Sunday, November 25, 2007


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.


Anonymous Zola said...

Great work.

November 11, 2008 at 8:00 AM  

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