Bullockies by L Braden.
Only 150 pages. First published 1968
Opens with 'An Old Master' from the selected verse of C.J.Dennis and that sets the tone quite nicely.
An excellent companion for 'Such Is Life' it is simply full of anecdotes from people who were there, even, and more often from their children and grandchildren, of the bullockies and their doings.
Being honest unadorned transcriptions of these people's anecdotes the volume lacks a novel's embellishments and flair for drama and building of suspense, etc.. Or even the same as presented in a modern sophisticated documentary. Because of this it can seem on first reading, I found, to be a little poker faced, a little dry and distant, unemotional, even uninvolved in the subject matter.
But that was my mistake. Read again an account and allow the mind to fully appreciate what has just been told and fill in the background, the surroundings, the environment and one finds oneself in the midst of real lusty, pungent drama alright - not Hollywood drama but true, earthy, everyday, working people's drama...
This goes back to the time when Australia was being built. Before the roads. Before the railways. When bullocks moved everything that moved, bullocks and boats and the bullocks served the boats.
It is a real, true window on old Australia, not the whole of it for sure, it concerns itself only with bullockies but what it does show it shows in that true way that can only come from true accounts of real people telling the stories they heard from their parents and grandparents, or recounting their own.
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