Life in the bush

Old Mar 22nd 2016, 4:23 pm
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Default Re: Life in the bush

Well, well! Fancy having junior RL teams in that area. I never heard of any in my day - although we didn't get into Tara much. It took over an hour to get there, with a winding road around melonholes that always made one of us kids carsick. At Hannaford there were no regular organised sports at all, except some scratch horse-races and polo games at the annual gymkhanas.

The families living in and around Hannaford have probably changed a lot since we left in 1955, and since Dad died in '64 and we sold the farm. Our near neighbours were Trivetts, Camerons, Toshes, Taylors and Fanes, + Cox, Lahey and another Cameron family down near the Moonie. The four Morris girls ended up in Toowoomba, I think. That's all I can recall. Don Neal (at Churchie with me) was a Queensland MLA for a time; he and I are still in touch. We used to catch the rail-motor to and from Toowoomba at the beginning and end of the school holidays, but our farms were too far apart for us to get together during the hols.
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Old Mar 25th 2016, 5:54 am
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Default Re: Life in the bush

Originally Posted by spouse of scouse View Post
Dreary is the last word I'd use to describe Britain. I don't prefer Britain over Australia, or vice versa, I love both places and am equally happy living in either. For now, my home is in Britain.

Regarding the Wirral - what's not to love? I haven't seen, heard or experienced one thing that would make me regret moving here.

I'm not saying that Britain or Australia are perfect, if such a thing even exists, nor am I unaware of the positives and negatives of each country's social, economic and political climates. But I view each country through my own eyes and pretty much disregard polarized views, whether from media, government or, ahem, social media

Sorry you asked now, aren't you?
As a Liverpool girl myself, I have been wondering how you have been getting on with your new life on the Wirral. I don't want to veer this thread off track but I would l love it if you posted a separate thread on how you are settling in, what you like and don't like about about your new home .
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Old Mar 25th 2016, 5:12 pm
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SoS has certainly made a heck of a transition. Her post #5 on this thread is well worth re-reading. She was a real bushie, all right!
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Old Apr 4th 2016, 11:06 pm
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I was talking the other day with an expat from Guyana - formerly British Guiana - about mosquito-nets, of all things. I haven't see one of those for many years, though I suppose they must still be popular among campers and residents of malaria areas. When I was a boy, I always tucked mine in tight under the mattress so the snakes couldn't get into my bed during the night. Which snakes? The nest of them under the bed, that's which ones! There were at least twenty of them down there, maybe more. I firmly believed it was only the net that kept them away. And, here I am today - my life, a testament to those nets!
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Old Apr 15th 2016, 1:11 am
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One of my brothers has just disclosed that he has photos of our sheep farm (we called it a "station", but it was too small for that to be appropriate) from the 1950s, and some from the late '30s when our Dad and his brother worked the farm together. One of the photos is of the old shack where the boys used to live. When Dad got married, the neighbours built him a decent house, and the old one just fell apart and became infested with snakes. At least, we kids were told that, and we weren't allowed to play in it.

Mum was a city girl (Brisbane and Ipswich), but when first married she had to share the old shack with the two brothers, a blanket on a rope separating the two sleeping quarters. I asked Mum - in later years - how on earth I managed to be conceived in such circumstances. She laughed and said, "Poor Stace was made to go and check that the sheep in the top paddock had enough water every once in a while, in the dark." It involved a trudge of two or three miles, each time.

Stace went off to war in 1940, and was killed in New Guinea.
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Old Apr 23rd 2016, 3:00 pm
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Default Re: Life in the bush

Hey, Jo in Chinchilla! What's this report all about, then? Fracking sets the Condamine River on fire??!!
Watch: River Explodes Into Flames From Methane Coming From Nearby Fracking Sites - NationofChange | Progressive Change Through Positive Action
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Old Apr 25th 2016, 9:57 am
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Default Re: Life in the bush

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow View Post
Hey, Jo in Chinchilla! What's this report all about, then? Fracking sets the Condamine River on fire??!!
Watch: River Explodes Into Flames From Methane Coming From Nearby Fracking Sites - NationofChange | Progressive Change Through Positive Action
According to our local experts it's a natural occurrence that has been going on for quite some time. There's a gas field there about 100m below the surface and several areas are known to have fractures in the rock that allows the gas to escape naturally.
I just did a google search as I'm sure I read about this quite some time ago, here's a link to an alternative explanation from the one presented by the Greens MP.
River on fire in Greens MP's video is natural, not fracking, says CSIRO | Environment | The Guardian
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Old May 1st 2016, 5:28 pm
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My brother in Queensland has just sent me a batch of old photos from 1939 of our Mum & Dad on the farm at Hannaford. Dad with the sheep, horses, the old shack, the new house built specially for the young couple, a truck stacked with bales of wool, and a couple of distant photos of horses at the annual gymkhana. Among the irregular events at the gymkhana was a polo match**. I remember seeing one, so I can identify with Banjo Paterson's narrative poem "The Geebung Polo Club", which all immigrants should be forced to read before they get their naturalisation papers!
** I have watched polo played at Windsor Great Park, too - a much more sophisticated performance, though not quite as exciting.
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Old May 20th 2016, 11:51 pm
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Talking about electricity usage last night, I was reminded of our usage out on the farm. I guess most British Expats in Oz live in cities or towns "on the grid", and may not know how things are without the grid. My Dad ran a bank of 110 (?) volt batteries for an hour every night, and the power generated allowed us to have electric lights from dusk until we went to bed. We were allowed to have only three lights on at any one time, and we kids got yelled at if we left a room without switching off!

Our next-door neighbours a few miles away had enough money to buy a 240-volt generator, which meant they could have as many lights on as they wanted, but when they went to bed the whole shebang was shut down. If anybody got up during the night he or she had to use a torch just like us poor folk.

There wasn't a generator of any kind at the school we went to, so no fans. I can still remember how hot it was in the classroom, in summer.
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Old May 21st 2016, 12:14 am
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Default Re: Life in the bush

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow View Post
Talking about electricity usage last night, I was reminded of our usage out on the farm. I guess most British Expats in Oz live in cities or towns "on the grid", and may not know how things are without the grid. My Dad ran a bank of 110 (?) volt batteries for an hour every night, and the power generated allowed us to have electric lights from dusk until we went to bed. We were allowed to have only three lights on at any one time, and we kids got yelled at if we left a room without switching off!

Our next-door neighbours a few miles away had enough money to buy a 240-volt generator, which meant they could have as many lights on as they wanted, but when they went to bed the whole shebang was shut down. If anybody got up during the night he or she had to use a torch just like us poor folk.

There wasn't a generator of any kind at the school we went to, so no fans. I can still remember how hot it was in the classroom, in summer.
How did he charge the 110V batteries ? Looks like things like the Tesla Power wall will revolutionise bush living and turn the livability factor back in the country livings favour somewhat.
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Old May 21st 2016, 12:36 am
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Default Re: Life in the bush

Originally Posted by ozzieeagle View Post
How did he charge the 110V batteries ?
To my embarrassment, I have to admit that I've no idea. Even as a kid I was a technophobe. Also a sheepophobe, and useless around the farm - always behind the house reading a book when Dad was looking for help sorting the ewes from the non-ewes, and similar.
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Old Jul 30th 2016, 10:46 am
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Default Re: Life in the bush

Originally Posted by spouse of scouse View Post
I lived in Perth, not the bush, but my granddad worked on narrow gauge railways (used for transporting grain) and always lived in some small WA town or another. We used to visit him and Nan in the school holidays.

I remember two places vividly. Newdegate is about 400km south-east of Perth. It's a grain and sheep farming area in the Great Southern. We (Mum, Dad, 4 kids) stayed in a small cottage in a tiny settlement, as Nan and granddad's cottage was too small for all of us.

For me, the best part of our Newdegate trips was walking down a dirt track to visit a nearby farm. The farmer was lovely, and would let us sit on a low stone wall and watch him milk the cows by hand. He'd give us a go now and then, but I don't remember ever getting any milk out of the poor cows who were unfortunate enough to have this city kid squeezing the hell out of their udders. He'd always end the milking session by giving us each a huge tin mug of milk, all warm and frothy. We loved it.

I also remember walking down the same track to another cottage, with my Mum and baby brother. The owners of the cottage we stayed in lived here, and Mum had a pound note to pay the rent (pre-decimal days, it was around 1963). As Mum talked to the lady with my little brother on her lap, he grabbed the pound note and ripped it in half. Mum was mortified (and we were pretty poor, so she was probably in a mad panic as well). The lady was so lovely to Mum and told her not to worry about it, the torn pound would be fine, and she loaded Mum up with biscuits and cakes that she'd made.

The other place I remember visiting Nan and granddad in is Mullewa, 450km north of Perth and 100km east of Geraldton. Sparsely populated, home to huge wheat farms.

These visits were in my early teen years, so watching a cow being milked wasn't going to cut it I have to be honest and say I hated going there. Dusty, hot as hell and bugger all to do. One year when we went in the summer school holidays, there was a plague of mice AND a plague of cockroaches. The dunny (toilet) was an old long-drop out the back. If you woke up in the middle of the night and needed to go, you had to get a torch, go out the back and in the pitch black follow a path made out of slabs to get to the dunny.

All you could see on that seemingly endless walk was mice and cockroaches scuttling about in the light from the torch. It felt like the worst sort of torture to me and I have a horror of mice and cockroaches to this day.

The only good trip to Mullewa was in the year I turned 16, 1974. Mum decided that I was old enough to go to a New Years Eve party on one of the farms. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven - the party was held in the middle of a cleared paddock and all the young people from hundreds of miles around were there. I had my first 'grown up' kiss there, with a boy from one of the farms. We had such a great time, all piled in the back of utes and tearing around the paddocks, 'hunting' rabbits with a spottie (spotlight). Not a rabbit was caught of course, rabbits might not be the brightest creatures but they weren't so dumb as to hang around with all the noise we were making.

Thanks Gordon, it was nice to take a trip back to those days
I adored reading this. Although I'm younger, I spent my first nearly 7 years of life in Country WA "down south" and can relate to parts of what you've written. Re the farm party - perhaps the very start of the now well known B&S !
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Old Jul 31st 2016, 4:40 pm
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Default Re: Life in the bush

Originally Posted by spouse of scouse View Post
The dunny (toilet) was an old long-drop out the back. If you woke up in the middle of the night and needed to go, you had to get a torch, go out the back and in the pitch black follow a path made out of slabs to get to the dunny.

All you could see on that seemingly endless walk was mice and cockroaches scuttling about in the light from the torch. It felt like the worst sort of torture to me and I have a horror of mice and cockroaches to this day.
I'm trying to recall whether we had toilet paper or not. I don't think we could have done, since I have an image of squares of newspaper on a wire hook. This need for paper must have been what prompted the appeals for "PAPER!" from the gangers beside the railway line to every train that passed them. It was always a matter of honour for us passengers to throw out newspapers we'd read. I remember that from my journeys to and from boarding school, but it never occurred to me to wonder why, until now!
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Old Aug 30th 2016, 3:41 am
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I spent an hour on the phone to my cousin in Virginia this afternoon, some of it spent reminiscing about our respective lives in the bush. Her father (my dad's brother) was a bank-manager, and his two daughters were born in Surat, Queensland, which was sixty miles from our sheep farm. Today she mentioned that she knew Kim Somebody in Toowoomba, and I wondered how she knew him, and told her that his family lived thirty miles or so west of our place and our families used to visit each other once a year. She said she knew him from her time in Surat. That was strange, because my dad and her dad never made contact when they lived only those 60 miles apart! What an odd relationship those brothers had. They didn't dislike each other, at all; but just never bothered to see each other.

I only ever bumped into her once in Toowoomba (where we shared a grandmother), and never met her again until I flew up to stay with her in VA ten years ago.
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Old Aug 31st 2016, 1:15 am
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Default Re: Life in the bush

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow View Post
Hey, Jo in Chinchilla! What's this report all about, then? Fracking sets the Condamine River on fire??!!
Watch: River Explodes Into Flames From Methane Coming From Nearby Fracking Sites - NationofChange | Progressive Change Through Positive Action
The media loves to make a lot of drama about a one sided perspective. As Cresta mentions, it's something that's gone on for many years. Roma was third in line for street lights, after London and Paris, due to the naturally occurring, easily found gas which was discovered when looking for water.

I kayak, ski & swim in the river where the footage was filmed, well not at the moment as too cold and river levels too low due to drought.
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