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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:52 pm

'Click Go The Shears':

‘Smart girl by the sound of things, either you’re bloody stupid or courageous. I think the latter would suffice. Great to meet you. This girl Hannah, she sounds a wonderful girl. Make certain you catch up with her.’ Billy finished.
‘I intend to.’ They shook hands. Billy was the only person to know the truth about changing identities, ‘your secret is safe with me,’ were his parting words.

Chapter 6

Joe rolled his swag. A wagon drawn by a horse with a cage holding a man in shackles off in the distance. He recognised Constable Fitzgerald in the driver’s seat. In the cage, his friend Joe Gibson, who’d taken his place only a couple of days before, his head bowed. I should be there instead of Joe. Too late now. He continued rolling his swag.
When the wagon past from sight Joe walked along the track leading to Nardoo Station where he hoped to join a shearing shed. Late in the afternoon he arrived at the front gate and sighted sheep in the yards behind the shearing shed.
‘G’day mate. How're you going?’ He shouted to the first person he sighted. A tall stranger slowly strolled toward him, ‘Joe Gibson, pleased to meet ya.’ Joe jutted his hand out to the stranger in warm bush welcome.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sun Apr 12, 2015 10:18 pm

'Click Go The Shears':

‘John Cartwright. Pleased to meet you.’ They shook hands. ‘Where’re you heading?’
‘I’m working my way north. I’m a shearer looking for work.’ Joe told the stranger.
‘You’re not one of those bloody shearers who went on strike. Are you?’
‘No. I’ve got papers to show I’m not in the union,’ Joe took the papers from his pocket and handed them to the stranger. ‘What do you do here?’
‘Own the place, I don’t want any of those union shearers on the place,’ his eyes scanned the papers, refolded them and returned them to Joe. ‘Drop your swag over in the shearing quarters, go to the cook and tell him to give you a feed and start 7.30 sharp in the morning. Welcome Joe Gibson, pleased to have you on board.’ The stranger walked away.
Instantly Joe felt strange going under a different name because he was used to his own name, thank goodness that part is over, I’ve got to remember I’m now Joe Gibson and not Joe Ryan. He continued onto the shearer’s quarters, dropped his swag on the veranda and walked to the kitchen area. A huge man wearing a white stained apron stood in front of the stove. ‘I’m Joe Gibson, the boss told me to come to the kitchen to get a feed. Where are the others?’
‘Take a seat, there’s only a couple of us since those bludgers went on strike’. He spoke with a soft voice directed Joe to a seat at the end of the table. ‘Here is some stew, cooked this afternoon, get your laughing gear around this lot.’ The cook placed a plate of food in front of Joe, ‘make your own tea,’ he pointed to the kettle on the stove. ‘You a shearer?’ He asked.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Mon Apr 13, 2015 10:13 pm

'Click Go The Shears':

‘Yeah, just arrived, how long have they been shearing here?’ Joe asked between pushing food into his mouth.
‘Only started today, low on shearers, you’re not one of those bloody union shearers, are you?’
‘No mate. Got my papers right here if you want them.’ Joe put his hand into his pocket to retrieve the papers.
‘Don’t worry, as long as you’re not one of those bloody union shearers. Since they went on strike we’ve had nothing but trouble, no work and when there is work, not enough men to do it. Everyone was out on strike.’ He kept on cleaning, wiped the table.
‘I’m here to work. Boss said to start in the morning.’
‘Breakfast at six.’
Joe finished his pannikin of tea, stood and said. ‘Didn’t catch your name?’
‘That’s because I didn’t give it.’
Joe left the kitchen and walked to spread his swag on the veranda, sighted a young lad walking toward the quarters, ‘how ya going? I’m Joe Gibson, a shearer.’ Joe extended his hand to shake the young lad’s hand as a sign of greeting.
‘Pleased to meet ya. Harold Reardon’
‘You related to Jack Reardon?’
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:07 pm

'Click Go The Shears':

‘He’s my uncle. We don’t talk about Jack. He's one of those shearers who went on strike. You go on strike?’
‘No – ah no, I knew Jack when I worked at ‘Tilbooroo Station’, great shearer and a good bloke.’ Bloody hell I didn’t know the strike affected everyone. Honestly I thought I was doing the right thing. Joe thought. ‘How many here?’
‘Only you, me and the Boss, the cook. You meet him?’
‘Yeah. No other shearers?’
‘You’re it. I’m the ‘tar boy’, roustabout and the Boss is the wool presser. That’s it. The Boss don't want any of those union shearers on the place.’
‘How many sheep in the yard,’ Joe asked.
‘Two thousand,’ Harold answered.
‘Bloody hell, I only shear about sixty a day. We’ll be here til Christmas if we don’t get any more shearers.’ Joe exclaimed. Twelve months since I shore a sheep, he thought.
‘Can’t do anything about not having shearers If they didn’t go on strike and bugger up the country, we would’ve been right. Serves them right. You camping on the veranda?’
‘Yeah, I can’t stand those stuffy rooms; love to sleep in the open.’
‘Wonder what the cook's got left. I'll turn in myself. Bloody big day tomorrow.’ he walked along the veranda toward the kitchen.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Wed Apr 15, 2015 6:33 pm

'Click Go The Shears':

Joe lay on his swag pondering the affect the strike had on the country. Never in his wildest dreams he thought the strike would’ve caused this much trouble. The sun sank below the earth surface; I sure miss Hannah and Ma. If only I didn’t stir up those fellars to go on strike, Hannah and I could’ve been married by now and settled down. She must be close to finishing her teaching studies and with me shearing we would’ve made it. Joe closed his eyes, his mind filled with failure.
Sound of a clanging noise woke Joe the next morning. ‘Come and get it.’ He heard the call from the cook. After dressing, shaved, washed his face and walked to the kitchen where Harold was seated, the cook served up his breakfast. ‘How did ya sleep? I slept like a log.’ Joe said entering the kitchen.
‘Yeah I know, and snored, the bloody dingoes heard you,’ Harold laughed.
‘Smells good,’ Joe sat in the place he sat the night before. The cook served bacon and eggs with Johnny cakes. Joe ate to his heart’s content, ‘tell me what happens today Harold?’
‘Seven-thirty start, the Boss normally set to shearing, but you’re here now, I’d say he’ll leave the shearing to you. My job to sweep the floor, gather the wool, carry it to the Boss and he packs it into the wool press. Pretty simple really.’ Harold kept eating.
‘Three men team.’
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:46 pm

'Click Go The Shears':

‘You could say that, with you working the hardest.’ He smiled in between eating.
Both men finished their breakfast, thanked the cook and left the kitchen. ‘Morning smoko at 9.30,’ the cook shouted when they left.
John Cartwright waited for Joe and Harold to meet him inside the shearing shed. The shearing was similar to Kahmoo Station with seven stand shed, Joe thought before John said, ‘you ready.’
‘Ready when you are Boss.’ He said with a slight grin on his face. Opening his bag he extracted five pairs of shears from inside and laid them on the floor near the first pen. He hooked his canvas water bag on a wire dangling from the ceiling. Walked into the catching pen, grabbed the first sheep, turned it onto its back and dragged it onto the board.
Hope I remember to do this, bloody hell, two thousand sheep, got myself to blame. This won’t get it done. Joe removed the belly wool from the sheep, continued on to finish the fleece while Harold quickly gathered up the fleece in his arms to carry to the Boss who operated the wool press. Everything appeared to go in slow motion until Joe regained his self-confidence with each sheep. Nine-thirty bell rang for morning smoko.
‘What’s your usual tally for a day Joe,’ John asked before they left for smoko.
‘About sixty, particularly these wethers. Why, am I going too slow?’
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:58 pm

'Click Go The Shears':

‘No, you’re doing fine, much quicker than I am, just wanted to work out how long until we finish the shearing.’
‘If I can keep up this pace, should be finished in about five to six weeks if we go seven days a week.’ Joe answered thinking how was he going to keep up the pace.
‘With three of us, pity those bloody shearers went on strike. You were lucky not to join them. Catch up with you both in half-an-hour.’ John walked away heading toward the homestead.
Joe and Harold walked to the shearer’s quarters and took up their usual seat in the kitchen. The cook served up hot scones with strawberry jam. After morning smoko Joe said, ‘I'm going for a walk before I start again.’ He told Harold.
He didn’t want to venture too far from the shearing shed and walked to the head of a bore. Water spewed from an opening of a huge pipe from underneath the ground into a pond, the water hot, enough to scold a pig. Water in the pond cooled before it flowed along bore drains to different parts of the property to water the stock.
I'll soak in the pool after I finish today. My bloody muscles will be sore and tied. Joe returned to the shearing shed in time to start shearing sheep until lunch time.
After six weeks, with a couple of days break in between of continued shearing Joe dragged the final sheep from the pen. ‘We should’ve shorn this one first Harold, we wouldn’t have any left.’ He said with a smile.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:29 pm

'Click Go The Shears':

‘You’ve done well. Where’re you off to from here?’ Harold asked whilst sweeping up the belly wool.
‘I’m heading north. Want to reach Barcaldine if I can. Why?’ Joe asked whilst finishing the final fleece.
‘Would ya mind if I tagged along. I got nothing else to do after this job is over.’ Harold dropped his eyes to pick up the final fleece.
‘Suppose it’s alright, you work hard and we’re better off as a team than on our own. You do remind me a lot of your uncle.’
‘Don’t remind me, I'll never forgive him for going out on strike.’ Harold completed his chore and carried the fleece to his Boss at the other end of the shearing shed.
I ought to be careful I don’t let the cat out of the bag with this young fella, Joe thought whilst he gathered his shears and wrapped them in canvas. Better collect my pay. Joe worked out his wages for shearing 2000 head of sheep; he should receive forty quid: twopence per sheep.
‘Here’s your pay.’ John handed Joe a cheque for the amount of forty pounds, ‘thanks for helping us out. Here’s your pay Harold,’ he handed the young lad a cheque for ten pounds.
Joe shook hands with his Boss, ‘may be back next year. Young Harold’s coming with me. We’re heading north.’
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sun Apr 19, 2015 9:42 pm

'Click Go The Shears':

‘Best of luck to you both.’ he left them standing in the shearing shed.
Joe and Harold gathered their swags early the next morning after a hearty breakfast, farewelled the cook and both headed north. Along the way they meet other shearers and roustabouts looking for work and followed the sheds. Finally after a couple of months shearing at different sheds along the track they arrived at Charleville.
‘Harold, we’ll camp by the Warrego River and see if we can find any work on our way to Augathella. We should be able to find work there,’ Harold agreed with a nod of his head. Charleville was larger than Cunnamulla with wider streets to enable bullock wagons to turn around.
At the top end of town the railway station where most of the bullock wagons could be found. There they unloaded bales of wool onto rail wagons to be trained down the track to Roma and beyond.
Joe noticed a bullocky unloading his load near the railway line, ‘g’day mate, where you from?’ Joe asked this huge bullocky wearing a beard grown almost to cover his enlarged stomach.
‘Heading to ‘Barduthulla Station’ soon as I reload at the general store,’ the bullocky answered in a slow drawl.
‘You mind if my mate and I tag along? We’re heading to Augathella.’
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:22 pm

'Click Go The Shears':

‘Don’t mind at all, great to have company, gets a little lonely talking to old Bobby. You’re welcome to join me. Not going as far as Augathella.’
‘Where’s the general store? We’re camped on the Warrego River on the outskirts of town.’
‘I’m going that way, got to cross the river to head home. What about I meet you and your friend at the crossing, you know the one at the north end of town.’
‘Yes, I do, thank you very much. See you there after lunch.’
Joe found Harold wandering along the main street, ‘Harold,’ he called, waving, ‘we’re got a lift out of town, a bullocky is going to give us a lift to ‘Barduthulla Station’. He’s heading there after lunch.’
‘We’d better eat before we head off. Where’s this place, ‘Barduthulla Station’? Harold asked.
‘Don’t know exactly, must be on the road to Augathella,’ Joe explained.
After finishing their meal at the café they waited for the bullocky on the edge of town. ‘Here he comes,’ called Joe waving to the bullocky.
‘Get up there Bobby,’ the bullocky shouted each bullock moving in unison, ‘hey there, you want to jump up on top of the wagon, make yourself comfortable, and we’re a way to go until sunset.’ The bullocky shouted to Joe and Harold who threw their swags upon the wagon, jumped from the ground and swung their weight onto the wagon tray amongst the load. The bullocky kept on driving his beasts of burden and walked beside them with a long whip thrown over his shoulder.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:48 pm

'Click Go The Shears':

Nearing sunset the bullocky stopped, ‘we’ll camp here tonight, I’ll unharness the bullocks while you fellars build a fire to put the billy on and have something to eat.’
‘I’ll do it,’ Harold replied excited to be doing something, his bum sore from each bump on the road. He quickly gathered sticks and soon had a fire blazing. After filling the billy with water from a nearby creek he placed it beside the fire. Harold loved the bush, sounds of birds calling the close of the day, smell of the wattle, mulga while watching the billy boil.
‘Got some dried corn beef in the tucker box. By the way, the name's Salty,’ he shook hands with Joe and Harold.
‘Sure appreciate the lift’, Joe said after releasing the broad hard hand, ‘I’ll get the corn beef. Got any bread?’ Joe asked.
‘Yeah, damper's there, only a couple of days old, should do.’ Salty answered, ‘pleased you fellows joined me, awful lonely here at times.’
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:07 pm

'Click Go The Shears':

Chapter 7

Joe and Harold stopped at Blackall on their journey to Barcaldine. ‘We’ll stay here awhile.’ Joe told Harold. They'd become quite close accompanying one another on their journey. They worked together at different stations and started to become almost inseparable.
‘Are we going to the pub?’ Harold asked. He wanted a couple of beers to quench his thirst. Although he wasn’t twenty-one years old, it would be a couple of years before he reached the age of consent to enter hotels and drink at the legal age.
‘You shouldn’t be drinking. You're not old enough. What if the local copper comes in. They’ll lock you up.’
‘It’s only a couple of years before my birthday. Everything’s been alright up until now.’
‘As long as you don’t get caught. Duck out the back and disappear if the local copper comes in, until he’s gone.’ Joe smiled at Harold when they entered the public bar. ‘Two beers thanks barman,’ Joe called to the person on the other side of the bar. They sat on stools facing the bar.
‘When do I start shearing?’ Harold asked Joe after he swallowed a tumbler of beer and licked his lips; he wanted more of the amber coloured fluid. Made him feel relaxed.
‘When I say you’re ready.’ Joe replied in a tight voice. ‘How many sheep did you shear at the last shed?’ A stranger sat on a bar stool next to Harold close enough to hear their conversation. This stranger, a huge man, leaned closer to Joe and didn’t mean to listen to their conversation but when sheep and shearing mentioned, his ears pricked to listen to what they had to say.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:46 pm

'Click Go The Shears':

‘Ten big weathers before lunch,’ Harold smiled, proud of the number he achieved.
‘That’s not near enough to earn a decent wage, stick to being a roustabout.’
‘Ah, don’t be too hard on the lad. Ten big weathers sounds he’s learning,’ the stranger interjected.
‘Who might you be to know what’s best for my friend,’ Joe stared across at the stranger.
The stranger reached across to Joe to shake his hand, ‘Jackie Howe, is the name, shearing the game,’ the stranger smiled.
Joe’s flung his hand out taking the stranger’s hand, it was the size of a dinner plate and shook the hand until it almost fell off, ‘Jackie Howe, honestly, you’re a legend mate. I’m so proud to make your acquaintance, Joe Gibson and this is my cobber, Harold Reardon. Harold if you want to know anything about shearing, here is your man.’ Joe couldn’t believe meeting Jackie Howe whose name among his peers placed him as the best shearer in Australia.
‘Pleased to meet you Mr Howe,’ Harold shook hands with the legend, a quiver sounded in his voice.
‘Don’t worry about the legend bit. I think I’ve got to be dead before one becomes a legend.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:33 pm

'Click Go The Shears':

In fact, I’m in training at the moment to shear a record number tomorrow at Alice Downs Station, not far from here. You’re welcome to join me.’ Jackie told his new found friends.
‘You betcha we’ll come. How far is Alice Downs Station from here?’ Joe asked.
‘I’m leaving late this afternoon. You want to join me with the other lads. We’ve got a wagon.’
‘Right you are. We’ll be there.’ Joe finished his beer. ‘Where will we meet you and what time?’
‘How about four o’clock, at the front of this pub. I’ll tell the others there'll be two more. The more the merrier.’
Joe and Harold bid their new found friend farewell and couldn’t wait until they meet him at the time and place he told them. Joe couldn’t believe his luck, fancy running into the legendary Jackie Howe. Dreamed of this day but never ever thought it would happen.
Before they left the hotel the barman approached and said, ‘you having another?’
‘Not at this time, we’re going with Jackie Howe out to Alice Downs for shearing. He’s going for a record tomorrow.’ Joe explained, excitedly.
‘You fellars are lucky; Jackie is going for a record in an Australian-wide competition to witness how many sheep can be shorn in one day. Last week he shore fourteen hundred and thirty-seven sheep in 44 hours and 30 minutes. He’s a champion alright.’ The barman shared this information while he collected the tumblers from the bar.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:21 pm

'Click Go The Shears':

Joe and Harold smiled and left the bar to find a café. They were excited to be witnessing this great event hardly tasted their steak and eggs they ate at the café. Joe looked at his fob-watch. ‘Better get going. I don’t want to miss this shearing for all the tea in China.’
Right on four o’clock Joe met Jackie and his friends outside of the hotel, ‘climb aboard, introduce yourselves. I’ve forgotten your names.’ Jackie drawled in a trick Aussie accent.
Joe introduced Harold and himself to the other two occupants. They weren’t shearers. After a couple of miles each shared their information. One said he represented Coleman & Sons, eucalyptus manufactures from Cootamundra and the other represented Wolseley Shearing Machines Company. They’d been sent by their companies to watch Jackie Howe and witness how many sheep he’d shear in one day for the Australia-wide competition. Joe and Harold shocked to be seated amongst such distinguished gentlemen.
Reaching Alice Downs Shearing Shed Joe’s eyes lit up astonished to see so many men present. There must have been about thirty or more. Joe and Harold climbed down from the wagon gathered their swags and asked one of the men, ‘what’s going on.’
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