Sunday, September 23, 2012

How to Comment

Some people have had trouble commenting. Here is a step by step guide:

At the bottom of a blog post you will see this:

If no one else has posted a comment on that blog post yet it will have 'No Comments:' in red. Click on 'No Comments:'. The page will then re-load with a box like this:

Type in your comment in the box like this:

Click on 'Publish'. The page will re-load again and show your comment, like this:

Adding more comments or replying to comments is the same process. Type in the empty box, click on Publish.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Pioneers


Below the Murray River, in a quiet and shady glen'
There stands a simple tribute to our pioneering kin.
Rusty iron and rotted wood, ruins of a rustic shack
Far from any township, far from any track.

As I stood upon the threshold I felt a warming glow
I felt the spirit of men and women from long, long ago.
I could hear a mother calling and the scurry of children's feet
A meagre meal of gravy mash, this night there is no meat.

The mother gave a heavy sigh, her shoulders slowly drooped
The father, empty handed, cast his shadow as he stooped.
A weary man of thirty years, aged by toil and care
He kissed his wife, a gentle kiss and sat heavily in his chair.

'No luck today, missus, no gold amongst the clay'
No sign of any fortune, but tomorrows another day.
These words were often spoken, they lay sadly in her heart
She knew he tried his best, and knew she must do her part.

'Tomorrow then, my husband, tomorrow is the day
Tomorrow you are sure to find gold amongst the clay.
They sat for the evening meal set on plates of shining tin
Father giving thanks to their Lord, before the meal could begin.

A baby in a rough hewn crib, coughed and cried in pain
It filled the room with sadness, a child may die again.
One more small marker by the creek near the family home
This was the legacy of those that came, pioneers to the bone.

In the flickering light of candle the pair would sit and talk
Summer breeze beckoned them, but they would rather sit than walk.
Mother would dream of England, Somerset in the Spring
Father always pondering on what tomorrow, for them, may bring.

No thought of turning back at all, no fear of giving in
As for the early pioneers to quit would really be a sin.
They struggled on with hope, a future in their mind and soul
Happiness in this new found land was the pioneer's main goal.

I left the shack and wandered, their hardship made me sad
I found the graves of ancestors, four years, the oldest lad.
Three more lay bedside him and in my heart I cried
Dysentery and typhoid was how many people died.

Then through the mist of my reverie, I heard my kinsman shout
I saw the look of wonder as his wife turned about.
With new strength he gathered her, they danced and laughed in glee
For in his hand, yellow gold, it would end their misery.

Gather children, missus, we're off to town this day
I'll hurry over yonder and borrow horse and dray.
Sickly son she bundled, then knelt and prayed aloud
Treated by the doctor, he would grow and make them proud.

As I dreamt of sailing ships and journeys from far off places
I saw the determination on the cavalcade of faces.
I knew the son would live in this land so large and free
I stood, pride showing for how this great Nation came to be.

NOTE: My Great Grandfather arrived in Sydney in 1850. In 1852, after walking to Victoria, he married and began digging for gold at Yackandandah, Osborne Flat and other places in the area.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Teenager Story?

It has been suggested that I write something for the kids, or teenagers.  It may be a good thought, but I am afraid that asking me to write about the kids of today, or for the kids of today, would be like asking me to do a thesis on neuro-surgery.

It is a long time since I was a kid, well physically; I have been a bit of a kid most of my life, but that is my mind kid, not the up-to-date, muscle-fingered, mobile-phone-implanted teenager we see these days.

Even if I did have something to say to them, how do you get through the screen of technology surrounding them like a barb wire, land mined fence?

I wouldn't  have the mind to write the Potter yarns—I would scare the wits out of myself on the first page.

The language has changed, and I don't  have a kid-speak-spell checker on my 'pute yet.

The only things that I know about teenagers is that the terrible times that they have are still the same from my day.  Isn't that a lovely expression, 'in my day'?  I think so, but teenagers hate it.  Instead we hear, "I didn't ask to be born."  "Everyone hates me."  "I don't see why I should have to work when I can get the dole."  Although the last one was not around "In My Day."

How about the dress sense of our kids today—they all dress the same.  They can't tie shoelaces, they can't pull their pants up and they can't work out how to put a simple peak cap on their scruffy heads.
Their excuse: We don't want to conform to the oldies, we wanna'  all look the same as the other kids, so's we kin' be diff-net."

So, Me write for kids?  I hardly never say never, but in this case I might say, I will look into it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Smell of Leather and Dubbin'

This is  a photo of the J McGrath Saddlery in Fitzmorris Street, Wagga Wagga, NSW.

When this photo was taken it was owned by my grandfather, Charles Harry Rake and Silvio Palazzi.

I never knew my grandparents on either side of the family,  but it is great to have such photos of my ancients.

Below are the names of the people in the photo. They are the saddlery employees and owners. This information from Reginald Brown as of June 1991 living at 6 Turner Street, Turvey Park, Wagga Wagga. Reg Brown (dec) was an employee for the Rake & Palazzi saddlery but was made redundant in July 1924. Reg Brown is included in the saddlery photo. I spoke to Reg Brown in company with Michael Starr, historian of Wagga Wagga, on 13 June 1991.

Back row: L to R
1. Unknown
2. Bill Jones
3. Harry Fordham (Dixie)
4. Alfred ‘Bosey” Pulver
5. J Hopkins
6. Fred Gordon
7. Robert Peel-Miller (Bookkeeper)
8. Charles Harry Rake (Owner)
9. Silvio Alfieri Palazzi (Owner)

Front row L to R
1. Bill Arndt
2. William John Rake
3. Percy John Arnold Rake
4. Charles Harry Rake (Jnr Chip)
5. Leslie ‘Brum” Clarke
6. Reginald Brown
7. Ernest Leslie Lionel Rake (My Dad)


Charles Harry Rake worked for John Joseph (Jack) McGrath the previous owner and first owner of this establishment. Charles Rake purchased the saddlery from McGrath in conjunction with E H Ferguson, who subsequently sold out his share to Silvio Palazzi. Silvio Palazzi was a Sergeant Saddler in the Boer war.

The saddlery building was built by Charles Hardy & Co. and designed by the architect W. J. Monks in c 1893. J. J. McGrath moved into the new building in 1893 and employed up to 16 tradesmen.

The land Allotment 2 Section 45A at Fitzmorris Street was given by government grant to J. J. McGrath on 25 February 1892.

The McGrath or Wagga saddle became famous in Australia and a Mr Price took one of the saddles to Chicago US to the World’s Columbian Exposition where it received a bronze medal in 1893.

Rake & Palazzi continued to make the Wagga Saddle under the McGrath saddle brand name. (I have in my possession a shield from one of these saddles with the name J. J. McGrath clearly embossed).

Three saddlers continued in Wagga Wagga up to at least 1926 at Rake & Palazzi’s Riverina Saddlery Establishment. Hiscock & Co (est c1904) Rabbets & co of Bayliss Street.

By the ages of those in the photo it is estimated that the photo was taken about 1924.

Rake people in  the photo:

William John Rake was a son of Charles Harry Rake moved to Sydney and made jockey saddles that were exported to the US.

Percy John Arnold Rake was the brother of Charles Harry Rake and the only other surviving male of the Rake family from William Rake and Sarah Rake (nee Barber) of Albury and Yackandandah Vic. Although family members have claimed that Percy John Arnold Rake was a part owner of the saddlery there is nothing in the records to indicate that he was any more than an employee of Rake & Palazzi.

Charles Harry Rake, also know as Chip (Chip off the old block). His family later moved to Western Australia. Chip married Alma Healy.

Ernest Leslie Lionel Rake was the author’s father. Les Rake was a harness maker at his father's business (Les is buried in Wagga). He married Agnes Estelle Tod, sister of J. G. Tod the well-known stock transport operator and owner, of Wagga.

Les Rake carried the names of his deceased uncles that had died at an early age in the rigors of the goldfields in North West Victoria, and was buried at the Yackandandah cemetery.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Dogger, Dingo Trapper

Once were Dingos Now are Wild dogs

In the early days the predator dog was mainly a dingo, the dog that was here before European settlement. The dingo had as much bush savvy as the aboriginal people, and could track prey for many miles. This dingo was called a Warrigal.

Later, the dingo became known as 'a wild dog'. This title occurred with the mixing of working dogs that had strayed from droving camps, properties and from townies that insisted on keeping working dogs without giving them work.

The working breed dog is bred to work; working is as instinctive as mating with these animals, and some of the working dogs already have dingo in their blood lines. The Blue and Red Heelers are a typical example of the dingo trait.

These heelers can become quite angry if kept chained without plenty of exercise, as they get bored easily, and express that boredom with anger.

Mixed back with the pure dingo, a cross bred Blue Heeler can become a both savage predator or a humanised animal, the latter being much further from the cautious bush dingo. Stock, up to large calves, have little hope against one or two of these cross breeds.

So, then comes the most disgusting job that any man can take on. The pay might be good, if the man is good at his trade, but the living conditions leave much to be desired. Enter the "dogger"—humans shunned when at work, but most needed by those that might shun him.

The stock owners of all states and territories must keep on the good side of these professional doggers, if they don't it could well cost them stock losses that cannot be afforded. In Queensland, recently, the cost of stock killed by dingos and wild dogs was in the vicinity of sixty-six million dollars.

The dogger must not smell like a human, as humans are the enemy of the wild dogs. Many have come in contact with humans in the past, and the instinct is passed down through the teaching of the older dogs to the young. So, the dogger makes himself smell, as much as he can, like a bitch in heat. This is done by having several tame bitches in his camp and catching their urine in something like a hub cap from a derelict vehicle of a flat pan of some sort, although the flat pan idea could lead to it being used for cooking, by mistake. Better the hub cap.

These female dogs can be trained to urinate in a hub cap without much trouble, and many will hang on until the cap is produced.

The urine from the collection is kept in a glass jar, not tin as tin will react to the acids in the urine, and the urine is also segregated according to the state of fertility of the bitch.

In 'season' urine is prized, and used sparingly to drip onto the set trap, or to entice wild dogs to congregate in certain areas so that shooting is productive. This is only employed in open downs areas where shots can be multiple because of the range of vision. It is not very productive to spend a week or more setting the enticing smells only to get one shot off in a wooded area.

With the handling of his bitches, and catching their urine, some is sure to end up on the dogger's hands and clothing. This is never washed off, and eventually the dogger becomes to smell like one of his dogs himself.

The dogger is given meat and other provisions from the stations that he is contracted with. In some cases a high bounty, above the twenty-five dollars Pastoral Protection board bounty, is paid to the dogger for each scalp, tail and ears of a dingo or wild dog, depending on the amount of stock losses in the area 'dogged'.

In 1959 a bounty of two hundred and fifty pounds was paid for a black and white wild dog.

Wild dogs of current times, are fetching up to $500 for a scalp, and this dog could be running with several lesser dogs that would bring a large sum if all were caught at one time, or during hunt session, which might last up to a month.

As the dogger gets closer to civilisation, town dogs are often caught in the traps of the firing line, and this only serves as a lesson to those that do not control their dogs, and really is no great loss to society.

Trapping dogs is an art. From the time that the good dogger finds the most suitable and most used trail of the marauding dogs,  to the time the trap slams shut on a leg.

The trap is a dog trap, not a rabbit trap as some lesser qualified dog trappers try to use. The dog trap is much stronger and shuts harder but the jaws will cut almost through the dog's leg; if it doesn't, the dog will chew the leg off and escape. It will still be able to hunt with a pack, with three legs, so the trapper's time is wasted, and he has made a dog much more wary of humans than it was before.

The professional dogger carried hessian strips with him as he sets the traps. He wraps one jaw of the trap with the hessian, and in each layer of the wrap sprinkles some strychnine poison.

The trap shuts, the dog is caught with a wound opening on its trapped leg, the poison enters through the wound and also through the dogs mouth as it chews at its leg trying to get out of the trap. The dog is usually dead within fifteen minutes.

I do not want to get into the cruelty of the trade of the dogger. It is something that is done, and something that can cost the stock industry millions and millions of dollars if it is not done.

There are many stories, and so called secret methods used by the doggers of this country, but the one I have described is from first hand experience, watching a dogger at work, from a distance.

The Dogger

I am in the process of writing about the work of the dingo trapper, or as he was known a "dogger".

These men were few and far between, and probably less in these days of aerial 1080 baiting.

The dogger worked alone, in the most unsanitary conditions, and I will explain why in the story.

It is a cruel occupation, for the animal, but as man felt necessary, his livelihood had to be protected.

I wonder

Where does your lap go when your stand up?

Monday, September 10, 2012


It is always a problem to me at voting time when I realise that no matter who I vote for I will be voting for a politician.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Medical Science

The wonders of Medical Science are forever astounding.

Recent studies have shown that diarrhea is hereditary.

It runs in your genes.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Breakfast Time

From time to time my mind takes a turn away from the happy days of the Outback experience, and lands in the time of now.

There are many intriguing thoughts that arise with living in the time of no.

How happy one is when one reads that our country's food health protectors allow certain amounts of cockroach body parts and excreta, mouse and rat droppings, dried maggots—I was so pleased to read that wet maggots are not permitted. But wait, there is more—dust, dirt and other contaminates that may or may not be identifiable, are likewise allowed in your morning breakfast cereal.

I know it is suggested that the parts per million is not a lot, but lets look at this closely.  How would it be if it is discovered that the contaminates in one hundred kilogram of cereal has all the above contaminates in their allowable quantity, and the bag is shaken so that these contaminates all congregate at the bottom of the bag, and the box of cereal that you pick from the shelves is made up entirely of that portion of the bag?

Now, that's a different thought, hey?

Maybe a drover's breakfast is preferable, as it only consists of a fart, a scratch of the bum, a cuppa and a cigarette. Nothing to contaminate there!!!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Adam and Eve and Celery

This is undoubtedly an around the campfire topic.  It would be more colorful with a dram or five of Bundy Rum, or a slab or two of "Barbwire".

It is a bit religious, but surely the mind of the Bundy infected campfire addict can survive a little bit of religion.

The matter I would like to broach is the concept that Adam and Eve were perfect. If this is correct, why was this couple deprived of the joy of laying in bed together, eating crisp celery stalks? A pleasure that many of us ordinary, and manifestly, imperfect folk were allowed many times, forever after in perfect joy, of so doing.

I would, in support of my research into this most mind blowing correction of ancient times, cast a critical eye on the following depiction of the said couple.

This extravagance of nakedness is an example of the correctness of my statement, ergo eating celery in repose.

Let us consider the delights of eating celery in bed, as a couple, because this is the most exciting way to carry out this culinary delight.

It is well known that, crisp celery eating in this manner is only highlighted by the availability of salt as a condiment to add to the taste, or to the moment, or to whatever salt is found to enhance in this regard.

When one carries out this delightful exercise, is it not the normal custom to hold this salt in the depression known as the belly button?

It is not frowned upon for the partners in celery imbibing in this fashion to use the salt laden belly button of the other person, and some have even suggested that this increases the crispness of the stalk, of the celery of course.

Now, back to this age old depiction of Adam and Eve.  You will see that the artist has drawn salt repositories on both Adam and Eve. This, of course, is a blatant distortion of the facts. You see, it is from the very words of the most influential book on Adam and Eve and their kids, that Adam and his missus, were created—they did not come from an egg or from the womb of another mammalian species and thus would not have had an umbilical cord between them or any one else for that matter.

So on the subject of the first pair's perfection, why was it necessary to forbid them of eating apples, compounded by the loss of the joy of eating crisp celery, dipped in salt in the comfort and privacy of one's home?

Maybe, just maybe, if celery and salt were allowed, they would not have even considered eating apples, hey?

I leave this conundrum to others of vast religious knowledge, or to celery eaters, worldwide.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Shy Pete

As a young bloke, I came across a windmill expert who was doing some repairs on a mill on the property where I was working as a station hand.

The boss was named Jack, and he had a kid working with him, a kid who was probably more shy than me.

I said G'day to Jack and the kid and started asking Jack about the windmill repair business.  Jack seemed happy enough telling me what he knew, but every so often he would yell at the kid in a most abusive manner.

"What's takin' ya so long? Get some ants in ya' bloody pants and get a move on."

The kid, in overalls, which were three sizes too big, and a greasy hat pulled down almost to over the ears, tried to hurry up but stumbled on the cuffs of the long legged overalls. I was thinking to myself that this poor kid was in the wrong job, and the boss was  too hard on someone that looked as young as this kid did, but there was no way I was going to say anything. 'Tanyrate, we got to talking, and I got to swearing about everything, just like men do, which I considered myself to be.

It got to be getting late in the day, and the boss suggested that I come back for a bite to eat later and, seeing as I was interested, he would go ove a few pointers with the working windmill.

When I got back there was no sign of the kid in the overalls, and I mentioned that fact, but not with a great deal of interest.

"Somewhere around," said Jack and started on about how he was an expert at windmill expertingl and how he ... I suddenly lost interest, as this pretty little girl came up from the tank. She was drying her hair. Long blonde hair, and had a bit of a smile on her cute face. I gulped, as young blokes do in the company of pretty little girls with wet hair,or wet anything for that matter, and turned my head away in embarrassment of my fine words of the afternoon.

"This is Jenny, 'me bloody daughter," Jack said as a sort of an  introduction, "She was the lazy kid with all the grease over her, today when ya' come."

"I ... I ...  I'm pleased to meetcha', an' I'm bloody sorry for bloody swearing today," I blundered.

"Don't worry about it. This old bastard bloody swears at me all the bloody time." Now this was the first time I had heard a young girl swear like this, and to tell the truth it didn't sound right, but her looks covered  her words very nicely.

I couldn't concentrate on what Jack was saying for the rest of  the evening, and he knew what my trouble was.

"Not a lot of shelias out here, hey, Pete?"

"Yeah! Yeah! No, no there ain't."

Me being as shy as a bloke with a busted zipper in a dance hall, I was as red as a beetroot as Jack asked Jenny what she thought of me.

"Yeah! He looks all right, Ive seen worse," and she laughed out loud.

I can tell you, with encouragement like that any young bloke would go for it, so I opened up with "Ya' wanna go to the pitchers, Jenny?"

'Yeah, I suppose."

Jenny and I helped each other with our shyness over the next six months.

I left Aramac a changed man, and wondered about Jenny for some time after that.

I am not saying that this is Jenny, but it could be 'cause it is a long time ago and me' memory is a bit gone, ifn' ya' know what I mean!