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Expand view Topic review: Pat Ritter. Books

Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Post by patritter » Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:48 pm

'The Year That Never Was' - Page 3:

‘Anything to please the love of my life.’ Joe whispered kissing the crown of her head. Goes my plan for building our shearing shed and yards. Have to worry about building them next year.

Nat and Martha agreed to Joe’s idea to travel with them to Brisbane after shearing completed. Joe worked from daylight until dark through the shearing period. This time taking half the time to shear the sheep because of overhead shearing equipment with machine driven hand pieces instead of hand shearing. Hannah arranged tickets for travel on the train from Cunnamulla to Brisbane.
Beginning first week in June they boarded the steam train at Cunnamulla Railway Station. A board smile spread across her face. She leaned over kissed Joe on the lips, ‘I love you.’ Joe smiled, returned the kiss.
Pulling out of Cunnamulla Railway Station Hannah said to Joe, ‘I’ve never travelled by train this far west. When I was eighteen years old, went to Brisbane to school was the last time I travelled by train. Such a long time ago.’ She pondered. ‘Do you think we’ll stop at Coongoola Railway Siding to catch up with Daisy, Desi, Keith and Little Daisy?’ She asked.
‘I hope so. I think the train stops for water to keep the steam going.’ Joe answered.
Martha and Nat sat across from Joe and Hannah in their carriage. Most of the train filled with passengers excited to be journeying from the final stop west to the first stop in Brisbane. A loud whistle sounded indicating the train about to start their journey. A journey for the next couple of days stopping at Railway Stations with Refreshment Rooms for passengers to partake of refreshments on their journey east.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Post by patritter » Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:56 pm

'The Year That Never Was' - Page 2:

Before Ryan left, he divined for water on all of her father’s properties. Waiting now for Billy Campbell to bore at each location to find water to establish a bore from the artisan water basin. No mistake, Ryan Carlson saved the west from the harshest drought ever in this outback region. Once the Carlson family moved to the city; Hannah suffered abandonment. She needed to do something.
‘Have you any plans for 1899?’ Hannah asked her husband who sat silent beside her on their swing.
‘Plenty. First, I want to enjoy our time together before I return to work for your father. Shearing is a couple of months away. This drought has thrown a spanner into the works. We’ve hired more men to cut mulga to feed the sheep. Keith rounded up some of his relatives living in the camp where he and Daisy once lived, to cut mulga for the sheep.’ Joe expressed to Hannah.
‘Since the train starts here at Cunnamulla. Do you think, one day travel to Brisbane to visit Todd, Melinda and Ryan?’ She asked, tears filled her eyes, her throat thick with emotion.
Joe wrapped his arms around Hannah’s shaking shoulders. ‘Yes, my love. After shearing is over I’m certain your father would allow me time off to visit the Carlson family.’ A light bulb illuminated in Joe’s mind. ‘I’ve got an idea. What about you ask your parents if they want to come with us to visit your grandparents who are getting on in years.’ Joe expressed.
‘You are a genius Joe.’ Hannah kissed him on the lips. ‘I’ll make the arrangements with Mother to make a visit. Pa would love to visit his parents again before they became too old. This is why I love you so much. You’re always thinking of others, not yourself.’ Hannah lay her head against her husband’s shoulder.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Post by patritter » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:25 pm

'The Year That Never Was' - Page 1:

Chapter 1

‘Joe. The year that never was. I think 1898 being that year. Drought; our friends leaving, only you and I left.’ Hannah expressed to Joe seated on their swing on the front veranda at their new home on ‘Tilbaroo Station’.
‘Cheer up my dearest darling Hannah.’ Joe expressed in an endearing voice. ‘What about our other friends, Keith, Daisy, Desi, plus little Daisy? They’re still here. 1899 began with hope. Rain will come. One day, I hope.’ Joe looked toward the horizon to thin sweeping clouds. ‘Not much cloud. Plenty of heat. No bloody rain. More bores to drill. This year. A year to remember. Not that never was.’ Joe continued in an uplifted tone hopeful to cheer his wife. Joe’s greatest concern, Hannah. He didn’t want her to worry since their friends left for greener pastured.
Carlson family left six weeks before to take up their new positions in life. Hannah missed her friend Melinda, plus young Ryan. She needed to gain another interest in her life. A couple of days before, she received a letter from Melinda. Her family settled in Brisbane. Todd enjoyed his role as Commissioner of Water Resources for Queensland. Ryan enrolled at a prestigious school whilst Melinda tried to ‘fit in’ with city folk. Melinda couldn’t believe twelve months before she lived in a tent in the middle of nowhere. Now lived in the lap of luxury not wanting for anything.
Hannah’s thoughts returned when she first met young Ryan. One of her students at Cunnamulla State School where she taught. Her life changed from this moment. Ryan impressed Hannah with his ability to divine for water on her father’s properties. A simple task of finding an appropriate fork from a nearby mulga tree, striping the bark with his pocket knife, placing the fork between his index finger and thumb, walk, walk and walk until the fork bent indicating water below the surface.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Post by patritter » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:40 pm

Today is my latest book 'The Year That Never Was'. Book number 21. I want to thank you all for reading my daily post plus for your continued support. Much appreciated. Here is the introduction to this latest book:


Fourth in this 'Outback Australia' series from 1899 to 1902 in Australian history. Australians fought in the Boer War in South Africa. Federation of our nation. Two great events in our history during this period. Although this book is fictional many of the events are true in our history. Each character is created from my imagination.
One important addition to this book is a song written by my fellow member of Pomona Writers Group. At one meeting Evie Pikler asked to sing a song she'd written more than thirty years before. Evie sang 'Australia Calls Us Home'. Tears welled in my eyes after she finished her song. I asked her if she'd permit me to include her song into this book. Evie agreed. Click onto this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5T6OspSrvY to watch Evie's great song of 'Australia Calls Us Home'. I thank Evie from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to use her song in this book.

Story Thus Far:

The Shearer’:

‘The Shearer’ is the first book in 'Outback Australia' series. Set in 1891. Scene of ‘The Great Shearers Strike’. Major character Joe Ryan who fought for better working conditions and wages for his fellow shearers.
1890 Joe Ryan met his friend Joe Gibson, a fellow shearer to help fight for better working conditions and wages.
During the strike, graziers wouldn’t permit ‘striking shearers’ to shear their sheep. Contracted shearers were those who held a ‘non-union ticket to shear’ only hired by graziers. Joe Gibson held this ticket.
At the height of ‘Great Shearers Strike of 1891’ Joe Ryan gathered his shearers to strike on the outskirts of Cunnamulla. Four months they survived until police intervened to stop the strike. Joe Gibson met his friend Joe Ryan on the final day at the strike camp before police arrived. They exchanged clothing and personal items. Joe Gibson took Joe Ryan’s place to change identities.

‘Click Go The Shears’:

‘Click Go The Shears’ is the second book in 'Outback Australia' series. Follow-on from ‘The Shearer’. Joe Ryan who has the identity of Joe Gibson escapes capture whilst Joe Gibson takes the place of Joe Ryan to be tried for leading the strikers. Thirteen strikers appeared in court. Each sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for their part. Joe Ryan (Gibson) served his imprisonment at St Helen Island Prison in Moreton Bay.
At the end of his prison term both Joes met at Barcaldine (original town where strike occurred) to return to their own identities. Joe Gibson returned to Cunnamulla met Hannah who still resided with Ma at her boarding house. Joe and Hannah fell in love. In the final end to this story, they marry. Hannah’s father gifts his property ‘Tilbaroo Station’ to them as their wedding gift. The story continues:

‘Tilbaroo Station’

‘Tilbaroo Station’ is the third book in 'Outback Australia' series. Joe discovers an artisan bore on ‘Tilbaroo Station’. Nat wants all of his nine remaining properties to have bores. The only person who divined for water is deceased. By accident Hannah discovers a student in her class, ten-year-old Ryan Carlson who discovers water on Nat’s property.
Underground artisan water is discovered in 1897. Ryan’s father, Todd Carlson, Chief Engineer for Queensland Railway Department employed to build the rail link from Charleville to Cunnamulla has been selected by The Honourable Joseph Ryan, Esquire, MLA to oversee the bores established in the region. A committee is formed with Joe Gibson, Nat Young being members of the committee. Todd Carlson, Chairman.
By the end of 1898 a newly constructed Cunnamulla Railway Station has been built. Underground water discovered on many of Nat Young’s properties. Todd Carlson, Chairman of ‘Great Artisan Water Basin Committee’ has been appointed Commissioner of Water Resources for Queensland. The story continues:

‘The Year That Never Was’

‘The Year That Never Was’ is the fourth book in 'Outback Australia' series. This is an exciting period for Australia because after Captain Cook discovered Australia in 1770, settled by Europeans, Australia finally became a Nation with the election of their first Prime Minister. Also, young Australians represented their Colony on behalf of British Empire left their homeland to fight Boers in the 'Boer War' in South Africa. Read on to discover this important occasion involving Joe, Hannah and her family.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Post by patritter » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:21 pm

'The Drover' - Page 127:
Months turned into years and eventually the words from the Premier echoed in Harry’s ears – Hopefully, I’ll get you away from all this.
After five years of wondering, Harry knew it was the end of the road for droving. What would he do? It’s all he knew.
The children grew up fast; Claire finished school and wanted to go droving with her father.
‘It’s finished girl, you’ll need to find something else to keep you busy. Droving is finished.’ He told his daughter with a tear in his eye.
Eventually Harry got a job as town slaughterman employed by the local butcher. This meant he commenced work at six o’clock each day and finished when he’d slaughtered sufficient stock. At times he killed up to forty sheep; six pigs; and three bullocks per week.
Whilst the job paid the bills Harry wasn’t completely happy with how life had turned out. He’d rather be on the open plain droving sheep or cattle along the stock routes from daylight until dark. Rather than droving them he was now slaughtering them for the town folk of Cunnamulla.
At least Harry could afford to feed and clothe his children, all twelve of them, and he knew in his heart his sister looked down from above to see her children had grown up to be proper adults.
Unfortunately he didn’t see much of Les over the years, at times when Les visited Cunnamulla to see his children; he didn’t stay long enough to become acquainted. The children knew Harry and Rose more as their parents than they did their own father.
Harry was now fifty-six years old, he suffered what he thought was a common chest cold. Although he was tough and thought he could get through anything life dealt out to him, the doctor told him he had cancer; the probable cause being constant smoking of cigarettes since an early age.
Harry underwent a number of operations to find a cure, unfortunately the cancer spread rapidly; he lost the one fight he wanted to win and passed away in the Cunnamulla Hospital with his family by his bedside.
At his funeral service there wasn’t a dry eye in the church, the same church he and Rose married almost thirty years before.
Most of the town folk joined the family at the service and later Harry was laid to rest at the Cunnamulla Cemetery beside his son and sister. His hat and spurs placed in the coffin beside his body just in case he needed them in heaven.
The following words inscribed on the headstone –
Here lies Harold (Harry) Clarence Williams
The Last Of The Ole Drovers
May He Rest In Peace

The Drover
Droving in outback Queensland was a roaring trade in the late 1940's and 50's. Australia lived off the sheep's back with wool being one pound sterling for one pound of wool. Everyone had money.Sheep and cattle needed to be taken from place to…
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Post by patritter » Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:17 pm

'The Drover' - Page 126:

‘Milk and one sugar thank you. Hope it’s not too much trouble.’ The Premier finished.
‘What about your driver. Does he want a cuppa too?’ Rose asked.
‘Bill, do you want a cuppa with these lovely folk?’
‘Yes please,’ he replied alighting from the vehicle.
‘And how do you have your tea?’ Rose directed the question to the driver.
‘Black and strong – thank you.’
After everyone sat around the camp drinking their tea the Premier said, ‘what are you doing here?’
‘Droving these sheep to Cunnamulla.’ Harry replied thinking why he asked a stupid question, obviously he saw the sheep in the brake.
‘Do you love droving?’ The Premier asked.
‘It’s my whole life.’ Harry replied.
‘You know road transport is taking over droving.’ The Premier implied.
Harry knew road transport was moving more stock and probably would be in the future but he had no control over that only he had sufficient work to keep him going.
‘Yeah, there’s not too many left like us anymore.’ He told The Premier.
‘Hopefully, I’ll get you away from all this.’ He said.
Harry felt a pain drive from the bottom of his stomach directly to his mind – shock - on hearing these words from the Premier of the State. He didn’t know what to say, if he had a crystal ball he might have known what the Premier was talking about.
They said their farewells and the Premier thanked them for their hospitality and left.
‘What do you think he meant by that?’ Rose asked Harry when the car left the camp.
‘I haven’t a clue. I suppose him being the Premier he would know what’s going on better than we do. I’d like to know what he’ll do for us if he got me away from all this.’ Harry said in puzzlement.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Post by patritter » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:10 pm

'The Drover' - Page 125:

Chapter 16

It was good to be home again in their little bungalow in Cunnamulla. Work needed to be done to extend the home to make it liveable for the family of twelve children. The twins were now walking and talking, Annie continued to grow each day and eventually she learned to improve walking by standing straighter and even at times competed with the other children in running and playing.
Harry continued droving but the trips become less and less.
On one of his final trips he had a mob of sheep taking them from Coongoola to Cunnamulla. One night they were camped about ten miles north of Cunnamulla.
He was enjoying a smoke sitting around the camp fire when a flash looking car pulled up to the camp. To his surprise it was the Premier of Queensland - Joh Bjelke-Petersen who stepped from the vehicle. Harry had seen his photograph in newspapers and saw him at the pictures when they had the newsreel.
‘How are you today?’ The Premier said.
Harry sat on a log near the fire and this person came up to him offered his hand to shake, ‘I’m the Premier of Queensland, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, I’m out this way to have a look at the country. May I join you?’
Harry stood and shook his hand, ‘Yeah, okay – do you want a cup of tea or somethin.’ He asked. Harry was nervous and never before spoke to or had in his presence a person such as the Premier of Queensland.
‘Yes, a cup of tea would be lovely.’ The Premier replied.
‘Rose, this is the Premier of Queensland – I didn’t quite get his name, but would you get him a cup of tea.’ He said to Rose.
‘Please to meet ya Premier,’ Rose replied. ‘How do you have it?’
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Post by patritter » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:18 pm

'The Drover' - Page 124:

Claire left and after catching and saddling Trickle – a quiet bally brown mare, she led her back to camp and handed the reins to the officer. After finishing his tea the officer handed the cup to Rose and said, ‘thank you for your kind gesture. It’s the best cup of tea I’ve had for awhile. I love tea when it’s brewed in a billy. The taste is just like the bush.’
Without hesitation he swung into the saddle. ‘Are you joining me Harry?’ He asked.
‘Yeah, I’ll show you around.’ Harry joined the officer and rode beside him whilst the inspection was carried out. Harry was pleased he never picked up any stray cattle along the track for from his observation he saw the officer knew his job and would’ve spotted a stray beast a mile away in the mob.
After inspecting the mob they returned to the camp.
‘They’re fine. I’ll sign and date your waybill and I’ll be on my way. You have a good trip and it was nice to meet you both.’ The officer signed the waybill adding the date he inspected the mob, bid farewell and drove away from the camp.
The remainder of the trip to Clifton Hills was uneventful as compared to the whole trip from Bulloo Downs. After Harry handed the cattle over to the manager, he asked if he could leave some of his horses on the property. Unless Greg decided to drove them back to Cunnamulla which would take another twelve months or more – it was easier to give the plant to the station. The manager agreed.
Harry bid the manager farewell on receiving payment for the drove. His wage was the largest he had ever received for a job and now he needed to be careful because he didn’t know when the next trip would be.
With Falcon and Dusty safely tied in the rear compartment of the back of the truck, the dogs safely locked in their boxes, the children including Greg all gathered at the top of the back of the truck, Harry left Clifton Hills for their return to Cunnamulla.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Post by patritter » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:19 pm

'The Drover' - Page 123:

‘I’m Harry Williams and this is my wife Rose.’ Harry replied to the officer.
‘Pleased to meet you missus.’ He tilted his hat toward Rose.
‘What can I do for you officer?’ Harry asked. He wasn’t intimidated by the police officer but didn’t have much to do with the law only the time he went for his driver’s license and a couple of other times. He was a law abiding citizen.
‘Can I have a look at your stock, where’d you come from and where you going?’ The officer inquired. Whenever a police officer asked a question it always had a sense of authority in the question. Was it the way the police officer asked the question or was it something to fear, Harry wondered.
‘We’ve been on the road for almost ten months. I’ve got five hundred bullocks from Bulloo Downs in south west Queensland and taking them to Clifton Hills in South Australia.’ Harry answered with honesty and integrity.
‘Could I have a look at your stock permit and way bill?’ The police officer asked.
‘Yeah – I’ll get it for you.’ Harry left the camp to go to the front glove compartment of the truck to retrieve the documentation.
‘Would you like a cup of tea officer?’ Rose asked.
‘Oh, yes please – I’d love one, thank you.’ The officer replied. At times it was a difficult job but according to the law he needed to sight the stock permit and waybill and make an inspection of the travelling stock.
Harry returned with the stock permit and waybill and handed it to the officer. He looked over the permit and checked the number of stock on the waybill.
‘Have you a spare horse I could ride. I’d like to have a look at the stock to check the brands and earmarks.’
‘Yeah, I’ll get one of the kids to get you a quiet one.’ Harry replied. ‘Claire would you saddle up Trickle for the officer.’
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Post by patritter » Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:01 pm

'The Drover' - Page 122:

Harry noticed the leaders’ final accent to the other side; the others followed. Greg and Claire were now safely across to the other side pushing the cattle up over the bank of the river to the open plain ahead. All had gone well, better than expected. He sat atop of Falcon with a sigh of relief. A good job – well done, ran thought his thoughts. Confidently he swam Falcon across the flooded river and couldn’t wipe the smile from his face when they landed on the other side. All had gone to plan.
For the remainder of the day the cattle feed on the lush grasses near to the river, drank their fill and camped on the open plain. After lunch Harry moved the stock another ten miles and set up camp for the night.
Whilst Greg and Hector rode around the cattle at dusk, Harry enjoyed a wonderful meal cooked by Rose. What would’ve he done without his soul mate? He didn’t know.
‘I’ll relieve Greg and Hector if you want Dad?’ Claire asked her father after he’d finished his meal and rolled a smoke.
‘Alright, I’ll join you shortly. Tell them to come in for their supper.’ Harry felt bodily tied but he didn’t feel mind tied. He needed to keep alert. How could he rest when he had three youngsters working harder than the whole six men who’d left? His pride wouldn’t let him be tied and he needed to keep going at whatever cost.
Shortly after daybreak he saw a plume of dust on the horizon and after focusing his eyes saw a motor vehicle heading toward him. It was a police vehicle. What the hell do they want? He thought. The vehicle pulled up at the camp and a police officer in uniform stepped from the vehicle.
‘G’day, I’m Eric Sammon, from Birdsville.’ He walked over to Harry and they shook hands.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Post by patritter » Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:52 pm

'The Drover' - Page 121:

Rose made it across and now it was his turn to get the cattle to the other side.
When crossing cattle through water, particularly flooded rivers, cattle fear water and moreso swimming. It’s better to give them their lead and hopefully the leaders will guide the others across the river.
Claire rode Dusty; Greg rode his horse and Harry rode Falcon.
‘After we let the leaders into the water, Greg you go on the left wing and Claire you take the right, I’ll stay at the rear. Take it steady and if any of the cattle get freight – look after yourself. We can replace the beast but it’s hard to replace either of you.’ Harry commanded in a sincere voice.
‘We’ll be right uncle – see you on the other side.’ Greg shouted before he rode to his position.
‘You take it steady Claire – let Dusty guide you. See you over the other side.’ He kindly said to his daughter. If anything ever happened to Claire he would never forgive himself. It was now up to her and Dusty.
‘I’ll be okay Dad, see you over there.’ Claire voiced before riding to her position. She was excited to help her father with crossing the cattle. It was a huge responsibility for a nine year old, especially a girl.
Riding at the rear of the mob Harry saw everything as it unfolded or about to happen. The leaders lead the mob to the edge of the water, Greg on the left wing, pushed the slower ones into the water whilst Claire did the same on her wing.
Everything was going fine. The leaders began to swim and others followed. Overnight the water slowed and Harry was thankful he’d put off crossing the cattle until the next day instead of late the afternoon before.
It was a shame Harry didn’t have a photograph to record the crossing. It would have made a delightful picture to show his grandchildren later in life when he and his nephew with his own daughter, one aged twelve and the other nine, crossed five hundred bullocks with ten horses across the flooded Diamantina River. He felt proud of these two youngsters who played their roles as if they were born to be drovers.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Post by patritter » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:34 pm

'The Drover' - Page 120:

Up stream was a ford where Rose could manoeuvre the truck across. Harry watched from the bank to see when she reached the other side.
With the children in the back of the truck, Rose slowly entered the water. The force caused the truck to slide sideways – Harry felt a lump form in his throat. Rose straightened the truck and drove directly into the flooded stream. The wheels covered with water, she edged the truck toward the centre of the river.
With the wheels slowly turning she felt the truck dip; and hoped the water wasn’t deep enough to flood the motor. To keep the motor running, she kept the truck moving. Lucky for Rose the river had a hard base of gravel and not sand. The flood washed away the sandy bottom to leave solid gravel.
Harry saw his dogs fully covered in water. He almost shouted for her to stop and let the dogs out of their boxes. They were below the back tray of the truck and locked in their boxes, a steel cage only large enough to house one dog and a trap door at the end of the cage to release it. Each dog had its nostril forced against the top of each box to breathe.
Rose continued driving through the water without fear to get to the other side. About half way across Harry saw the truck lunge forward and hoped it kept going. Rose was driving slower and this was the way he’d shown her how to cross a flooded river.
It wasn’t far to the other side and to safety. The dogs were completely covered in water and if Rose couldn’t move from the middle of the river in time – the dogs would drown.
Rose pressed her foot on the accelerator, the motor roared into action and the truck crossed to the other side of the river to safety. The children in the back of the truck roared with laughter when they arrived on the other side and waved to Harry, calling out they’d made it.
Harry looked to see if his dogs had drowned and saw them wagging their tails and shaking water from their coats.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Post by patritter » Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:13 pm

'The Drover' - Page 119:

‘Yeah these storms out here come and go. Hopefully the river won’t flood because once we cross it – it’ll be an easy trip to Clifton Hills.’
‘I’ve cooked your breakfast, have it and go and have a sleep for awhile, I’m sure the kids can keep the cattle going.’
Harry washed his face and hands, ate his breakfast greedily, and retired to the back of the truck and soon slept.
When he awoke he felt much better and noticed the truck had been moved. Little did he realise he’d slept most of the day. Rose made camp high on a bank looking down on the river.
Since the rain, the river swelled and broken its banks; the crossing was now almost one hundred yards of sheet water to cross to the other side. Harry dressed and joined his wife in the camp.
‘The river’s come up after the rain Harry.’ She informed her husband.
‘Yeah, I see it.’ Taking his mug of black tea and slowly sipped the hot liquid. He felt refreshed.
‘We’ll stay this side of the river tonight and cross early tomorrow morning. It might drop if we don’t have any more rain. You take the truck and the dogs in their boxes across at the ford, it shouldn’t be too deep, but be careful and I’ll take the cattle further upstream.’ Rose agreed.
Harry returned to the night watch with the cattle and thought about how he was going to cross the flooded river. He’d find a narrow stretch which wasn’t deep and cross them at that point.
Crossing cattle in deep water was a hazard and difficult to do. He didn’t want to lose any at this stage because apart from the few problems he’d encountered on the trip, after all, it wasn’t a bad trip; apart from his men deserting him at a bad time, he felt pleased to have the children to help.
Early the following morning after he’d eaten his breakfast, the sun shining and the weather fine, he decided to take the cattle across the flooded Diamantina River.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Post by patritter » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:14 pm

'The Drover' - Page 118:

Chapter 15

With Les and the five ringers gone Harry called on Greg and Claire to help him, even little Hector’s help was encouraging. This meant Harry worked longer hours and went without sleep. They weren’t far from the South Australian and Queensland Border. Birdsville was only fifty miles west.
Harry decided not to go near Birdsville but take the cattle across the Diamantina River and follow the border fence until they reached the South Australian border crossing gate. They would cross the cattle at the gate and head south to Clifton Hills. The toughest section of the trip was almost over.
That night the cattle were camped on the plain, earlier they’d drank in the Diamantina River and had their fill. Harry circled the mob softly singing to help them settle. He saw storm clouds on the horizon earlier and sensed something was about to happen. He’d seen these signs before and couldn’t put his finger on it. Instincts took over.
His nostrils filled with moisture of rain; it was sweet and refreshing. Without notice lighting flashed above his head and thunder screamed. The cattle stood and rushed off camp. Falcon and Harry galloped as one, Harry drawing his stock whip from his saddle riding hard to get to the front of the mob. Rain blasted his face; lightning flashed throwing electric ribbons through the night sky.
Falcon guided by his master drew level with the front leaders stampeding to escape the rain and thunder. Harry heard the sound of another horse, perhaps Les returned to help, was his wish. He strained to look at the rider and saw it was Claire riding Dusty. After another crack with his whip for some reason the cattle stopped. He looked across at his nine year old daughter; with love in his eyes, a lump in his throat he thought how lucky he was to have an offsider as good as her.
Lucky Harry stopped the cattle before they stampeded and were lost in the bush. Greg joined them with little Hector not far behind. Hector was drenched through to his skin. He was a tough little character who was born to be a drover.
‘How are they uncle?’ Greg asked as he and Hector stopped their horses near to Harry and Claire.
‘I was lucky Claire came to help. I thought they’d be gone for sure.’ Harry muttered.
‘You and Claire go back to camp for a break; we’ll keep an eye on them.’ Greg finished.
Harry and Claire returned to camp. Daylight broke across the horizon as they rode into camp. Rose had a fire going and as they unsaddled their horses Rose said, ‘that was a good one Harry; I thought we’d get washed away.’
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Post by patritter » Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:28 pm

'The Drover' - Page 117:

He’d seen these lights before, many years before, he thought aliens were coming after him and he hadn’t had a drink.
Five aboriginals rode toward him, ‘we aren’t going on boss – spirits are chasing us. We’re off.’
With the words hardly out of their mouth the five aboriginal stockmen galloped away from the mob and before Harry could call them back, they vanished. Les and Greg joined Harry, ‘where’re they going?’ Les wanted to know.
‘They’re gone and taken my bloody horses and saddles with them.’ Harry questioned.
‘What’d they do that for uncle?’ Greg asked in an inquisitive voice.
‘They saw those lights flicking out there on the horizon and thought they were spirits chasing them.’ Harry replied.
‘Don’t they know it’s only the min min light? Les answered.
‘What’s a min min light?’ Greg asked.
‘When I was your age I was droving with my father and holding cattle out one night. My horse spooked when I think we each saw this light flicking above the bush.’ Harry told his story.
‘I’ve never seen one before.’ Greg intervened.
‘When it happened I asked my father about it and he told me to gallop over and chase it, which I did. I rode at a gallop for a couple of miles and couldn’t get near it. I gave up and returned to camp. When I was near the camp the light flickered again, it was just above the bushes. I’d had enough; I told my father I couldn’t catch it because it kept moving.’
The light continued to flicker above the bushes on the horizon.
‘They’re gone and won’t be back, you know Harry.’ Les told his brother-in-law.
‘We’ll keep going. I can’t worry about them. We’ve still got a long way to go. I’ll stay on watch, you two go and have a sleep and relieve me before daylight.’ Harry finished and rode Falcon around the cattle singing his favourite tune saddle boy.
All through the following day Harry moved the cattle with Les and Greg. Claire helped. They crossed the Beale Range and made camp on the other side close to the South Australian/Queensland border fence. Les rode up to Harry and said, ‘I know where those fellars have gone.’
‘Where?’ Harry wanted to know.
‘They wouldn’t have got further than the Betoota pub. What about I ride over there and have a look.’ Les asked Harry.
‘You only want to have a bloody drink – you old codger.’
‘It wouldn’t be fair to ride all that way and not wet the whistle.’
‘How’d know they’ll be there?’
‘That’s where I’d go if I left the camp.’
‘If you catch up with them, tell em they’re sacked and bring my horses back.’
Les let out a Cooee, flicked his hat in the air and galloped toward the camp.
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