Water Tank Literature
RON KERR – reminiscences of a working drover
Water Tank Literature
Due to the complaints from tourists camping at the tanks – and usually shocked by the bawdy writing on the tanks – many of the stock tanks have been regularly painted with a uniform colour.
Prime example of the type of writing:
Rich girls have rings made of gold,
Poor girls have rings made of brass.
The only ring my girl has
Is around her fucking arse.
We don’t have that problem around the Northern Territory because, like NSW, our stock routes are mostly separate from the main road, plus station cattle use stock lanes where the drover will water his stock and move 3 to 4 mile out as not to be troubled by station stock. There’s no fencing or yards. Drovers watch their cattle every night. These days very few cattle are ‘walked’ due to the fact nowadays cattle are moved by ‘ball-bearing drovers’ i.e. road trains. Soon there will be no more contract mustering as everything is mustered by chopper helicopters and loaded on to the ball-bearing drovers.
If we were to handle stock like they do today we’d never get another job! Every yard now has a bone yard for the dead motherless calves, wandering around as food supply for dingoes.
The following was on a Government bore and like most; it had a windmill that pumped water into large square tanks, with an outlet pipe to a trough. Most tanks hold about 20,000 gallons of water. This one was at The Gap, 5 miles west of Werris Creek, and, at the time, all tanks were painted with black tar. Most drovers use these as information boards – registering who passed through, who was going where etc plus, they often left a ditty> including this one:
We were shearing out back in a wayside shack,
We had a greasy cook with a shit house look.
He stuffed our holes with his half-cooked rolls,
And poisoned Christ with his messes.
The penner up, with a sore-eyed pup,
And the boss was a whinging bastard,
I took a blow at a dirty old yeo (ewo = ewe)
The skin of her guts was rotten.
I curst and swore as the shitbag tore
And reached for the needle and cotton,
I put a stitch in the dirty old bitch,
Kicked her arse down the one-way path,
And said, go, you rotten bastard!
On the Bourke common-gate someone had tied up the white skull of a big bullock and written in charcoal (on the head):
Here lies one of a few
Driven to death by Hughie McQue (a well-known Bourke drover. Possibly McKew)
A Hungerford pub had a sign on its toilet door:
A man’s ambition must be small,
To write his name on a shithouse wall.
Someone else added:
A drover’s life is a pleasure that townsfolk never know,
It rains for a bloody fortnight,
Then takes time off to snow.
A bloke walks into an outback hotel and the publican says, “The police were here looking for you. They said they’d done 50 miles looking for you.” The fellow looks at the publican and whispers, “Is that right. I’ve done 52 miles keeping ahead of them!”
IN THIS SECTION:
- Working Drover
- Water Tank Literature
- Last droving trip
- Life as a Drover
- Further Correspondence
POETRY FROM RON KERR