|Chapter Title||CHOWILLA CAMP.|
|Newspaper Title||Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||Breelong Dora|
Before proceeding witb oar etory it would
perhaps be ae well to give the reader some littlo in'ormation respecting the place oalled Chowilla Camp. At the time we speak of
fencing on the various squatters runs was with the exception of horse and home station paddocks almost unheard of. The country was not divided by wire at it is in the present day, like so many squares on a chessboard. Of course, the boundary-lines between the various stations were defined on the Govern ment plans, but with the squatter, gene rally speaking, there was no hard and fast line. If your cattle strayed on to your neighbour's country—well, as a rule you were soon advised of their preeenoe,
and, of oourse, removed them, and vice versa as. far as your neighbour's stock were con cerned, Periodically the cattle were mus tered for drafting, branded, and other pur poses, and then aU hands and the cook from your own and the neighbouring stations would gather together at some gi van point previously arranged upon, and which waa always spoken of as "such and suoh a oamp."
It was at these musters that the true worth df a stockman, and better still, a stockman's hone, would be fully displayed, for "ousting out" and drafting a certain beast from a mob of semi-wild cattle was hardly a pastime that would be chosen by a new chum displaying his feats of horsemanship; still if by any obanoe there should be one of their number present be was always given a chance, gene rally on the back of a good old stookhorse, the result being that horse and rider invariably parted oompany, his downfall being greeted by shouts of laughter from all hands, and especially by the' darkies. Then at these camps there would also be large drafting yards, and very often sheds for the shelter of horse and man, and there waa invariably one large hut provided with bunks and table, on whioh the good things provided by Jerry and his helpers were partaken of.. Suoh then was Ohowilla Oamp, being situated on a spot whioh might almost be caiJed "Tom Teddler's Ground," between Breelong, Nardoo, and Jullawong runs, but in actual truth on the first-named property.
After Jack started for Chowilla Mr. Bodgers thought it bast to see Jerry and Pearson and tell them exactly how matters stood, so they were called in and the fatal letter once more read.
The man Warland was well hated by all on Brselong, where he had been employed for years as stookman. His dismissal came about
this way. One day it oame to Mr. hodgers' |
ears that this same Warland bad a nice herd of oattle bearing a strange brand out hack in theranges. These Warland claimed ashisown; but aBit was well known that he bad neither
bred or bought them the owner of Breelong '
deemed it advisable for this "Ner&ngee | Squatter"* as the blaoks called him, to find a fresh employer. Pearson had suooeeded him. Jerry was dreadfully indignant at the news
the letter contained. What! take away our | colleen, said he; never while Jerry Oroor.in has a breath in his body. Pais now and what would I not give to have my ould father's lovely blaokthorn, one he used to use 'leotion times, and a neat weapon it was enterely, and by the powers its rueself that would like to be
beating a tattoo on that devil of a Jim , Warland'a bead wilb it. But, sure, if its
going to be a lighting affair, I must be afther ] looking up my shooting stick there. She's a beauty when cleaned up, but a devil to kick. "Ah, well" continued he with a sigh "'this is a queer world." God be between you and barm Miss Dora, dear, is Jerry's best wish. Pearson had two revolvers always loaded, ami as he said, ready for use in defence of the right.
Jack was meantime making all speed fur Ohowilla, careering over the plain as fast as the beautiful half-bred little Arab could carry him. He arrived well under an hour, had dis mounted, hung his bridle ou the horse-rail, and was in the act of unlocking the padlock on the hut door, when three men, all well mounted, rode up. " Hello, my hearty !" eaid the tallest of the company, who Jack at once knew to be Warland—"what the devil brings y-ou out here? No good, I'll be bound ! By jingo," said be, turning to one of his com
?anions, "that's Pieetwing he's been riding,
t's Dora's mare, and will be the very animal
for our purpose. What a streak of luck ! But how is it you are riding her, Master Jack— and hard too, I see ?' Any oattle - stealers about, eh?" During this harangue Jack had
kept a stolid Bilence, quietly walking into the 1 hut and taking a seat on one of the bucks. On the walls of the hut, hanging on pegs and nails, were bundles of well-greased greeu-htdo hobbles, green - hide catching ropes, spare stirrup leathers and straps, several old sad dles, and a colleotion of sundries usually found in a stockman's hut, from the slush lamp to the campoven; and over the rough fireplace was hanging the squatter's rifle.
The three men having dismounted, followed j Jack into tho hut, and then Warland spoke.
"Look here, Jack Fitzgerald," said he, j "to-day I think you and I will be about quits.
No, don't move" continued he, as Jack j
attempted to rise. "See this?" pointing a revolver at his head. " Yon are in our power, for we are all well armed, and unless you want
to be the first man to bs shot on Breelong | Bud you hRd better sit still, keep your tongue 1 quiet, and listen to what I have to say. It is quite a streak of luck our meeting you out
here; we expected to see you on the run. but j
never thought of your being at Ohowilla. Still it woe very kind and thoughtful of you to oblige us in this manner, as perhaps it will save us the trouble of shooting yon, as we most assuredly would have had to do had we met you on the run and riding Fieetwicg. I told you when you firBt interrupted my address that I intended to-day to be equal with you. I happen to know two things—First, that it was you who laid old Kodgers on to that plant of strays out back, and which the old
fool said belonged to me, and so sacked me, I knew he couhl uot prove it, or he would havo prosecuted me—better, perhaps, for all parties if he had—but that does not matter now. do, for -secondly, as the parsons say, I know that you love old Rodgers' daughter, and intend some day to marry her and the station too. Well, I love her just as well as you do; and this evening I am going to Breelong to ask her to be my wife. If she says no, then she must do the other thing; for, with the help of my two mates here, I intend to take her away. I have a nioe little plaoeout—well, no matter. Jack ; I don't think I will tell you where. Anyway,
it only wants a woman to make it a little
Paradise, and that woman I have decided shall be Dora Bodgers—as my wife, fair and square if she chooses; hut if not, then as my Before he could utter the terrible word Jaofc was on his feet, and with one well directed blow bad felled this low mean villain to the ground. " You dovil,"said Jack. "Oh, God < to think that Dora should be at the mercy of suoh a thing aa you, and I not able to lend'a band to protect her." Jock was at once seized by tbe other men, and soon bound band and foot. Warland roBe almoBt imme diately, and although a little dazed from the blow was soon able to continue the conduct of affairs. "Collar him now, boys, and we will fasten him down to tbe bunk, and when we pass here to-morrow with his lady love, as most aseuredly we eball, we will bring her in to have one last, long look at her aast-off lover." Poor Jack was Boon bound down with,
the green hide ropes and straps, and then, aa if to make matters worse, a piece of wood was forced into his mouth to form a gag, this being bound securely with - saddle-straps round bis head.
"There, my hearty," said Warland, "I think yon will do, and as ' time and' tide wait for no man' we will be off. and then for the dear little angel known as Breaking Dora; but as I never like to be cruel to a dumb animal, and as yarn will not, at least for a few days, be able to look after Dora's, very pretty mare, we will take her with us, more especially as
-Varangee, aboriginal nama for small.
we shall want her to carry her owner to her new home oat baok." Taming round as if to leave the bat, be then saw for the first time Mr. Rodgers's favourite rifle. " Ah," mid he, " we may as well take this | it may be useful. And loaded, too; well, that if kind." With this by way of a parting salute these three desperadoes left the hat, closed the door, and oarefully padlocked it, Warland patting the key in his pocket. They then rode away, bf course taking Fleet wing as they bod said.
There is a very old saying "That the best laid schemes of men and mioe gang aft aglee," and this, we think, will, as time goes on, prove to be very true in this case. Jim Warland had forgotten that there were still on the
et&tion several of our dark-skinned brothers. ' Darkies who during hie term of office as stock man had been his very slaves: had, in fact, been treated by him even worse than we are led to believe slaves are treated. At the time we speak of a mob of nearly 300 weaners were being "tailed"out at Chowilla Oam p, and were in oharge of Coppo, Jerry, and Kangaroo — three aboriginals. Coppo was boss. The oattle were brought in every night and carefaily yarded, the" blacks oamping under the sheds. It was now nearly 6 o'clock, and Jack knew that his friends— for such they were—would soon be baok to the yard with their ohargea. He had not been in his trying position more than half an hour, although it seemed to him ages, before be beard the lowing of the oattle as they were drawing near to the yards. Then he tried to shout. The wood whioh formed the gag was a piece of deal, and he had almost bitten this through. He moaned, he groaned, he tried to shout. Presently he heard the horses, which he knew the darkies were riding, nearing the hut, and oould also hear the riders in conversation, hit noises (for they could be termed nothing else) hav ing evidently attracted their attention. "What name along a hut, Jerry?" said Coppo," Raol mine know,"* was the reply "mine think it devil devil." Jack fearing that they would be frightened and would pas on and leave him, redoubled hiB energies and shouted louder than before, even trying to articulato Coppo's Dame. This evidently attracted him, for after listening fora time, he said "Mine think it white pellow, that one Beok, mine make-a-ligbt,"t and accordingly he did, but when he went to the door and found it was locked he evidently was dumbfounded. He had a quiet yabba with his mate (Jack meantime doing his best to mako his presence known) and then went to the back of the hut and tried the abutter (tbero were no glass windows to huts in those days). This for tunately was not fastened. It was soon foroed open, and his cry of delight as he saw who it was that had caused the unseeraely noiBO almost soared his companion.
"llaal dobil debii," said be, "that one, Massa Jaolcey; mine go through window." He waesoon in, and it did not take him many minutes to unbind the cords and liberate his master.
As soon as Jack oould speak—for the gag had made his mouth sore, and he was hoarse from shouting—he asked Coppo to send Jerry down to their oamp for on axe with which to draw the staple of the door, and to take a billy and bring him a drink. Coppo was, as hefore stated, the recognised head of the camp. During Jerry's absence Jitok told him be wanted to speak to him alone, so no sooner did his oo-worker return with the water and axe than ha was sent by Coppo to water the horses, while Kangaroo was left to look after the oattle, who were quietly making their way to the oreek for" the evening drink. Coppa was told what had occurred, and what he was expected to do, and was now standing lilco a trusted servant that he was waitiug his captain's orders.