So anyway, as usual everything about my life seems to revolve around my December release and Alick Mclean,(I’m beginning to think Alick is getting way too comfortable being in the limelight lately…) it doesn’t start out that way, but it always ends up there. Take our Timber Town visit…. There I was minding my own business taking a stroll down memory lane and wishing I could step back in time for just a day to see when towns were really like this, when all of a sudden I remember Alick and his pre and post war trade as a bullocky! And guess what? Timber Town has a bullock team demonstration! See how my life is? I swear it’s like Alick is always there pointing me in some weird direction that always comes back to him!
And as usual it didn’t take much to hook me when Craig Lockwood, Timber Town’s Bullocky started his demonstration.
However, as is with everything at Timber Town you can’t help but get drawn back into a time when things were less complicated and feel as though you’ve stepped back in time.
I have to agree with Craig though, it’s important not to let our history disappear. Bullocks played such a major part in building our towns, roads, timber industries as well as transporting wheat, sugar cane and wool to the docks for loading onto ships before rail even existed. They were used to clear farm land and harvesting (my grandfather apparently used a bullock team in his younger years on his land for both clearing and harvesting.)
The below photo is taken in front of the Star Hotel in Macksville which you might remember was the pub I base a lot of my pubs from my books on. It's also featured in the December release! You can check these photos out over at the Nambucca historical Museum site too. http://www.nambucca.com.au/museum/
They pulled heavy loads, I found a record of 17 tonns of wool in 1906, from the property, Perricoota’, Victoria. *State library of Victoria photos.*
I then found an online article by Sally Nicol from the ABC Rural Reporter in ABC Southern Queensland who reported that Eric Reis and his 12 bullocks pulled a load of pine logs and potatoes weighing a staggering, 80.4 tonnes! The next year Eric broke this record with a load that weighed 101 tonnes!!!!!!!
I should have asked Craig if it were true that Bullock drivers swore a lot…I grew up hearing the phrase, ‘he swore like a bullocky’ but in reading up on bullocks apparently that’s not always the case, I guess we generalised back then too! It’s understandable when you hear a bullocky yelling as was in the demonstration at Timber Town, you can see how colourful language would have fit perfectly when dealing with sometimes, temperamental animals and rough tracks!
And I apologise for the fact there's no sound on the video! But trust me, they yell...a lot...and loudly!
I found this description of a 'typical Bullocky'
“A typical bullocky wore a cabbage tree hat, a twill shirt of that period, moleskin trousers, blucher boots and carried a long bullock whip which in many instances he had made.” Doesn’t this conjure up images. I wonder if Alick dressed like this?
Bringing another time to life, particularly to younger generations was part of the reason I wanted to write Alick’s story. I wanted to show what life was like in small country towns during and after WW1 and maybe show how some of the background factors of the time may have influenced what happened on that bright moonlight night back in 1920.
It's so easy to think you've stepped back in time at Timber Town and it's one place I will never get tired of visiting.