Tuesday, November 27, 2007


glitter graphic

I long to put the experience of fifty years and some
at once into your young lives, to give you at
once the key of that treasure chamber every
gem of which has cost me tears and struggles
and tradegy, but you must work for these
inward treasures yourselves

Monday, November 26, 2007

Katherine Mansfield 1888-1923


The world is a looking-glass,
and gives back to every man the
reflection of his own face
W.M. Thackeray, 1811-1863


Sunday, November 25, 2007


One of the cooks on Lakefield, Mrs Hyde, had a penchant for large snakes and kept on the premises a black headed python of some proportions…In the normal run of things most ringers have an aversion to large snakes and Mrs Hyde was the most wonderful cook. She was also a very fierce woman and could throw a mean punch and everyone including the manager did what he or she was told in her domain. Good cooks particularly of the excellence of Mrs Hyde were rare indeed so everyone put up with Mrs Hydes snake, even made a detour when Mrs Hyde turned on the “snakes” sprinkler when this huge reptile would sun himself. He, the snake, loved the sprinkler system which was solely for his use in the front yard of the cook house and many a mean look was thrown in the reptiles direction when tramping in for smoko. After a particularly bad binge of drinking in the town, was a dry camp but every so often the more mature ringers would have to let loose in the town. Arriving back at the homestead armed with alcoholic courage one of the braver men,”no bloody great snake is tripping me up anymore” oh yes also armed with a sharp axe the poor old python met his bloody reward, chopped to pieces. After a few hours of sobering up the culprit decided through the night discretion was the better part of valour and decamped into the night never to return before the cook made her early start in the morning……which I might add she did not make a start that is after discovering the remains of the python and everyone did without a cook for some weeks until she cooled down She was quite capable of shooting the killer of her snake dead. Decamping was the wisest choice



On Kalpowar Station before my time the owner, George Watkins wife and family owned the property before an American owned company purchased. George told the story of his new bride complaining of when she was left at the homestead on her own. She would sometimes see a naked man running down near the river and he would sometimes venture closer to the homestead. Naturally the bride was a little nervous. George tried to run this fellow down on horseback a few times without success and the naked runner always gave George the slip. Eventually George caught the elusive runner who had been gored by a boar pig and had an infected leg, which slowed his running and hiding ability considerably. It turned out this man had been a champion athlete from one of the southern states and had a nervous breakdown and had lived in the bush for a number of years living off the land. When he was caught and tied up he was collected by the authorities and taken back south. I am told this was a big story in the newspapers of the day from memory I believe he was christened Pink Flamingo, very apt. I also heard he had been rehabilitated and did return to Kalpowar for a normal visit a few years down the track. In the area where this man lived off the land the Vietnam vets have made an enclave at Bathurst Bay to get their emotions in perspective. I do believe history is repeating itself as this emotionally disturbed man stayed in this isolated area to heal his mind. I think I read somewhere the Government has formalized this settlement at Bathurst Bay where I have spent many pleasant hours


John Harris owned the Coen hotel and cattle country further north and had a neighbour Deafy Toohey, who we knew as children as being a difficult and dangerous man. John was at at tend muster which is a muster on mutual boundaries of the properties and in most instances no fences sometimes in those days, no fences over millions of acres. The branded cattle are returned to their respective owners and the cleanskins divided up between the adjoining property owners. It was getting late in the day and John and Deafy were arguing over the last cleanskins, This story was told to me by John’s brother in law so do not have it from the horses mouth so as to speak and if detail not accurate is in the telling not the tale..

Deafy being his usual even-handed self produced a pistol and shot John, not fatally, John galloped his horse back to his swag where he had a 22 rifle, which is not a particularly high, powered gun, took cover and shot back. Deafy continued to shoot at John scoring a few hits and John returning the fire and hitting Deafy with bullets. John ran out of bullets and Deafy approached him and put the pistol to Johns head and squeezed the trigger and nothing…. the chamber empty. John and Deafy were bleeding badly and both fell unconscious. John’s brother came looking and discovered both the bullet riddled men unconscious. The aerial ambulance was called and both side by side in the rescue aircraft off to Cairns and hospital….. Neither dobbed the other and do not know who eventually claimed the cleanskin. I imagine when questioned by police two shot up men the interview on the lines… “How did you get these bullet holes”…”Dunno some sort of accident that happened half a dozen or more times”. I believe no charges were ever formalized.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A DOGS TAIL - a story of death and human greed and laying pearls before swine

Who was purchased primarily to fight for money. Oh no that does not occur in Australia, oh yes it does.
Jundiamiah was purchased by Jack a young person who had won a share in a KENO jackpot of $250,000. Two friends, stable hands, employed by respective trainers to do the general duties of stable hands, of mainly picking up poo, riding fractious horses early in their training preparation, as jockeys watch on the sidelines to make sure the horses are rideable/have ability, generally a dogs body and whipping boy for a trainer particularly when comes to race time when the pressure is on and of course the trainer has to take his stress out on someone and after being excessively nice to the owners needs to balance the equation.
Jack and Ben on a rare moment of freedom decided with the last cents in their pockets they would purchase a KENO ticket. Jack scraped through the pockets of his jeans and came up with 65 cents and Ben managed 35 cents. Lo and Behold the numbers came up and the pair cock a hoop had won a jackpot. The immediate reaction of Ben was to throw in his job and abscond from the good hearted couple who were feeding him for $25.00 per week, of course did not pay them, they were weak enough to take him in off the streets in the first place when no one else would so they would not pursue him for the back money he owed them…. anyway their children were just toddlers and their needs not as pressing as Bens.
Jack in the meantime after two or three days was giving this money sharing business his undivided attention and decided with his mother's directive that he was entitled to 65% as he contributed the larger portion of the winning ticket…employed a lawyer and put a stop to the payout in the hope of receiving the lions share. Friends indeed, the type of boys you would really need at your back.

Ben decided to visit the Casino at the Gold Coast where allegedly he was afforded free accommodation, as was now a player of note. Ben proceeded to play the casino games and buy expensive companionship at the coast. Even hired a helicopter and flew from the Coast to Sydney to try his luck at a different venue. Inevitably, inexorably the money flew through Ben's hands like sand through his fingers. BUT the high life without the toil was the way to go and this easy money led Ben to decide that this was the way to live. No more free accommodation at the Casino as no more winnings left, so off Ben travelled to Adelaide where his ugly mug was not as known, purchased himself a sawn off shotgun and demanded money from a bank. I guess the robbery was as well planned as the prior life of this young man and he did not make it to the footpath and was committed to languish in prison for a few years, free accommodation again.

You the reader no doubt wondering what this has to do with the dog well am coming to that. Jack decided he would make it with fast racehorses and purchased a couple of used nags from Sydney, where else, and proceeded to lose money gambling on his two purchases who from SYDNEY had to be better than the local gallopers. Jack did however buy something substantial, thousands of dollars worth of saddles and leather gear for his horses, and a Pit Bull for fighting, this dog’s father had won ten, nine, twenty-nine fights in a row? He boasted proudly, instead of hiding his head in shame. A couple of the older scallywags from around the racetracks got to drinking one night and decided that they were more deserving of money than those two whippersnappers, after all they had many more drinks to buy, and in their cups went and robbed Jack of all his hard earned gear and equipment, after all Jack took the responsible path of hiring a lawyer to still get his 50%. The pit bull, Jundiamiah was subdued, he lived in a stable full of fleas, the equipment was stolen, and the equipment left at a friends place who promptly rang the police and this trio was arrested and sent to prison for a short stretch. Two of these men convicted have since died of cancer and the other the scuttlebutt tells me is in prison somewhere on a serious charge, which I will not comment upon.

A couple more months down the track and an unfortunate older woman in Toowoomba was attacked in her own back yard by a pair of American pit bull dogs that jumped the fence from her neighbours and mauled the woman to death. The Toowoomba Council reacted swiftly and put a total ban on any American pit bull dogs not to be kept in the city precincts. Jundiamiah and his fleas were dead animals walking. The father of Jack I had know for years and he had been left with the abandoned dog and knew that I had Doberman dogs for years and asked that I take Jundiamiah. I lived on acreage some distance from Toowoomba. I was quite reluctant to take the dog but relented and advised that I would take him on the understanding that should I be in any way concerned about his behaviour I would have him destroyed immediately.

So Jundiamiah arrived at my place in the horse float, a dog that had been locked in a stable for the first fourteen months of his life. The first thing he did was endeavouring to chase the birds and the tame possums. Out came the stockwhip and he was cracked across the bum and he yowled and carried on like something I had never expected of this pit bull. I discovered that the dog would do whatever was required of him with a quiet voice and rewards, a pat and he was in heaven. To this day I regret using the stock whip on him that first day. Jundiamiah adopted my elderly mother and took it upon himself to be her guardian and watcher and he never left her side. She fell on two occasions and had to wait for someone to discover where she was and Jundiamiah tried to bury under her to help her up on both occasions. If Jundiamiah had to be chastised for going into the house for example during a thunderstorm with muddy feet he would yell and yelp from a raised voice.

Jundiamiah lived with my family for many years and was well known for his gentle ways and never had to be tied or locked up as never strayed or left the home environs It would be nice if the ending of the story was pleasant but as in life things do not work out nicely as one would hope. Jundiamiah was minding his business sleeping in our driveway, which is quite long about 100 yards and the man reading the electricity meter was speeding out of the house yard and ran over him. I was told when arriving home from work that the dog had been only bumped and inspected the road and obviously the dog had been caught under the vehicle from the claw marks and skid marks and hair from the dog, some bump. The injured dog could not be found and we searched day and night in the surrounding scrub without success. With sadness we realized after a week the dog could not have survived.
Eight days after the accident I was checking a boundary fence some distance from the living areas with my mother’s old car and drove home. That evening I happened to glance down the track where I had been checking the fences and saw the dog on the ground. The dog was skin and bone and paralysed from the middle down and was crawling home, the sound of the car engine must have given him the incentive. It had rained during the week and the vet thought that was why he was still alive licking the moisture. I knew the dog had no hope of surviving as was unable to walk or even crawl once he had made that supreme effort. He was made as comfortable as possible given his favourite foods, ice cream, chocolates, cream cakes, and fussed over for twenty four hours, and the vet arrived and gave him a sedative, and then an overdose of aesthetic and I watched the light leave his eyes in mid lick of my hand. This dog had overcome all the odds to live a reasonably long life and his spirit was the purest I have encountered. For him to overcome his breed reputation, his early neglect, shut up for all those months to become the gentle loyal creature he was is truly remarkable and he remains in my heart for all time.
VALE THE $250,000 DOG

Thursday, November 8, 2007



Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Beginning

This will be very interesting as it is my first attempt at Blogspot. Wish me luck.