Filming the rugged outback life of Little Milton has created a new pre-school star, writes Geoff Shearer
MILTON JONES IS SET TO LIGHT UP THE SCREEN ON OUTBACK REALITY SERIES KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES
P EEKING out from under his Akubra— a knowing broad smile on his reddust hazed face— is the rugged yet huggable fouryear-old all of Australia is about to fall in love with.
Little Milton Jones may have had little contact with city life, having grown up on his family’s remote cattle station smack dab in the middle of nowhere in the Northern Territory, but he embraces an everyday spirit of adventure and boyhood enthusiasm that is bound to leave city parents just a smidge envious.
He turned four during filming of the doco-drama Keeping
Up With the Joneses that premieres on Network Ten on October 14. In true outback style one present was a real, jaw-snapping crocodile hatchling.
‘‘ You got to wash your hands now,’’ he says somewhat conspiratorially as I hand him back the croc with its nose-band still firmly fastened.
Little Milton has kindly let me pet the 30cm reptile that could well grow into a maneater as his dad leads me around the garden at their home, Coolibah Station, six hours’ drive southwest of Darwin. ‘‘ Salmonella,’’ Milton senior says. ‘‘ Crocs carry a lot of salmonella. Little Milton knows you wash after touching one.’’
The boy darts here and there, easily distracted, before returning to saunter cowboystyle alongside us — one hand on his hip, the pet croc in his other hand, its eyes starting to boggle.
Little Milton, though short on words, seems at ease with having strangers checking out his home. Show producer Ben Ulm says Little Milton is not at all worried by the camera crews documenting the Jones’ lives for six months.
‘‘ He’s kind of laissez-faire about it now,’’ Ulm says as I wash my hands at a garden tap. ‘‘ He kind of gets it. But he just jumps out of bed and greets each day as a new adventure.
‘‘ There’s something about watching him that makes me nostalgic about the old days when we weren’t covered in cotton wool and we weren’t so careful about what if little Johnny falls over and scratches his knee.
‘‘ I think people will watch it and they’ll see that here’s a dad taking his three-year-old on a driving lesson and hopefully people won’t go, ‘ What if something happens?’ They will just go, ‘ Wow, I envy that a little bit’.’’
Not only does Little Milton get driving experience sitting in Milton senior’s lap behind the wheel of the family jeep