Wandering Kemp




RON KERR – reminiscences of a working drover



Wandering  Kemp


He came in out of the glare off the open flat
Water bag in hand, swag across his back
Dropped his gear saying, “Name’s  Wondering Kemp,
Thought I’d, find company when I cut the sign of your camp


I said; “Grab yourself some tea, there beside the fire
He said; “I heard about this travelling mob by way of mulga wires;
I am looking for a job, if there is one to be had.
I can do anything in the droving line and I know all the pads


I said; “We are short of a cook, if that work is in your line?”
“You’ve never seen a better ‘babbler’.  at that  I’ve served my time.
I can make a feed of anything, of that you need not fear
Can pick a good camp and a place to set up the cooking gear.”


“You’re hired! we move off dinner camp in the cool.”
“They  call me ‘Wandering Kemp’ but if that’s  too long, call me ‘Kemp’
I, said,  “We have been working short handed, had to change the rules
This is the horse tailor, you’ll work along with him, name,’s Trent


Trent has only to catch the horses while l put the packs in order
I’ve worked a lot with packs, and crossed every state border
I need this job to get my feet off the ground
All this walking, has left my boots unsound


The droving camp is more complete, since Kemp joined the crew
Men are more contented, with Kemp’s tasty stews
With more sharing of the night watch, men get more sleep
Good cooks are hard to find to make a camp complete


Once, when a storm broke in the middle of the night
Kemp was up to cover up and kept the fire alight
As the night watchman came to change
Kemp had hot coffee for them, after being out in the rain


It has been said; good cooks can make a good camp all over
A contented camp can make a good boss drover
Cooks like Kemp are talked about around drovers fires
This talk about cooks, go the mulga wires