Old folk at lunch

Thursday, November 15, 2012

More from the old days

The photo below denotes considerable pride.  Jack Ray (in the middle of  photo) often used his team to "snig" (drag) out of the bush (forest) some of the huge trees they cut down in those days.  He also felled trees himself and I suspect that he both cut and moved the monster in the photo.  Jack was about 6' tall so that is the diameter of the tree

Imagine cutting down a huge tree with just an axe and a crosscut saw then imagine getting it to the railhead with bullocks pulling it along an unmade bush track and you will see the reason for the pride behind the photo.  Those guys were not supermen so it is rather amazing what they accomplished with just brains and doggedness.  They understood the challenges they took on and rose to them.  And they were just ordinary men.  Jack never went to school but was taught at home to read and write.

The second photo is of my grandmother's father Bob Warren.  He was a dairy farmer among other things and at one stage moved his herd via ship from Kuranda to Home Hill.  I have an idea he got some sort of land grant at Home Hill. The farmhouse and creamery at Kuranda is in the background, which I believe he built himself.  He was also a carpenter.

The photo above appears to be from 1909 and an interesting thing is that we actually still know the names of the beasts in the picture.  Their animals were like people to their owners in those days. Bob is with his bull "Sultan" and the cow in the picture is the prize-winning "Coconut".  In the background is "Bluebell".  I think it was Vin Warren (Bob's youngest son) who gave us those details.  He knew those animals himself.  I was looking at a picture of another one of Bob's cows at one stage and Vin said:  "That's Buttercup".  I asked how he knew which cow it was.  "By the curl in her tail" he answered.  The animals were all real individuals to him.  He remembered them like people.

The photo was taken at Myola, near Kuranda in North Queensland.

I actually remember Bob Warren myself.  We visited them at Home Hill when I was about 6 and he gave me a penny.  Even at that time the amount seemed small but he was an old man then and a penny would have bought a lot in his youth.

Vin's sister, Annie, my grandmother, died young and her death was deeply felt in the family.  Vin would have been in his 80's when I asked him:  "And what sort of person was she, Vin?  He replied:  "She was a lovely person".  And his eyes filled with tears.  So I too now feel grief about the death of a person whom I never knew.  But she was my grandmother so maybe that is allowed.

Grandfather Jack Ray and grandmother Annie nee Warren

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