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Chapter NumberIII
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1884-06-14
Page Number1
Word Count2219
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleMorning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 - 1954)
Trove TitleRonald Walton: A Tale of Early Squatting Life in Moreton Bay
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. A X«LE ar ' EABLV . SC^AXTUTO.' tirs .IN


LAND." ' j

j [AU Bí^híti Bcstnxi.] j

OHÍFTEB m.-TBS TWO BüixocK-ntuvros,


RONALD'S, .two , White . bullock-driyera wer« turned' respectively Smasher, and'Pinchgut AB before elated; they bad'beeh'conviots, and were assigned to Ronald from the Governi ment service, aa waa customary in those days; The system worked .very well in som i respects, fpr it relieved the State of a gooil deal of expense in ^aintaiping, prieonera a ; unprofitable work ¡ and it alBo assisted th

settlers,'frho wonfd have1 fouhd it diffionlt ti p roon re free labour, in the early days of that r yasentjally jenal settlement. ; The,men, when

kindly treated, were generally good and

»faithful serrante. Of oonrss tbere were some

_ irreclaimable characters amongst them, whD

^lUd never^baveiHemserfeYVel), either ajs; bold or free. Ronald had many assigned servants inv his .employ. As soon as they entered hie Berrica, he would tell them as long ai they conducted themselves well ami ¡ honestly, thev should, ,be, pat under np restraint, but reoeiVfe'the.'sWe treatment sis free men. ' He' ¿applied ' them with suffioieqt

clothing and food, abd a little money. Under ' these conditions; his experience went'to show' that assigned «errants were as good labour as free. On the either-hand, there were many employers who rnled their men with a rod of Iron, the least'infringement of their roles being punished srith the lash, eemi-sUrTatioh - «r other cruelties ; the jesuit being that the. , , poor>wre tehee lp njaoyinatsuoea took to,the

Bush, and lived a life of lawlessness, not only

robbfeg but murdering}, .ju aprae «asea the

martinets were the first victime. No owner of assigned servants could sentence his own men, bat A., a .magistrate, .would send hts

offenders to hit friend B., another magistrate, ' who would sentence them aa directed. Then B., would send his men to A., who would comply with B's.withes, oh the.prbiciple.that ^one goöa tarn deserves another." Govern mont women were, considering, their eek, -' treated by their «verseen and gaoler» with -'" ? even greater, barbarity;-They wei» aotnal|y.

docked with . rope»T round their unrist»,

óooasiónally wht^.in a^wndHiot^that ahould.

bavé . excited - the pity of Sends ; and »ere' j floMeíandotherwiae ill-treated. 7 ' i' .

Bmtsheräerived bia name from- the /offence ' for *hiohhe>hidbeeO tent ont, viz., p&asiag : counterfeit coin. Pinchgut received bia from

the fact that he had' worked in chains on a . .mall island of that name in Port Jaokeop.

What th* true patronymics-of these tao'-men' were, neither their master OT any one else in>

that quarter knew. ' They' themselves 'gave 'those . names, .-and as 'they worked as .well . tinder inore high Bounding onea, -they were

: never croat questioned. They, had been rwith ? -Eonaldasvaral years, and had always given, - tatitftotion. ; -They required most looking ; after when they Were;in town, and eeieoially when about leaving it, or they would be tore to treat and be treated :by their friends, till . they notable to discern the leaders from the ipolera in'their teams. However, aa Ranald ." waa usually : ia town with them, lie kept a :; lharp.we on thea, and hurried them off AU ? a' ' inoderaUly inebriate condition, - Ôuoe fairly ;'on the road they «night fee trusted, for though

? they tlwayanarrted a keg of epirit* withjhem V theymre4)oae>V^ougb. to' be alive to their

. MpomjhiUt¡ies,LkBd toole no more than did :

' tbemjÁod. - On the prêtent occasion Ronald - trañfled~ wkh - the - drays," -tra being mora '. anxioui than newt about, the blacki on the

:. road,' they having thown: eymptoms of an

Inclination to bi troublesome for some "time

..previously, y." i . f. - The ropte for the first two days lay thronbh -fa not-very interesting country. On tba v awopnd night' ibby camped *t aplaco oalled-;

iÜmeatone-now Ipswich. Here was an. abundance' of fiats and water,Tand a fair - prospectior mUee around. .Aa the bullocks ' ? ware Unyoked, the tired animait walked lei-

surely down lo water and slaked their thirst,

after which they all qùitely headed away to : : warde a patch ot bnrnt feed about ; a mile off,

of whioh they knew the whereatoute, as they, bad discovered it on their down trip.' No : matter how much old : grass may be growing

in the neighbourhood of a camp, if there is a bit of burnt fee, s.e., young grass that springs . io plaoe of old that has been bnrnt-within a,

reasonable, or> sometimes unreasonable : distanoe-the buflooka wfll be sure to smell it,

. and make-straight {or it.

.7 : Thepreparations for' a camp when

travelling with teams, are. few and Bimple. There are always favourite camping places on a lins Cf road into the interior, which can be , reached, barring accidents, every. night. . These placée haye grass and water Tor the bullocks and other animals, in all. ordinarily ' ' ' good seasons ; but woe to; the bullock-drivers

and their off-aiders, if a large mob of sheep has been camping there previous to their ; arrival, for cattle will not eat 'groas over .'which sheep have travelled, but wander and scatter for miles, discontentedly. The first thing to be done afrer. the dray is drawn on r to a suitable spot, ia to chock the .wheels and

drop the propaticks ; unhook > the outlooks

from the pole, and draw them. alongside the -the .dray. Then the greatest rogues are bobbled, belle are strapped round the necks

bf others, and the unyoking proceed«, begin-. Bing with the polers. The chains, hows, yokes, and keys, are dropped last where they are taken off. When all the bullocks are

free, the driver proceeds to slip every bow into ita proper holes in the yokes, and the keys into the bows, that everything may be ready for yokine-up in the morning. If it is a camp where dingoes, or native cats abound, the keys are put into a pocket at the aide of 'the dray, or those destructive animale would ' probably eat the green hide or leather ties by

wbiob they are fastoned to the bows, and give the driver the trouble of cutting a fresh lot,

These voracious animals have been known to runaway with, or-eat on the spot, whips, bridle«, portions of saddles, or anything they could find lying about, especially in thc . winter when preaaed with hunger. They

j have indeed been bold enough to gnaw saddles

nnder sleepers' heade, and carry off their


The unyoking completed, and the tackling ' se( in order, tho next thing Ito bc considered

is tea, The quart pots and billies are un- strapped from tho tail of tho dray, where they have, swung and rattled at every jolt, from breakfast lill dinner, and from dinner till tea. Thc "prog" bag is hauled from its nook amongst the unloading, cr from between the folds of the tarpaulin ; a fire is made, and the billies and quart« are filled with water, ' and put on to boil. In more modern times, if the party is large, a galvanised iron bucket is substituted. While the temperature of the water is rising to 212deg.-the lowest that good tea can possibly be made at (thia is a hint to ladies who preside at tea)-tho bullock-drivers and their mates go to a water- hole and wash, or, if it is hot weather, have a dip. Those who consider cleanliness in the light of a superfluity-and they are legion throw themaelvei on to tb« gronndand smoke, When all ar« »gain iwimhwd, and the salt

.'kl' ?)?'?...< .'? ?

beef and damper are ahoi; ont pf the bag on toi a tin diah, or piece of, bark cut for the oooa sion, each'man dips his pannikin into the sugarbag, then:poors the eoalding tea from' his quart pot into it andi back several times,! till his allowance ra sweetened to hiB taste.! Then they set-to with.their knives, and back! off "junks'ilof,damper and beef, which they] hold in ono hand, and :slios off/anything but. delicate lumps i to aram into, their mouths.! After their meal, they spread the tarpaulin] over each dray, letting the sides fall to tho ground all round ; the blankets, and bedding if any, are unrolled,.and ¡either /spread before, the blazing log lu-e, or under the draysj

swording jip tim fancy of the owners, who, it not tob'trred sifter their day's labour, would smoke and yarn. The cheerful blaze is very provocative of "yarns, ind often, in those days,' [ a good tale was elicited by the apparently

offensive,! but generally . as well reoeivsd"as good-naturedly put question, Vi say; Bill, what were you .Jagged, for?" , When tireq of yarning the party would roll themselves up in their blankets for the night. i ,¡- With the earliest streak,of daylight Jupiter wai roused. uj). and Bant to ' catch the old "screw," and go' after the bullock's, which he set about willingly and smartly he set after a stretch and rufjbing his eyes till they were thoroughly open, for black boys are alway! hard to wake m the early morning He lit his pipe, warmed his clothes at the fire before putting them on} and then hanging his 'bridle ' round his neok, anfl putting his saddle on his head, stalked off lou the'frocks of the -old horse. The -stock- whip is carelessly *i thrown over bis ^boulder;, and trails behind; in - the dewy grass. He carries a biasing firestick, ^the invariable po : oomnanimsnt'Of an Australian black,, summer or winter, wet or dry. i He .trioka the horeb, unhesitatingly through. the long grass, not- withstanding the confused network pf recent oattle . tracks) and tracks of dingoes' and kangaroos, among which the Old screw has threaded his way in hobbles. ' found and saddled, and Júpiter sees the tracks of the bullocks' are trending towards the burnt feed as he expeoted. Ho 'finde twenty-eight out of the thirty-four In different mobs within a mile or so, and leaves them while he goes in aearoh of the missing ones. He says, as he looks for their tracks, , ? .. . , :

, « Them old divila is always a pokin' about, and oan't behave theireelves like 'epeoiable animals no how. By jingo I I'll rattle.'em up when I come across em, the old oneaes I"

Just then he comes, upon the tracks of a small mob leading towards a bit of scrub threequarters of a mile down a big flat, and after' sxa'miningthem attentively fdr a' few mómente, he canters away in the direotion they have taken, Saying, '

1 "I know you, you old cows) You're Banger, Diamond, Nelson, Boxer,' Spot, Downy, and . ? ? why, whose tracks is that 1 By jingo 1 you trip me up, for I: don't know youj I. could e swore it was that old cow faced Baily's tracks,'' He thought that to call a bullock a 'J ¿ow," or "cow-faced,",was an insult of the highest order to the beast .addressed',' and commensurately "hurtful to its feelings. " Np, ' it ain't Bally no ways, for I seen him with'the mob; This nigger gives it up then." '' . i

' . He' rodé 6n puzzled, and somewhat out of . temper on that account, for lie prided .'himself on' knowing every rogue's or rambler's track in the mob. He shortly reached the scrub, and found his delight that the bullock whose track he could not make oat, was a black and white .stranger.' On collecting the bullock»,

and driving them towards the camp, Smasher, ' whose eye was sharp, noticed: the étranger and Stinted him out ere , the mób reached the

rays, saying,

" I do believe that's Magpie, as Jim the Slogger^-hitn ss drives for old Me AttUUr, of

Ourraourra, at the Big "Bangs-lost a year, ágone. Ile slipped his nobby old head ont of1 thè yoke »lear the oauip'we stop at to-night,

and baited, and the country was too boggy : for the blaok-boy to pull him agen. Ain't he fat I Shall we take him on, sift"

' "Yes;" eald;Ronald, "if we can'do so with dot losing time over him. 'Wego within a mile or'sb'of the Cnrraeurra head-station, and can deliver him np when we get there.: But I ' expect we will net be able to keep him till

then, for he is a terrible rogue. I hate poley bullocks, they are always roguish."

.".Leave him to me, sir. PH fix him so's he won't;''get his head out of Ohanoery. I'm fly

to thè likes of him."

' "Bet yera bottle of rum; Smasher, :he'll dodge yer,",said'Pinohgiit;. ; " Don*, with you, mate."

The two shook hands, which was tanta- mount to booking, the bet,' after which it would have been considered highly dis- honourable for either to draw out of it, thus proving the old adage, "Honour amongst thieves.". Each man looked pleased at the certainty of winning the bottle of rum from

he other.

( To be continued. )