Thursday, 27 June 2013


Thought while I was on the subject of Droving .......

I want to share with you A.B. Paterson's wonderful poem


I had written him a letter which I had ,  for want of better
Knowledge , sent to where I met him down the Lachlan years ago;
He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,
Just on spec , addressed as follows, "Clancy of the Overflow"

And an answer came directed in a writing unexpected
(And I think the same was written with a thumb-nail dipped in tar);
'T'was his shearing mate who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it :
"Clancy's gone a droving, and we don't know where he are."

In my wild erratic fancy , visions come to me of Clancy
Gone-a-droving "down the Cooper" where the Western drovers go ;
As the stock are slowly stringing, Clancy rides behind them singing,
For the drovers life has pleasures that the townsfolk never know.

And the bush has friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him
In the murmur of the breezes and the river on it's bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlight plain extended,
And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars.

I am sitting in my dingy little office, where a stingy
Ray of sunshine struggles feebly down between the houses tall,
And the foetid air and gritty of the dusty dirty city,
Through the open window floating, spreads it's foulness over all.

And in the place of lowing cattle, I can hear the fiendish rattle
Of the tramways and the buses making hurry down the street ;
And the language uninviting of the gutter children fighting
Comes fitfully and faintly through the ceaseless tramp of feet.

And the hurrying people daunt me, and their faces haunt me
As they shoulder one another in their rush and nervous haste,
With their eager eyes and greedy, and their stunted forms and weedy,
For townsfolk have no time to grow, they have no time to waste.

And I somehow rather fancy that I'd like to change with Clancy,
Like to take a turn at droving where the seasons come and go,
While he faced the round eternal of the cash-book and the journal
But I doubt he's suit the office, Clancy, of the Overflow.

How about that....such wonderful words....

This poem was written in 1889.....124 years ago.

And he thought things were hectic then....

I love the line

" for townsfolk have no time to grow, they have no time to waste"

But the 2 most beautiful lines are

" He  sees the vision splendid of the sunlight plains extended
And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars"

 This 'Clancy of the Overflow' was a real person , Thomas Gerald Clancy who Banjo (A.B. Paterson)  contacted while he was working as a Lawyer,  regarding an unpaided account.
Thomas was working on a sheep station called 'The Overflow ' 100 klms south west of Nyngan in N.S.W

He received a reply that simply read

" Clancy's gone a droving, and we don't know where he are "

He though it looked like it had been written by a thumb nail dipped in this was the inspiration for this great Australian Poem....

It seems that the said ' Clancy ' years later wrote a  poem for Banjo called

                                                             Clancy's Reply

Neath the star-spangled dome
Of my Austral home,
When watching by the camp fire's ruddy glow,
Oft in the flickering blaze
The sun-drenched kindly faces
of the men of Overflow.

Now, though years have passed forever
Since I used, with best endeavour
Clip the fleeces of the jumbucks
Down the Lachlan years ago,
Still in memory linger traces
Of the many cheerful faces,
And the well remembered visage
Of the Bulletins "Banjo".

Tired of life upon the stations,
With their wretched, scanty rations,
I took a sudden notion
That a droving I would go;
Then a roving fancy took me,
And decided me to travel,
And leave the Overflow.

So with maiden ewes from Tubbo,
I passed en route to Dubbo,
And cross the Lig'num country
'where the Barwon waters flow;
Thence onward o'er the Narran,
By scrubby belts of Yarran,
To where the landscape changes
And my path I've often wended
Over drought-scourged plains extended,
where phantom lakes and forests
Forever come and go;
And the stock in hundreds dying,
Along the road are lying,
To count among the 'pleasures'
That townsfolk never know.

Over arid plains extended
My route has often tended,
Droving cattle to the Darling,
Or along the Warrego;
Oft with nightly rest impeded,
when the cattle had stampeded,
Save I sworn that droving pleasures
For the future I'd forego.

So of drinking liquid mire
I eventually did tire,
And gave droving up forever
As a life that was too slow.
Now, gold digging, is a measure,
Affords much greater pleasure
To your obedient servant,
" Clancy of the Overflow "

I read that Clancy and Banjo became life long friends

Until next time

Tuesday, 25 June 2013


Over the past couple of weeks an interesting story is coming to light which has all the ingredients of a true Australian Outback legend in the making.

The right characters are all there. have at centre stage the

 BOSS DROVER.....then you have

A very large amount of ....


Then the great Aussie


taking a risk only a mad man would take

And lastly you have


....which to my mind is the most important ingredient.

The photo above is of the Boss Drover Bill Little who is probably a legend already in the Western parts of this great state of Queensland.
I'm not sure when he took on his first job of walking cattle from A to B. Thinking back it was probably around the mid 1980's

When ever you are driving the highways of the west and come across a drover it is usually Bill.
He is very noticeable by the way he sit in his saddle.

 A big man who is not to be messed with.....just the right ingredient for his ...I was going to say 'job' but I think 'passion' is a better word.

Droving is HARD you are out in the weather day after day night after night in all conditions.

You spend your days in the saddle and your nights in a swag.

There is no such thing as a day off.

You make discussions regarding your stock on an hour to hour basis and you and you alone are responsible for the safe arrival of these animals at their destination.

In this case this mob is worth in excess of $7 million

If you've had an inch of rain or 5 inches  and your horse and the cattle are knee deep in mud......if it is freezing with winds that will cut you in half....

It doesn't matter

The cattle still have to walk their 10klms a day ...this is the law imposed by the shire councils that the stock routes run through.

 A stiff fine is the result of not keeping the mob on the move.

But Bill is a master of his trade and if this outback legionary cattle drive is going to go down in history as the last great mass movement of cattle .....then having this man at the helm is the first ingredient for success.

The cattle have been purchased from the largest cattle company in Australia the Australian Agricultural Company know far and wide simple as the AA Company.

The cattle have come from the great cattle stations of the far north....places like the famed
'Brunette Downs'
It is situated on the Barkley Tableland of the Northern Territory.
It runs 110,000 cattle and is 660 klms north west of Mt Isa.

Then there's 'Anthony's Lagoon '
Another of the A.A. Company's major cattle factories.
It is also on the Barkley and is 440 klms north east of Tennant Creek.

And last but not at all least is

 'Camobie' which is in the far north west of Queensland and 180 klms from Julia Creek.

The cattle will be trucked to shires around the central western parts of Queensland

Aramac and

Each mob numbering 2000 head will be unloaded into the capable hand of drovers hand picked by the the boss drover.

They will follow each other leaving up to a week between mobs.

Bill will take the last mob.

In all 18,000 head of young female cattle will begin their journey south to Hay in New South Wales.

A journey of almost 3000 klms.

Bill has said he thinks it will take 3 months.

He is not concerned about the amount of feed for the cattle as they travel..but water he says will be the biggest thing on his mind as 18,000 head drink a lot and the stock route dams and troughs are not used to catering to this amount of cattle.

But of this he says that the cattle are all young and strong and if they have to go for a few 'dry spells' then this will not hurt them especially with winter in full force.

He says he is looking forward to the challenge and also feels that history is in the making...

Then we have the real risk taker enter South Australian Pastoralist Tom Brinkworth pictured above.

Don't let looks deceive you....

This humble looking 76- year- old  has a net worth of $200 million and controls   1 million hectares of agricultural land spread over 99 properties in his home state of South Australia and recently after purchasing the famous Merino Stud 'Uardry' has extended his interests into New South Wales.

 As yet he doesn't own any land in Queensland.

He also owns 350,000 sheep and 80,000 head of last count!!

In an interview which he rarely gives, he is quoted as saying he has always been a fan of another days-gone-by great Australian Pastoralist Sir Sidney Kidman and says there is a lot to learn from this man achievements.

When asked if he considers himself a wealthy man he says he is 'comfortable'.....

" Wealth is related to the smallness of wants" he says.
He also says "I've got an awful determination"

.......... and a dream I'd say.

Well at last reports these 9 different mobs with their 9 different drovers and their men were all on the road and the 'Great Drive' has commenced.

I will try my best to keep you informed as this unfolds

Until next time.

Take a look at my paintings and drawings on my website