- GUM LEAVES.
(By "6 x8.")
Without nndud boasting, it may be safely asserted that the bush bred Australian particularly the farming variety is one of the handiest men on this planet, while for inventing and manufacturing with sparse allowance of tools, makeshifts of all man ners and description, he has few equals m any part of the world Far from the busy throng and stores of warehouses he ¿ compelled and must need learn to help himself Tai mcrs build their own horned repair iVheir own farming implements «¡noe their horses, make bricks and build their own ovens , on rivers they just as glibly turn shipwrights and out of huge gum lop hew their o \ n boat» In fact there u hardly a necessity article the handy farmer, be it of iron, wood, or stone cannot, when compelled fabricate ni soma fashion or at lei»t substitute a m.Lestnft serving the same puipose The handiest person of this natuie writer ever met wa» i vi heat fanner and vigneron m the beau tiful feitlle Goulburn Ruer villey m Vietom Uns man was almost a meehan! cal genius ¡le had built a init,nincent stone house iwth stone he hrd nun-clt quarried and made his own dnjs agncul tui ii implements d d all his OH II carpet,
tering manufactuitd ill his furnituie in Ins self made and well equipped c-irpeiiter and bínele mlth shops lie also built two or tlnec big bo t» and barges on which he earned his pioduce down the riler to the nagambie Raihiny Station But the groitest of his cloicr achievements was the i ni in? of all lu» own-and the} were hup 800 gallon etruttuies-wine cisl », rows ot which weie filling a finely constiuotecl imeur"iouiid and slone walled wine cellar ile v, is at once a carpenter bl ick»m th cabinetmaker slnpwiiglit cooper «heel
wiight end many other things too mimeiou», to mention Ile was as stated ilmost a genius but Australian farmer» right through are exceedingly handy men
Another feature of the bushman that often surprises city folks is the enomiou« «mount of different and altogether ojipo. MIP occupations bushmen can and do hil Trom pick to pen is an old sajini, m no place Is it rtrongei manifested than in tie buih A new chum going out back or among the farming districts with blue) up, and willing to work and read) lo ac cept whateicr job is offered to lum mil in a year or two have learned half-a dozen or more bu-,h occupations Almost every job is of a different de-cnptlon than the list one he had performed In one he may be stooking or winnowing in the harvest field , in the next wool rolling or penning up in a sheanng shed fencing grubbing tank «inking tiroimg sheep kill ing or skinning iingbirkmg mining grape picking potato digging bullock dry- ing mustering ind so on will all be offered to him in due time if he keeps fo
lowing work in the bush Of present writer it ins once sud in print that he lind folio«ed twentj seien distinct)) i¡[ lerent occupilion. It seemed exaggor ited and piutin¿ on his remembering up he stalled to recollect and enumerate the amount of ' distinctlv diiTeient occupa lions he reill) hid followed dünne, hu sixteen icars woik in the bu h Iweuty «oven was soon ind seiereh surpassed Heie I mi} idd that mnnj bushmen who naie been thiough the whob mill nnd nho ucie by some means umbi to con imue lint life took to literature ind journalism in Australia and oro* Few made ns big a mark m the ink line is they Ind done In the harvest field or the shear ing shed Theie are at piesent eienl old bushmen editors of big Austrillm illm trited weeklies while many of our noted Iltenti, such as Henry Lawson lorn» lkicl e John Farrell and other» have woilcd and tinmped in the busn long ere thej shouldeied theil literary blu ¡
"Most things," says a hoary philoso- pher, "are done with the turn of the wrist. Counting mobs of sheep how- ever, is certainly done with the twist of the eye. One meets marvellously quick counters on stations A yarn-only a "Mulga"—has it that a man on the Spee- wah where the shades are miles long and the shearers bath in champagne, live in places and have servants to wait on them never counts the sheep but no matter how fast they run through a big gate he counts their legs and divides result by four. He never makes a mistake, aforesaid "Mulga" has it. Once in a 20,000 mob they rung in a three legged ewe. When finished counting this great man wiped his eye brows and paralysed his audience by calmly saying 19,999! Men, however are smart at the counting game which is not nearly so easy as it looks. I know a sta- tion boss Who covers eight and nine and even ten sheep with his eyes at once and thereby counts large lots both quickly and accurately. Of course, it's only simple addition, but after about twenty sheep have rushed past you begin to see sheep everywhere and everything round you be- gins to glimmer and you see enough
"specks before your eyes" to induce you to go to your camp and carefully note down the symptoms and in company of a pound send same to the nearest don't-you-feel-
well young quack."
» . .
My first counting experience may be north recording I was new in the bush, and passada large mob of travelling sheep in tho ltivenna district The boss drover and second m charge w ero " on the sproe" in the adjicent township One of tho shep nerds hailed, attracted no doubt bv our learned appearance, and inquired whether I could count sheep I thought I could and proudl} undertook lo count the mob through a public gate My eyes begin to swim soon, and after the fir»t 100 I lost run completely I could see nothing but a moving mass of gray life But my dignity was at stake, and I wasn't going to be beaten in tío easy a fashion I kept DIT place coolly, and started " gue»sing - this Is often done, and sometime» very ac curately by quick counters of ¿teat expen once-and kept singing out 100 to the tally stick min-one man stand» bj tne counter n Ith a short stick, into winch he cuts a nick for every call of 100-*' 100 '' at ran dom When they were all through ne tillied up "Well," said the tall) maa di}ly, with a humorous iwinkl» in his eje« " S\ e must have picked up a lot on the track We started from Balranald with 5500 -Wording to }Oiir counting trew got 8700 now " I knew, then, that count ing sheep had lo be learned Some sheep bosse» .can count sheep ns they run slontj
a tence One thing, howeier, I hil« t noticed-no matter how smart and auid and accurate station managers or onus's
mav be-they invariably run sheep singly through a small fence opening or drafting race when It comes to busing or selling sheep or counting shearers tallies,
The loud-mouthed, ignorant, so called socialist is hated by the genuine bushman as he hates the crawling blacksnake in the grass Once we arrived in a »w11" nondescript bush town during strike timt The place looked lively 'lhere was a large strike camp In the vicinity of the town, and trade with the storekeepers butchers, baker», hotels, ¿Le, lias brtok brlsker than ever it had been in the town in the fading memory oí the oldest In habitant All the shop windows were M
up brightly, viciously poking fun at ti municipality's kerosene street lump« Every bar was crowded, and the town band was playing or tuning their Instru- ments (which of the two was a question for debate) in the middle of the main street, so that horses would not ehy >' them. A noted socialist, of the shrieking equal-dlstribution-of-beer type, with « tremendous backyard reputation, had Ar- rived, and intended (for a considération, of course) to address a meeting irom tie Dewdrop Inn's veranda on. " Socialism 01 the dark past ard the misty future,' « "Equal distribution of swanKey verm capital," or muscle versus sheep's Wain, or something of that kind. A large aw mixed crowd of intoxicated and beasur sober tank-sinkers, fencers, burr-cutters, foot-rotters, wool-rollers, shearers, Ma black sons and daughters of the forest, had congregated outside the Dew Ur-P Inn, anxiously awaiting the appearsM of the famous beer distributor. !.-. .».ocáalist. He came and saw and-did not conquer. " Ladies and gentlemen, M bogan-(loud cheers)-giving the table » terrific blow with MB grimy flat, *e don't want to work any more !" (Tremen- dous and prolonged cheers and applause, cries of " Hear, hear," " Bravo I *W " Of course," he continued, rolling nis eyes wildly, and running'his hand throus» his unkempt, matted locks, " we won earn hany wages, but-" (howls of uT with him !" " Down with him ! *-'" him !" accompanied by hailstorms »l broken glasses and bottles, cow-manure, ripe eggs, and road metal). Hurried c1" of socialist. The fact that the men canie fully prepared with war ammunition on« more corroborates my oft-made statem-D' that the bushman instinctively detects toe differMice between a sincere, honest de- mocrat or labour representative and u» shoddy, Ignorant, beer-swilling social'»1 and would-be politician OB til» ****,
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