside Wanarn Clinic

I had a yarn with my good mate Andrew “Robbo” Roberts aka @BiteTheDust over the Christmas break just before he flew out of the country for a few months.

In July 2015, Robbo was named the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Pharmacist of the Year for 2015. Robbo has worked for the last ten years as a remote pharmacist in the vast Ngaanyatjarra Lands of Western Australia adjoining the NT and South Australian borders and is a tireless advocate for improvements in Aboriginal health.

At the time of his induction he said that his:
”… biggest thanks go to the people of the Ngaanyatjarra Lands for welcoming me on to their lands and into their lives for over 10 years. I hope this award increases the recognition of the need for pharmacists to be working as part of the health care team for our remote Indigenous Australians.”

The Northern Myth: Tell readers about yourself in ten words.

Robbo: A ten word biography? Desert, bush, medication, literacy, best-practice, education … Dingo, four-wheel drive.

TNM: What makes you happy?

R: Coming out of the bush and having someone make me a fresh coffee that I haven’t had to make myself.

TNM: What makes you angry?

R: The sheer waste you see and the blame-shifting by whitefellas buggering up indigenous organisations.

TNM: Cats, dogs, both or neither?

R: Dogs. The less said about cats the better.

TNM: Sunday morning music?

R: I don’t really listen to music much but out bush where I am you get the church going or some locals playing music somewhere in the community. There is always music in the bush.

TNM: Your Desert Island disc?

R: There are a few bits of music that I always associate with certain things that happen in the past, so some of the old seventies songs, a bit of old Skyhooks or pretty much anything by Madness …

TNM: Where do we go when we are dead?

R: In the ground.

TNM: What do you sing in the shower?

R: Nothing. I’m not a singing person.

TNM: When did you last break the law?

R: Yesterday when I did a u-bolt outside your place without putting the indicators on (laughs) and usually every time I come into town because out bush you don’t worry about white lines or indicators.

TNM: Top-loader or front-loader?

R: Top-loader – out bush that’s all there is!

TNM: Most treasured possession?

R: Well I couldn’t count Girl (my Dingo dog) as a possession. Can’t really answer that one …

TNM: Pen or pencil?

R: Pen! I love a fountain pen. I’m left-handed and I’m a shocking writer so at least it makes me try and have hand-writing that is legible.

TNM: What are you reading in non-fiction?

R: Not much at the moment, all my stuff is packed up. The last book I was caught reading was just released about the life and works of the artists from Wanarn Aged Care called The Wanarn Painters of Place and Time: Old Age Travels in the Tjukurrpa made with the assistance of the arts centre from Warakuna. Some great old artists from the lands have ended up at the aged care centre, including Dr. Mary McLean who is now a West Australian Living Treasure. She doesn’t paint anymore but she is a renowned artist who lived in Kalgoorlie for a number of years and moved back out to country to stop at the Wanarn Aged Care facility.

TNM: What about fiction?

R: Yeah, I’ve been churning through a lot of books. I didn’t read much for ages but I’ve been reading some nasty and forgettable crime fiction recently. Not much of any substance for a while.

Bite The Dust is now Trademarked

logo for bite the dust

About ten years ago when I started working in locum and “fixit” jobs around Australia, not always in pharmacy I wondered what sort of branding or business name I should use. One night a German tourist who became a good mate and myself brainstormed a few ideas and “Bite The Dust” was born. A trip to a great graphic designer at Three Little Words who didn’t “do bush stuff” but then got stuck into it with a vengeance le to the logo and business cards and a name I have used for ten years.

Bite The Dust business card

I have recently taken it one step further and BiteTheDust has become intellectual property having obtained a trademark in Class: 44 Provision of health care services.

You can find the trademark by doing a search here.

Have a Pleasant Sunday Afternoon.

What or Who is BiteTheDust

One day 7 years ago sitting in Alice Springs with a German mate who I met while cycling the Oodnadatta Track (yes really he was – he’s German!) we brain stormed what name I could use as a business and brand name as I continued to work in rural and remote Australia.

When the breeze picks up (and there is always a breeze) the dust is sucked in every time you breathe. It is also on nearly everything you cook.

if you want more on who is BiteTheDust then as well as my “About the Blog” you can find out why everyone calls me Robbo. My main website will have more detail about me one day!

I have also started another sort of blog thingy with things I like and a few tales not related to bush life. My Pleasant Sunday Afternoon posts have photos or stories of times out bush

The following came from The Phrase Finder. I didn’t realise it came from Homer! But this sums me up. Classical!

Bite The Dust


Fall to the ground, wounded or dead.


Given the many B-feature cowboy movies in which the bad guys, or occasionally the pesky redskins, would ‘bite the dust’, we might expect this to be of American origin. It isn’t though. The same notion is expressed in the earlier phrase ‘lick the dust’, from the Bible, where there are several uses of it, including Psalms 72 (King James Version), 1611:

“They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him and his enemies shall lick the dust.”

The earliest citation of the ‘bite the dust’ version is from 1750 by the Scottish author Tobias Smollett , in his Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane:

“We made two of them bite the dust, and the others betake themselves to flight.”

Homer’s epic poem The Iliad was written in around 700 BC. That was in Greek of course. It was translated into English in the 19th century by Samuel Butler and his version contains a reference to ‘bite the dust’ in these lines:

“Grant that my sword may pierce the shirt of Hector about his heart, and that full many of his comrades may bite the dust as they fall dying round him.”

Whether that can be counted as an 8th century BC origin for ‘bite the dust’ is open to question and some would say that it was Butler’s use of the phrase rather than Homer’s.

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