- Written by Administrator
Published: 08 June 2013
REMINISCENCES OF A PIONEER
The Western District in the 1840's
By Charles Gray
(Born Anstruther, Fife, Scotland in 1818, former owner of Nareeb Nareeb, Western District, Victoria, Australia; Mr. Charles Gray landed at Port Phillip in 1839. A copy of a typed transcript was given by the owner of Nareeb Nareeb, Mr. Sandy Beggs (deceased) , to Mr. Gerhard (Bert) Behncke "to use as he saw fit", both having a keen interest in the history of the Western District, and the local area in particular. Bert in his turn donated the document to Mt. Rouse and District Historical Society on 8th February, 1999, "to use as seen fit by the Society ". It is now being uploaded to this Internet website with Bert's permission, in order to promote interest in our district and its history. We aim to upload and replace one of each of the 14 'chapters' at irregular, mostly weekly intervals, each chapter being defined by the arbitrary headings as applied by Eric Pihl.)
"Mr. Charles Gray, the author of these reminiscences, was born in Anstruther, Fife, Scotland, in 1818. He comes of naval and military stock, but being of adventurous spirit he decided to try his fortune in Australia rather than take a commission in the Royal Marines, in which regiment his father advanced to the rank of major. An uncle in the Royal Marines was captain in the contingent which went to the relief of Lucknow, and whose name is on the obelisk on Southern Parade (England)."
I. Scotland to Hobson's Bay
On Monday of the last week of January, 1839, I left Anstruther for Edinburgh by the Balcarras coach (driver, John Beverige) , and on the second of February sailed from Leith in the barque "Midlothian" (Captain George Morrison) for Victoria, then known as Port Phillip. This was the first ship that had left Great Britain for Port Phillip direct. I only now (in 1890) know of two persons alive who were my fellow passengers, one a first, the other a second class.
The passage from Leith to the Downs was extremely rough and unpleasant, so I and my fellow voyagers felt somewhat pleased upon casting anchor at Deal, with a prospect of remaining there of some days for change of wind. Most of the passengers went on shore every morning during the time we remained, and greatly enjoyed having our feet on land again after the tossing we had had. After five days' detention, the anchor was again raised and sail set for the promised land. With the exception of one night, we had pleasant weather during the whole voyage.
On passing within a short distance of the Island of Trinidad, on which we were told there were wild pigs, I and a few others of the passengers prevailed upon the captain to give us a boat that we might land and try to bag some of the porkers. After a longer pull than we expected to have, the first mate (who was in charge of the boat) failed to discover a safe landing, so we returned to the ship without having committed slaughter. We were 135 days from our leaving Leith until sighting Cape Otway - the high land first seen.
In 1839 there were no charts published of Hobson's Bay - so that our captain saw an opening in the land which he believed to be the entrance, he hesitated to venture in until after standing off, and for some time he espied one of the small craft then engaged carrying sheep, cattle, flour etc., from Tasmania to the new settlement, making for the opening. Having seen this vessel enter, the captain thought he might follow, which he did successfully.
There were no pilots at Queenscliff in those days, or buoys at the channels, so that although safely inside the Heads there wasnothing to note our course to Williamstown. The captain, therefore, anchored near what is now the quarantine ground, that he might with a boat explore the bay and learn the depth of the water, which, having been done, he determined upon the course to be taken next morning. The sun having set and darkness gathered round us the gleam of a fire on the shore at no great distance was observed, and what seemed to be the dusky form of aboriginals flitting around it. Though anxious to land and interview the occupants of the camp it was not too late for this, so we curbed our curiosity as best we could, and turned in for the night.
All were astir early, and many willing hands assisted the sailors to heave up the anchor. The breeze was favourable for the course the captain had decided upon taking, so our ship held on very well for a time, but at length the lead showed the water to be gradually shallowing, which ended in our getting aground on a sandbank. However the ground being soft and the weather calm, our ship received no damage, and an anchor and warp having been put out it was easily heaved off the tide flowing again, and we were soon anchored in the same position as last evening.
To pass the time while the captain again explored the channel, some of the passengers got a boat and rowed to shore in the direction of where the fire of last evening was seen. Upon landing from our boat and walking a little distance inland we found that instead of a tribe of blacks the fire had been made by two Tasmanian expirees, who were engaged lime burning. They had prepared their supper of kangaroo steaks and damper, of which we were asked to partake. Having broken bread for the first time, in their boat the two lime burners, whom we hoped might be able to give our captain some information regarding the channel. In return for the hospitality we had received, the captain gave our hosts some salt beef and bisquits, which they seemed to prize highly.
Next day we met with little more success than on the former one, for before proceeding far through the channel we got aground and had again to warp our ship off and cast anchor for the night. Many of the passengers spent the afternoon on shore at the opposite side of the bay. Here we sighted a herd of cattle, which we greenhorns thought to be wild ones, so set about stalking, but this we fortunately did not accomplish, otherwise might have got into a sad scrape as, at that time, cattle were very valuable in Port Phillip. After shooting a few gaudy plumaged parrots we returned to our ship.
On the fourth day after reaching Hobson's Bay, and whilst still at anchor, a small schooner was sighted coming from Melbourne. Our captain sent a boat to her, and from the captain received a rough chart of the Western Channel, through which we had been trying to sail. Hoping now to accomplish our voyage, we got up anchor once more and set to sail, but had only proceeded a short distance when we again felt ourselves aground.
When we had for the third time got into this unpleasant fix, a large barque with all sails set passed through the Heads, and made for the eastern channel.. I was at the time standing beside our captain, who, stamping the deck in an unpleasant mood, said to me, "that fellow will come to grief before long". He had scarce uttered these words when we saw that the ship had run aground, not in the cautious way we had, so that it could get warped off again, but with all sails set gone hard and fast on the sand-bank. This mishap to the rival ship was, I fear, not regretted by, but rather a solace to our captain, who, after getting his ship fairly afloat, again resumed his cheerful manner, but was undecided as to whether he should try the passage to Williamstown again or leave Hobson's Bay and go to Sydney.
This ill-fated vessel (the name of which I have forgotten) had ran aground hard and fast. She was, I believe, lightered by several small craft sent from Melbourne, and at length got off, taken up the River Yarra and patched as best could be done there then. She left for Sydney, but must have foundered at sea, never being heard of again.
It was reported by some of the early stockmen at Gippsland that one or more white women were living with one of the aboriginal tribes in that district. If such was the case, they were likely to have been the ladies who were passengers by this ill-fated vessel.
II. Travels and the First Squattage
Whilst our captain was considering what he had best do, a whale boat was seen approaching us. In it was Captain Bowden, who had been whaling on the coast for years and trading between Port Phillip and Tasmania. He was now keeping a small inn at Williamstown and offered to pilot us to the anchorage, which we reached next day and were pleased that our annoyances were at an end.
A boat was soon got and a party made up to land. We visited Captain Bowden’s hostelry and partook of his liquor, which was not at all palatable after the good tipple we had been accustomed to on the voyage. Mrs. Bowden was, however, prevailed upon to give us a loaf of bread, which we convyed on board for the ladies, who had not tasted soft bread during the whole voyage.
Williamstown, now a flourishing municipality with jetties, docks, railway, etc., consisted in 1839 of Bowden’s public house and three or four mud huts.
We returned to the ship for the night, and after breakfast next morning got a boat and rowed across to Sandridge, now known as Port Melbourne, three miles from Melbourne proper. At the time I write of, there was not a single building of any sort on it; now it is a large, bustling place with jetties, railways, bonded stores, etc., and has generally a fleet of the finest vessels in the world loading and unloading.
We followed a foot track, believing it to lead in the direction of Melbourne, and soon found ourselves in sight of it. An old man who seemed to be earning a living by ferrying people across the Yarra River in a small boat, took us over. It required but a short time to explore Melbourne in those days, as Collins-Street was the only one marked by a few small wooden buildings and tents. The city now covers an area of many miles and has in it some of the finest and loftiest buildings in the world.
Some three days after reaching Williamstown, two of my fellow passengers, Mr. W. Russell, Mr. Thomas Horsburgh, and myself arranged for a passage to Geelong in a mall schooner named the "Lapwing". We were a nioght on the passage, which we spent sitting in the cuddy of the little craft. Having spied a quarter of mutton hanging on the rigging of our vessel, we, although supplied with a hamper of eatables and liquor upon leaving the "Midlothian", suggested to one of the crew that picking a chop might help to pass the time. This he agreed to do, and at once got down the meat, and on the deck set about cutting it into chops with an old rusty knife and a wood axe. It was then transferred to a grimy looking frying pan, and when cooked brought to the cuddy in a rather dingy tin dish. I asked whether any salt was procurable. "Plenty", was the prompt reply. Having watched the cutting up of the mutton, I was curious to know where the salt was brought from, so, ascending a few steps to the companion ladder, I saw our caterer take a lump of rock salt from behind some ropes, and with the woodaxe chip a piece off and pound it on the deck until about the size of buck shot, then gathered it into his hands, brought it down and threw it on the table, saying, "There’s plenty of salt for you". We reached Geelong early the second day. We were rowed from the schooner in a dinghy by one of the crew, who carried us to the shore on his back.
At this time Geelong was a very small place with not more than six or eight small huts, and the only place of entertainment was a two-roomed slab hut of the roughest description, kept by an eccentric individual of the name of McNaughton. None but small vessels of light draught could get near Geelong. The bay was too shallow. Now, by dint of dredging, large vessels can be brought to the wharves and leave heavily loaden with wool and other produce. Geelong is now a city with a large number of inhabitants. In it is a large custom house and other Government buildings, besides many large places of business, stores, wool warehouses, and round the bay are many handsome residences.
In Geelong we met a young settler who was to start next morning with his light cart and one horse to journey somewhat in the direction of the run of Mr. George Russell (brother of my companion of that name), which was our destination. The horse had as much in the cart as he could draw, so we had to walk the whole twenty miles (a long journey for men just off shipboard). It was late when we arrived at where we were to stop for the night – an outstation of the lower Leigh, belonging to the Derwent Co., and, strange to say, the overseer there, Robert Wilson, was brother of a schoolmaster I had known at Ancrosch, near Anstruther. Wilson made me and my two companions as comfortable as possible in his small hut, and I need not say that after our long walk we all slept soundly. After a good nights rest and a hearty breakfast of mutton chops and damper, we started for Golf Hill, Mr. Russell’s station, on the river Leigh.
A bush fire had, in the previous summer, swept the country of grass, which had, however, grown again by the time of our visit, and was beautifully green. There was not a hoof print, or a broken piece of ground to be seen, so that I and my associates declared the valley of Leigh to be the prettiest place we had ever seen.. We found Mr. Russell at home, and received from him a true bushman’s welcome. This run Mr. Russell had found and occupied only a short time before our arrival, and had not had time to erect more than a hut for his men and store for his provisions, in which he was living. When evening came we were given some blankets each, and made our beds on top of the flour sacks, where we all slept soundly until awakened by the "Settlers’ Clock" (the laughing Jackass) and the sweet note of a magpie. After resting a few days and getting our feet, which were much blistered by the journey, tolerably sound, we assisted Mr. Russell in various ways, principally in trenching ground for a garden in front of where Mr. Russell proposed building his permanent home.
After being at the Leigh for a few weeks, Mr. Russell, his brother and I started one morning to visit a station that had been taken up near the township now known as Camperdown. Having got somewhat out of our course and prolonged the journey, but for the thoughtfulness of the person we were to visit (Mr. Henry Gibb) in lighting a large fire and throwing lighted sticks into the air to attract our attention, we could not have reached our destination that night.
During our sojourn with Mr. Gibb, we visited many beautiful places on thatfine richly grassed country. Notable amongst these was the lake (extinct crater) now named "Bason Banks", the trees around which were all alive and green, the ground covered with a luxuriant crop of kangaroo grass, which could have been mowed and made into hay. After spending four days with Mr. Gibb we started for home, making a detour which occupied two days.
I remained with Mr. Gibbs until the month of November, when hearing of a small lot of sheep for sale I wrote to two of my fellow-passengers, Mr. W.R. Scott and Mr. John Marr, who had agreed to join me in the purchase of stock, and to squat together for a time.. Mr. Scott joined me at Mr. Russell’s and we rode together to here the sheep for sale were running, purchased them to be delivered after shearing, the 1st January, 1840.. Upon getting the sheep, we removed them to a small run which had been previously occupied by two brothers of the name of Watson, who had removed to the Hopkins River near Mirrang, now the estate of Mr. Robert Hood. We remained on this small run until September, when we took a run on a tributary of the Hopkins River, the first known as Bald Hill Creek, afterwards as Nareeb Nareeb. I may mention that upon leaving our first run we sold it to an adjoining squatter for fifty ewes.
III. Contact with the Aborigines
Whilst at our first squattage, I went out kangaroo hunting one day with Stephen Ewing, who had just occupied a run near us, and G.W. Craig, who had been one of my fellow passengers. Gallopping after a "boomer", my horse got both fete into a deep hole, which was covered with long grass that he could not see it. We both performed a somersault, I lighting on the back of my head a considerable distance in front of him. When found by my two companions they thought I was killed, as for some time I showed no signs of life.. However, after loosening my necktie and bathing my temples with water, I recovered somewhat, and was lifted on to my horse and taken home.. There was no doctor or druggist from whom I could procure a liniment to rub my neck, which became very stiff and sore. I did not recover from my fall for several weeks. When sufficiently recovered from my fall, there being some good timber for splitting near us, we thought it might be well to occupy our time by getting a few slabs to build a hut on the run we were to occupy, so myself and a young gentleman of the name of Ingram (son of a clergyman in the Island of Uvst), who was living with us, started off on a splitting expedition. Neither of us had seen a tree split, so were ignorant of how to go about it.. Seeing a tree that had been clipped and tried, probably by some old bushman, we thought it well to begin with it, so with axe and crosscut saw soon had it down and cut to the length required for the slabs.. Having accomplished this, we received a visit from two men who were engaged splitting near us, Pipes were lighted, and after a short yarn one of our visitors examined the log and said " that ought to go well off the back". "Yes", said my mate, "we were thinking so". Our visitors having left, I asked my companion what could be meant by "off the back". "Oh! Goo ness knows, but let us go at it". So at it we went, and with our iron wedges to start and open the slab, and a number of long wooden ones we managed to get slabs, some of which were nearly three feet broad. The usual method is to split the log in half and quarters, the take the slabs of whatever sort of stuff may be required from these quarters. Having got as many slabs as we thought necessary, they were carted to our hut and adzed down thin that they might be light and handy for carting to the new run.
(The "G.W. Craig" mentioned above may be the G.N. Craig, one of the early holders of that part of the Grangeburn run, known as No. 2, on part of which Hamilton is built. Mr. A.S. Kenyon, kindly writing in another connection, stated: " George Napier Craig, born in Edinburg and traines as an accoutant, arrived in Port Phillip in June, 1839. Early in 1840 he took a position with Stephen Ewen of Marida Yallock, and a little later became a partner with him in a run nearby. The district between Colac and the Hopkins was then known as Taylor’s country. In 1841 he was in business as a merchant in Little Collins-street. In July 1847, along ith his brother, Douglas Bannatyne Craig. Of whom I have no particularls, he acquired the license of Grangeburn No. 2, the name being altered to Prestonholme in comparatively recent times. …After the goldfields G.N. Craig went to Bendigo, where he became a prominent mining man and legal manager. He died there in 1907". – Ed. "H.S.)
Riding over the run one day, I came upon the scene of one of the numerous conflicts Fred Taylor was said to have had with the natives, who were numerous and daring in this district. The blacks seem to have decamped suddenly, leaving their spears, waddies etc., behind. These had been thrown on a fire and rendered useless.. Some were fine spears, one of which must have taken many weeks, perhaps months to make, seeing that the natives had nothing better than flints and shells to cut and scrape with, were burned in two, leaving the jagged top which made one shudder to think the dreadful wound it would have inflicted if put through a person’s body. Several of these spear heads I collected and sent home to my friends in Scotland.
I must not omit to mention a short ride undertaken by Mr. J.G. Ware, a neighbour occupying a run some five miles off, and myself. We thought to discover within a short distance of home a nice piece of country, lake or pond of fresh water. About sunset we made the Hopkins, near to Mirrang, which has been previously mentioned. Seeing smoke from a native encampment on the bank of the river, we thought it well to drive the darkeys away before we lay down for the night, so discharged a pistol, which made them decamp. When they had gone, curiosity led us to examine the mia mias in which along with the usual paraphernalia, we discovered a Day and Martin’s blacking tin. How it had got there sadly puzzled us, as at this time no one nearer Geelong (some 120 miles off) used blacking.. The tin must have been handed from tribe to tribe; still those between the Hopkins and Geelong were not then upon friendly terms. But there the tin was.. I regret exceedingly not having put it in my pocket, as it would now have been considered a curiosity. Whilst at this, our first run,, a hut keeper belonging to a neighbour, was killed by the blacks, and the flour, tea, sugar, blankets etc., in the hut carried off.
IV. Nareeb Nareeb
About this time, I had to make a journey to Geelong with a cart and two horses for the purpose of procuring provisions. During the night that I camped at a chain of ponds called the "Wardeyallock", the wild dogs, which were then numerous, kept up a howl during the whole night around my cart, over which I had thrown a sailcloth to for a tent to sleep under. From the noise made, there must have been a pack of 15 or 20.
After remaining at our first run until August, Mr. Scott, Mr. Ingram and I went out in search of a run, and after seeing various places chose "Green Hill Creek", now known as "Nareeb Nareeb", a tributary of the Hopkins, and took possession by putting our sheep in the following month of September. We carted the slabs from the station we had left and erected them.
After finishing the shearing, Mr. Scott went there and sold it. Meanwhile, Mr. Ingram and I occupied ourselves cutting timber for an erecting a hut with the slabs we had split.
Soon after Scott’s return, he and I went to Melbourne and purchased a small herd of cattle to put on our run. We purchased the cattle from Kirk and Harlen, of "Glen Vale, on the Plenty River. In driving the cattle from Melbourne we had good weather, so got on pleasantly until after crossing Taylor’s River at what is now the township of Darlington.. Before we had time to prepare the supper, it commenced to rain and blow great guns, and as there was not a bush about with which to make a breakwind we had to withstand the full source of the storm. Before the storm had reached its worst, I had collected a few small sticks, intending to boil a pannikin of water to make tea, but just as the bubbles began to rise in the pot the sticks under it gave way, it toppled over and drowned out what little fire there was, so we had to abandon all hope of warm tea and content ourselves with a piece of dry bread and drink of water. It was now raining very heavily and dark as pitch, so, having got the river between the cattle and where they had been brought from, we thought it best to leave them until morning. There was no fire or shelter of any sort, so I coveered myself with my opossum rug and lay under it until it was so wet and heavy that I was glad to throw it off and sit without it . We spent a most uncomfortable night and were delighted when daydawn appeared.. The cattle we found all safe, so after eating a piece of damper and taking a drink of water we started on our journey, wet as if we had been in a water hole, but as there was no hut within many miles where a fire could be found there was nothing for it but to move on, letting our clothes dry on us. Next night was fair and, as there was lots of wood, we got a good fire and plenty of tea, which cheered us.
Our next stage was Hopkins Hill, which some ten months previously had been taken up by Henry Gibb for Captain Wood and and Doctor Officer of Tasmania, and stocked with sheep bought from there. Next day we reached home, and were plesed that our troubles were at an end..
I now set about finishing the hut begun before starting for Melbourne. We were at this time visited by Mr. G.D. Bourisquot, who was afterwards proprietor of "The Melbourne Daily News". He assisted me building the chimney of the hut. The only tools we had were an old broken axe and a trowel made of thin split wood. Mr. Scott undertook to look after the cattle, riding round them two or three times a day until they were settled on the run. Being principally dairy cattle, consequently quiet, they were not troublesome. With a couple of men I now set about splitting slabs for a hut for our men and building a wool shed.
V. Provisions by Bullock Dray
Having again occasion to visit Geelong for stores, I started with the bullock team and driveer, it being necessary then for two to travel with a provision dray that one might remain to protect it from the blacks, whilst the teamster went to look after his bullocks. We got on very well as far as "Wardeyallock" (the chain of ponds formerly mentioned), hobbled the bullocks and turned them down by the creek for the night, put the cover over the dray, boiled our quart pots, had our supper and turned in. Getting up at daylight, I set about making a fire to boil our teapot for breakfast, whilst the bullock driver took my horse to fetch his team. He rode up and down the chain of ponds for a considerable sistance, returning returning about midday with my horse nearly knocked up. I then went and soon picked up the tracks of the bullocks, which, after following for some time and seeing the direction in which they were heading, the country being a plain, I thought it well to canter on in the likelihood of overtaking them. This, however, I failed in, and as it was getting dark and my horse knocke up, there was nothing for it but to take the saddle off and secure him for the night by hobbling with a stirrup leather. Having done this, I I thought to solace myself with a whiff of my pipe, but found upon rummaging my pockets that there as flint and steel (a knife), but no tinder (there were no matches in those days), so had to tear a piece of my sghirt and rub it in the dry ashes of my pipe, by which means a spark from the flint would ignite the rag. After striking the flint with my knife for a considerable time without succeeding, the rag got so cold and damp from the dew falling that I had to put it next to my skin and allow it to remain there until dry from the heat of my body, then giving another rub in the dry ashes of my pipe I set out to working the flint with my knife, and at lentgth succeeding in getting a light, with which my pipe was started, but as there was no timber near I had to do without a fire. Smoking was kept up until I was so thirsty that, having no water near, the pipe had to be abandoned.. Whilst sitting shivering and thinking of the wretchedly cold an, uncomfortably night in prospect for me, I heard the clink of a hobble chain at a considerable distance, and felt certain that it proceeded from my bullocks, which I must have passed whilst they were lying down in some ravine or other place where I could not see them. I could hear my horse eating and hobbling about, so I picked up my saddle and bridle to carry towards him, fearing that if left where I had been sitting they might not be found in the dark.
To catch my horse, put bridle and saddle on, take the stirrup leather off his legs and put the stirrup to the saddle was soon accomplished. I soon mounted and made my way across the plains in the dark to where I heard the hobbles and at length got ahead of my renegade bullocks. A few faint stars were visible, so, selecting one which I thought would lead in the direction of the dray, I started to drive my deserters, but soon come on water, which, fearing to cross lest it should be deep or boggy, I had to go round, and by so doing lost sight of my guiding star. This sort of annoyance happened seveeral times, but I managed to keep a tolerably correct course, having made the "Wardeyallock" very near to where the dray was. During the night and early next morning I crossed several deep ravines on the plain; in these the mist was so dense that I could scarcely grope my way through it, and having only a calicoo shirt on me and no coat I felt bitterly cold. When after a cold, weary ride (the bullocks having been in hobbles they could only be driven at a snail’s pace) I reached the dray as the morning star was appearing, called the bullock driver and desired him to get some water s to make me a pot of warm tea. Upon returning to the creek he said, "No wonder you are cold , sir, I broke ice on the water a quarter of an inch thick before filling the pannikin". Soon after we had breakfast there was light enough to yoke the bullocks and put them to the dray, with my tired horse led behind, we pursued our journey, reaching Golf Hill (Mr. Russell’s) in the afternoon. I need scarcely say that I was thoroughly knocked up and slept soundly that night. Our journey to Geelong and return home without , which were hobbled very short and closely watched.was accomplished without further annoyance from the bullocks.
VI. Mistaken Identity or Reincarnation
The natives and wild dogs wwere somewhat troublesome for a time, and, for several of the first years of my squatting life I slept with a loaded pistol under my pillow, and frequently, when I heard the sheep in the yard restless, knowing that either blacks or dingoes were about, had to rise of a cold, wet night and with nothing on but the garment I was sleeping in, run round the folds, generally discharging the pistol, which would frighten the dingoes if they were about, and let the blacks know that I was on the alert, should they be "mutton stalking". When the blacks had become a little civilised, understood a few words of English, and I knew somewhat of their language, a considerable number of them were about the statyion one day, when I was the only white man left there. An old lubra came close to me, walked round and round, eyeing me very intently, then drumming on the skin side of her opossum rug, commenced frisking and jumping about round me exclaiming at the pitch of her voice "Tirrootmerrie – Tirrootmerrie Wurr-r-r-r." This drew the whole tribe round me, who joined in the cry "Tirrootmerrie – Tirrootmerrie Wurr-r-r-r". Not knowing what this disturbance meant and being alone among these excited savages, I did not feel comfortable. However, after succeeding in getting them calmed somewhat, I learned that the lubra who commenced the uproar had discovered in me her long lost "coolee" (or husband). The aborigines of Australia believed implicitly that after death they would return to earth as white people (jump up White-fellow). "Tirrootmerrie" was my name when roaming the forests with a rug for my wardrobe, a waddy in my hand and a bundle of spears over my shoulder. It was not the lubra alone who recognised the "dear departed" – the whole tribe were equally convinced of my identity. My daughter, Annie, is aware that by the natives at the station I was as often styled "Tirrootmerrie" as Mr. Gray. When Madame "Tirrootmerrie" visited the station from time to time, I gave her some flour, tea and sugar, thinking it well to favour the delusion, which it doubtless was, as whilst my neighbours’ sheep were being stolen and their shepherds speared, no harm was done me – and I became a great favourite with the tribe.. Matters progressed pleasantly between my former better half and I until at one of her visits she brought with her three or four piccaninnies and presented them to me as my offspring. This entailed upon me a somewhat larger contribution of flour, etc., but I thought it well not to repudiated the relationship.
One of the most helpful and faithful of the natives was one called Timour, who was the head of the tribe. When he died at an advanced age he was buried in the station graveyard at Nareeb Nareeb. The ceremony was carried out by members of his tribe, I providing a large gum tree from which two pieces of bark were cut. The body was laid between the pieces of bark and secured by thongs of kangaroo sinew.
Before we were able to fence a paddock for our horses, one was generally kept tethered with a long rope, and the grass was then so luxuriant that; the tether being removed to fresh ground three or four times a day, a horse did very well. By keeping one tied, particularly if it was a leader, the others would remain with it, or if they strayed a short distance, one was left to look for them on.. Upon one occasion the tethered horse slipped the rope and they all went off. Mr. Marr and I went in search of them on foot for two days without success. On the third I got upon their tracks, ran them and found the absconders several miles from home. A quiet old mare allowed me to catch her, but having no bridle I could not ride through the thick bush without something to guide her. So to accomplish this I cut a piece of stick about the thickness of my thumb and seven or eight inches long, and round this at each end I cut a notch into which were tied the ends of my neck scarf – which was half of a large square of black silk cut on the bias or angle – thus making it a considerable length. The stick was put in the mare’s mouth as a bit, and with my neck-tie as reins I mounted and gallopped home, driving the other horses before me.
VII. Journeys to Adelaide and Melbourne
After Mr. Scott, Mr. Marr and I had been together for about six years we agreed to separate, Marr and I purchasing Scott’s share of the stock. To enable us to do this we resolved to sell the cattle, and as the only market then for such stock was at Adelaide, we determined to drive them there. Mr. Marr remained on the station to look after the sheep, whilst I went with the cattle. I started in the month of September, by which time there had been a great deal of rain and the country was in a very boggy state. There was scarcely a fair day during our journey, everythin on the dray with our bedding and provisions got wet. I had frequently to get a man to take one end of my blanket to wring the water out of it before I turned in to sleep. Upon getting as far as the River Murray I left the cattle in charge of the men and rode on to Adelaide to look for a purchaser. This I was not long in finding.
I must mention a rather unpleasant adventure which occurred to me when returning to deliver the cattle. There is a range of hills between Adelaide and the Murray, with a creek at the foot of them named "The Brimmer", which, after rain, runs very rapidly, and is dangerous to cross. Upon reaching the crossing place I observed tracks, as if of persons having crossed that day. So I spurred my horse into the water, soon to find that he could not swim, but went almost completely under in midstream, so with long thigh boots and heavy pea coat I had to throw myself off and swim ashore. To make matters worse, the dreadful horse turned and made for the side he came in at, so I had to do the same. This shows that, like myself, every boy should be taught to swim. Reaching shore, and having caught my horse, I examined the tracks which I had thought were of some one crossing that day, and found that they only went a very short distance into the water, turned, and went out on the grass. Following he tracks down the creek, I found a party of stockmen crossing. They had a light rope, which a black boy swam across with, and when this was attached to the horse’s neck he was drawn across., but as he could not swim with me on his back I preferred having the rope brought over and tied around my waist that I might be pulle across also. I was so wet from my first ducking that a second would make me no worse. Having got across, my garments were thoroughly soaked, and my long boots full of water, so, as the best means of emptying them, I laid myself on the grass and got one of the party to lift my feet, put me on my head, and so ran the water out of my boots.
My intended resting place for the night was a small public house on the Murray, some fifteen or eighteen miles off. In my wet state and the weather bitterly cold I felt that the journey would be too much for me, and longed for a resting place where there was a fire to dry my clothes and warm me. After having ridden a couple or three miles, I had the good fortune to come upon an out-station, a very small slab hut. Riding up to the door, an old Scotch woman came out. I told her in "braid Scotch" the misfortune I had met with, and asked her to let me remain for the night, if only to sit by the fire. Seeing the sorry plight I was in, she told me to secure my horse, and she would do the best she could for me. The kind old woman gave me some of her husband’s dry clothes to put on, the she and I wrung the water out of mine and hung them up to dry. Towards the evening the two shephers, (one the husband of the old Scotch woman) arrived with their flocks. We had supper, ith the inevitable pipe and a stiff yarn about Port Phillip, where the married man had been. When bed time arrived, I that the only sleeping place they could offer me was in the box with the watchman (the unmarried shepherd). This watch box, in which a man sleeps to guard the sheep from the blacks and wild dogs, is a skillion shaped box six feet long by two feet three inches wide, on four short legs, with handles at each end like a hand barrow, so that it can be easily carried and placed near the sheepfold. The walls of thin boards are three feet in front and two behind. In this box, lying head to feet with the watchman, I slept the night – and glad I was to get such good quarters – where I slept soundly.. Next morning I was up betimes, had breakfast, thanked, and rewarded the the old Scotch woman, mounted the horse and made my way to the Murray River, which I crossed, and soon joined my men with the cattle.
The purchaser of the cattle arrived in a day or two. They were deliverd, and I returned to Adelaide, where, after spending fourteen days visiting the famous Burra Burra copper mine and other places of interest , I took passage for Melbourne in a small barque called the Tigress, commanded by captain Scott, whose father I afterwards found had been a captain in the same corps of Royal Marines as my father.
Before leaving Adelaide I sold by description another herd of beteen six and seven hundred belonging to my friend, Mr. Russell. Upon arriving in Melbourne by the tigress I purchased a horse to ride to Nareeb Nareeb, spending a night with Mr. Russell to arrange about lifting the cattle.
VIII. Cattle Droving and a Dishonoured Bill
Finding that Mr. Marr was getting on satisfactorily at Nareeb Nareeb, I started for Melbourn, purchased horses and other things for my journey, rode to Mr. Russell’s with the men I had engaged, took delivery of the cattle and started. During the first part of the journey, I had considerable trouble in watching the cattle at night, as they were rather wild, and not withstanding my vigilance, the men allowed a few to escape, but the weather being fine during the journey I had a pleasant trip. Arrived at the place for delivery, I left the cattle and rode into Adelaide to report my arrival to the purchaser, ho came out, took delivery, and gave me bills in payment.
After spending a few days in Adelaide, I started to ride home, accompanied by a man, one of a party who had driven cattle from Sydney. My agent spoke to me of this man, whom his employer said was a decent fellow, so I was glad to have his company during my journey. All went well until the first night we camped in the scrub at "McGrath’s Flat", where there was a well. We made our "wirley" (breakwind of boughs), had supper and a pipe, spread our rugs on the ground, and lay down. Soon after getting to sleep I was awakened by my companion making a strange noise, and his body seemingly shaking. Throwing some gum leaves on the fire to make light that I might see what was the matter, I discovered that my companion was in an epileptic fit, foaming at the mouth. I called to some blacks who were camped a short distance from me, and at length succeeded in getting one of them to bring a pot of water with which I bathed the sick man’s temples and hands, and washed the froth from his mouth. Sitting on the ground all night with his head on my lap, I longed for daybreak, which seemed as though it would never appear. By the time it did, my companion was slightly better, but still insensible and unable to sit up. In my unpleasant predicament I resloved to send a message to a Mr. Giles, who had a station on the edge of the shrub some miles away. So took a leaf from my pocket diary, wrote a pencil note to him, which a blackfellow, under promise of some tobacco, agreed to carry to Mr. Giles, who, upon hearing the sad plight I was in sent a light cart into which the invalid was lifted and sent to the station. Having got rid of my troublesome mate, I saddled my horse and proceeded on my way.
After journeying three or four days alone in the scrub, where the note of a bird is never heard, I reached a station near the South Australian and Victorian boundary, and in a few days more reached Nareeb Nareeb, wheere I found that in my absence my partner, Mr. Marr, had got the sheep shorn, etc.
After remaining at Nareeb Nareeb for some time assisting in the usual work on the station, finding that the bills taken in payment of the catle had not been honoured upon reaching maturity, I determined to ride over to Adelaide. For several days of the first part of my journey, I had stations to call at and stop the night, but on leaving the last of these – "Lawson’s" – I omitted to get a piece of cooked meat and damper. This I did not discover until several miles on my journey, so did not return, hoping to get fish from the blacks when I reached "Coorong" (an arm of the sea which from Lake Alexandrina runs inland for many miles). In this, however, I was disappointed, as, upon reaching the water I found that the natives, with the exception of two old lubras, had gone inland on a hunting expedition. I rummaged in the beenacks (food bags) of these old dames to find only one samll fish, which was so decidely "high" that even after two days and nights ithout food I could not eat it. So had to content myself with my pipe and pannikin of tea. I had the best part of two days more of enforced fasting. However, aided by the tea and tobacco, I managed to reach Mr. Giles’ station, where I remained the night, and fared sumptuously on mutton and damper.
Starting after breakfast I rode as far as to the River Murray, crossed on a small punt, which with the weight of myself and horses seemed to bend about like a sheet of thin tin on the water. Stopping the night at the only accommodation there was (a two-roomed hut built of reeds cut out on the river), I started after breakfast, taking the road for Adelaide, which led past the hut of the old Scotch woman who was so kind to me after my ducking in the "Brimmer" Creek. After a yarn and a pannikin of tea with my humane hostess, I pursued my journey, and upon reaching Adelaide saw the agent (Mr. John Baker), who had sold the cattle, and prevailed upon him in consideration of a pretty stiff commission to take up the bill and give me cash for the amount of it. At this time exchange between Adelaide and Melbourne was extremely high, owing to there being no overland mail or even steamships running.
IX. Gold Discovered – Wine Lost
After the large amount paid the agent, I was averse to a large amount being mulet in a further sum by way of exchange, so took gold for the amount of the bill (several thousand pounds), had it put in a bag and tightly rolled in a rug to prevent its jingling. It was then strapped on to the saddle of my led horse, and off I started for Nareeb Nareeb. I got as far as the Murray the first day. The next three nights I had to camp out, and regretted being overtaken by three men, who were journeying so far in the same direction. I would rather have been alone than in the company of strangers, but there was no help for it. Upon reaching the end of our day’s journey, I used to take the salle off my pack horse, throw it on the ground in the most careless manner, so that upon parting from my fellow travellers after our three days’ companionship they, I am certain, had not the slightest idea of what my led horse was carrying.
After one night in the bush alone with wild dogs howling round me, I had stations to stop at every night during the rest of my journey, but was glad to reach Nareeb Nareeb, rest a day, get a fresh horse, and proceed to town with my gold.
Mr. Marr and I continued our partnership until after the first discovery of gold at the Pyrenees (1849). A shepherd on the station of Messrs. Hall and McNeil found a considerable sized nugget, which he took to Melbourne and showed it to two jewellers named Brentano and Duchesne. One had a shop in Collins-street, the other in Elizabeth-street. A party was made up, who, accompanied by the shepherd, who had found the gold, went off in search of more, but they did not succeed in finding any. I happened to be in Melbourne when the first nugget was exhibited in a hotel in Little Collins-street, near where McEwan and Co’s premises now stand, and went to see it along with a Mr. Coghill. The owner of the nugget was reported to have taken it to Superintendent LaTrobe and claimed a reward. At this time shepherds, or rather men of all sorts were extremely scarce, and had not Mr. LaTrobe acted wisely in giving the shepherd sufficient money to induce him to leave the colony without saying more of his discovery, the stations would have been deserted and the sheep left at the mercy of blacks and wild dogs. As it was, the discovery got wind, and many shepherds left their sheep to try gold digging. I had for some time to tend two flocks on horsebacks, Mr. Marr looking after the hut and cooking for me. As there was no second discovery of gold at the Pyrenees, men soon returned to their former employment.
At this time the great event of the year for the young settlers was the Port Fairy races. All went, bent on enjoying themselves. No end of tricks were played upon the good-natured town people, such as milking Dr. Hume's cows, which were generally found grazing in the early morning on the street, where there was ample food for them. The milk was carried to the hotel, "The Merrijig", where rum and milk was partaken of before turning in to sleep. Visiting the doctor upon one day previous to the races, I was surprised at seeing the quantity of adhesive plaster he had manufactured, and that was hung about the surgery to dry. Asking him the reason of having prepared such a large stock, "Oh!", said the doctor, "Rutledges countrymen are certain to have a few fights during the race meeting, resulting in broken heads etc., so I must have a stock ready for the occasion". Mr. William Rutledge, one of the principal residents of the township, a very kind, hospitable man, who at the time of the races generally had two or three of the young squatters to dine with him, was very proud of the extremely cool claret produced at his dinner table.. It was discovered that this claret was cooled by the bottle being tied to a long string and lowered into a deep well in the garden alongside his house. It occurred to some of the bad boys that a "lark" might be had with the "Billy" (as Rutledge was generally styled) over his wine. So when it was known that the party was safely seated at the dinner table, some of the rogues went to the ell, drew up the bottles, unclosed the strings, and carried them off. When the servant sent for the claret returned to say there was none in the well, the scene with Rutledge (who was an excitable, fussy individual), the boys who were there, and probably knew what was to be done, was described as most excited and not to be soon forgotten.
X. Prosperity and Marriage
In 1851 I resolved to build myself a cottage (having until then lived in a slab hut built by myself in 184041), but at almost every blade of grass between Nareeb Nareeb and the forest where sawn timber could be got had been burned, there was considerable difficulty getting the required timber carted, and but for my own exertions, aided by the bullock-driver, Paddy Crawley (a Tasmanian expiree – one of the best and trusted servants I ever had), mateerials for the cottage could not have ben collected, but Paddy and I stuck to the work and succeeded in bringing the timber required a distance of about twenty miles. The cottage of four rooms, when finished, proved snug and comfortable, and when a flower garden had been fenced and planted in front looked rather well for those times.
By this time (1851) my sheep had increased to ten thousand, and, as shown by the number of prizes taken at our local pastoral and agricultural society’s shows, which were instituted about the year 1860, were the best in the district.
As the grass got parched in summer and was insufficient for working horse, I, some years previous to this, had commenced to grow oats for hay, and used to plough, sow and mow the ground myself every year. I had now a good many cows, so was well supplied with milk and butter; also with vegetables of all sorts.
A married couple whom I engaged on their rrival in the colony – the wife as housekeeper – made me very comfortable. She talked very broad Scotch, so that many of the run could not understand what she said. I told her one day that it was fortunate that she did not engage with an Englishman, as he would have scarcely understood a word she spoke. Her reply was, "Weel, do ye ken I’ve often tocht that, od they English folks unka stoppit".
Matters went pretty smoothly with me now. My stock increased yearly, and I continued to stick to work closely. With the exception of a yearly visit to Melbourne and an occasional trip to Port Fairy (Belfast), I seldom left the station. Quail were at this time very numerous, so when in season I could have an hour or two shooting at any time. Ducks and wild turkeys were also plentiful.
On the 19th March, 1857, I took unto myself a wife. After spending a few weeks at Nareeb Nareeb, we visited Sydney and were there at the time when the ill-fated Dunbar, when only one of the crew was saved, he being washed by a wave high up into the cleft of the rock on which the ship was driven.
Before returning to Victoria, we visited Wollongong-Kiama, and various other places, of which my wife brought home with her several pretty watercolour drawings. Soon after returning to Nareeb Nareeb, I commenced sheep shearing and got through the work very satisfactorily..
My wife and I usually took a walk of an evening when the shepherds were coming home for the night. One of these, Robert Drysdale ("Old Bob" as he was generally named), we frequently met. Upon one such occasion Bob said he would like much to get a kangaroo steamer; would I be kind enough to bring in to the cook at the men’s hut the hind quarters of a nice doe, which I promised to do. This "steamer" is made of kangaroo flesh minced and mixed with fat bacon. There is not a particle of afat about a kangaroo, so it must be mixed with some other flesh. Meeting Bob some evenings afterwards, I asked him if he had got the steamer. "Oh, yes", he said in a drawling sort of way, which showed that the dish had not been to his liking. Upon urging him to tell what was amiss with it, he said "The fool of a cook had not put any port wine in it". I agreed with Bob that this was a great mistake on the part of the cook, but promised that another marsupial would be brought home and that I would see the proper condiment was added to the dish.
The hindquarters of another doe were brought to the men’s quarters and instructions given to the cook to let me know when he was making the steamer, as I wished to put something in it. Notice was accordingly given me, and I went with three parts of a bottle of port, which was put in the steamer. Nest time we met Bob, upon asking him how he liked the second steamer, he rubbed his hands together, and evidently highly pleased said, "Oh man, it as grand, it was grand."
In 1861 my run was thrown open for sale and selection. This went from year to year, until the whole twenty thousand acres had been secured.
XI. Fire and Wild Dogs
In 1850 my partner, Mr. Marr, and I agreed to separate, we dividing the run and sheep equally, Mr. Marr getting the few cattle that were left in lieu of the buildings erected on the original homestead, which I was to get.
The sixth of February of the following year (1851) was the memorable "Black Thursday", when the whole country seemed to be on fire, and an immense amount of damage was done, and several lives lost. I went from Geelong to Melbourne by the steamer Aphrasia on that day. The heat even on the water was most intense. Theburned leaves, which were wafted from the land and over our ship formed what seemed a black cloud between us and the sun.
Ice was not manufactured in Melbourne in those days. Enduring the heat and thirst until some time after sunset, we all sailed out and made for the river, where there was a primitive bathing place. After cooling ourselves somewhat in the water, we returned to the hotel, and managed to partake of dinner.
About ten days before the memorable "Black Thursday", there was a day almost as hot, the grass for a great many miles round my run was completely burned up. Within sight of my hut enough grass could not have been gathered to fill a hat; and worst of all, I had great part of a fine flock of young ewes burned, which was then a great loss to me. And it was with the greatest difficulty I succeeded in saving my hut, in which was my bedding, clothes etc., also my store, which contained the supplies – flour, tea, sugar, slop clothing for the men, etc., for the year. This severe loss taught me a lesson, and induced me to devise a method of warding off bush fires, by which I effectually secured my run. This was done by ploughing round the run two sets of furrows of five each two chains apart. When the heat in summer had sufficiently dried the grass for it to be burned beteen the furrows, this was done, and a breadth thus made to stop a bush fire. During the many years I remained at Nareeb Nareeb I never again had my run burned. These furrows had to be renewed every year, so that this insuring my run against fire cost a considerable sum yearly, but I was well repaid for my outlay. Many of my neighbours adopted the system.
Sheep farmers now saw the necessity of ridding the country of wild dogs that the sheep might bed out on the run instead of being brought home and folded very evening. So a simultaneous onslaught was made, resulting in immense destruction of the troublesome "dingo". The plan I adopted was to prepare two or three dozen of tempting baits with the necessary strychnine in them. These were put in an old shooting bag carried on my shoulder. A piece of offal was tied to a long string, put in a bag and buckled on my saddle. I then, about sunset, mounted my horse and rode out on the run until I knew that the sheep were behind me, having passed where I was on their way to the fold. I then let the offal fall to the ground and began to drag it in a circle round the sheep folds, dropping a bait on top of this drag, sa, at a distance of two or three hundred yeards. The woild dogs following the track of the sheep from the run found my drag, which they ran along, picking up the baits, which soon took effect, dead dogs being frequently found by the shepherds when taking their flocks out to the run of a morning.
The last dogs seen on the run were told me of a neighbour, who, in riding to Nareeb Nareeb saw three at a rocky rise known as the "She Oak Hill". I went out to this hill in the evening with my drag, which I drew round it, dropping the baits at intervals. In the morning, being engaged with a flock of sheep, I sent a blackfellow to the hill, having described to him where the baits were laid. He returned in a short time, bringing with him two brushes, and doubtless the other dog was also poisoned, as another was never seen on the run. Getting rid of these troublesome dingoes was a great relief to sheep farmers, as they destroyed a large number of sheep; besides, the flocks had to be brought home and folded every night.
XII. Family Life on the Station
My daughter Annie (born in 1858) became, like most bush girls, fond of riding at an early age. She would catch her Shetland pony and with nothing but a halter on its head, jump on and gallop all over the paddock. When she was able to manage a larger mount, we rode out almost every afternoon. I took great interest in teaching her to sit and manage her horse well. She acquired a fine seat, and when ten years of age, was a good and fearless rider.
By 1868 kangaroos had increased very much on my run, eating and destroying a large quantity of grass, so with a view to reducing their numbers Annie and I had almost daily slaughter amongst them and used of an afternoon to kill eight, ten, and even as many as twelve large ones. We had six good dogs, two of which were always in trim to run, not having been fed the previous evening. It was all the largest marsupials we killed. I became so expert at hamstringing that our dogs never got cut, and consequently were not afraid to "tackle the boomers". When it was seen that the dogs were about to pounce on their game, Annie rode alongside of me and took hold of the reins of my bridle. I jumped off, took a sharp knife out of my pocket, opened it and placed the handle between my teeth and cut the hamstring, which prevented him injuring the dogs. If this hamstringing is not done, dogs get terribly cut, even killed by the claw of the hind foot. Men have often been injured or had their clothes torn off. I was on one occasion when on horseback run at by a big fellow, which left the marks of his claws on my trouser and the pommel of my saddle, but my horse was going too fast for him to get hold of me. Some of the "boomers", as they were termed, are a great size, standing, when at bay, nearly seven feet. Our dogs killed every kangaroo they went after, so that we succeeded in reducing their numbers considerably.
I must mention a narrow escape my two eldest daughters and I made on one occasion. At the township of Glenthompson, twelve miles from Nareeb Nareeb, a church had been built, for which I had promised to provide a pair of pulpit lamps. These had arrived from Melbourne, and two of my eldest girls, who had reached home from school for the midwinter holidays, were anxious to drive to Glenthompson with them. There was no road formed or bridges erected between Nareeb Nareeb and Glenthompson. A great deal of rain had fallen, rendering the ground very boggy, almost impossible to drive over. However, we resolved to attempt the journey with four horses and a waggonette. Off we started – Annie on the box seat beside me, Emily and the groom with the lamps. When the horses reached the banks of this creek and found the ground sound underfoot they pricked up their ears and went off at a trot. It was only when we were within a few yards of where this bridge had been I saw that the floods had, with the exception of two, washed all the logs away. Those left were not more than seven inches thick. To turn was impossible, and as the logs left seemed to be the width apart of the wheels, I guided as accurately as I could, and succeeded in crossing. The leaders cleared the gully at a bound, when the wheelers, and we were safe. Annie was the only one who, with me, had seen the danger e were in. She did not speak or show sign of fear, but put her little hand on my left arm as if to nerve me for meeting the danger my children were in, but when the wheels had cleared the chasm and we were galloping up the opposite bank, she, with a sweet smile on her countenance, looked at me and said, "That wasn’t bad, Papa." These words were so impressed upon me that I will never forget them.
XIII. Success but Loneliness
As formerly mentioned, my sheep were probably the best in the district, in proof of which I was awarded by the Hamilton Pastoral And Agricultural; Society, from 1864 to 1886, 35 first, 18 second and 11 third class prizes for sheep exhibited at their annual shows, one gold and 13 silver medals. Besides these, I was adjudged one special prize of 20 pounds, four of pounds 5/5- each, and five ordinary champion prizes, three for rams, and two for ewes, being the best ram or ewe of any age exhibited. In 1873 – the first year of the grand champion show, open to the whole of the colonies – I was awarded the champion prize of 50 pounds for the best ram exhibited; next year I took the second prize of 10 pounds. This competition was afterwards discontinued. By the Australian Sheep Breeders’ Association, I was, in 1884, awarded first prize of 5 pounds for the best grass-fed merino ram of any age, and Messrs. Dalgety, Blackwwod and Co’s special prize of twenty-five guineas for the same sheep. By the same society I was awarded, in 1885 5 pounds for the best conditioned sheep carrying heaviest fleece off their natural pasture. My grass-fed sheep having been frequently brought into competition with those which had to some extent artificially fed, I decided, as advised by the person left in charge of Nareeb Nareeb during my absence in England, not to risk the reputation of my flock so did not exhibit so frequently or take the same interest in the shows as formerly.
I returned to Victoria in 1876 by steamer from Liverpool to New York, thence by rail to San Francisco (visitng Niagara, Salt Lake City etc.), thence by steamer to Sydney and on to Victoria, expecting that my wife and daughters would follow me in a few years. They returned in 1881, but stayed only a year. As the old house was almost beyond repair, I resolved to make myself comfortable by building a snug cottage, with broad verandah to shade from the sun, which proved all that could be wished for, but I felt so lonely during the long inter nights, and being then close on eighty* years of age , and having no son to succeed me, I decided in 1886 to rejoin my family in England. I therefore sold Nareeb Nareeb, parting with it ith deep regret, but relieved to be free from the annoyance now being caused by sheep shearers and others.