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Saturday, 02 June 2012


The official newsletter of The Drover's Camp Assn Inc. Camooweal

VOL # 9 Issue 1 April 2012

De Havilland
A De Havilland Biplane and ambulance on Camooweal Airstrip in 1926

President's Report

G'day All,
Well, here we are in 2012 and the tourist season is almost with us. Before Christmas we had a mini tornado go through the Camp displacing the front wall of the Shed by 20 centimetres - hopefully this will be fixed in the next two weeks by insurance. We have received funding to help us gain accreditation for a registered Tourist Information Centre, to be run from the office on site. George Peach will take up the position of festival coordinator here again for Festival 2012. DON’T FORGET THE DATES FOR FESTIVAL 24th , 25th, and 26th OF AUGUST. Remember there will be election of officers this year, so put on your thinking caps! Sadly Carmel has resigned due to ill health and Ellen Finlay has stepped into acting secretary and Kathy Green as treasurer until the AGM in 2012.
Am looking forward to the 28th of April when 8 Rotary Clubs will converge on the Drovers Camp for a special; "border" meeting. They are coming from Mt Isa, Cloncurry, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs.
The Drovers Camp will be catering for the event. I have just returned from Brisbane where I attended a 3 day conference/workshop with Qld Tourism with was very informative and will benefit the Camp greatly.

It is with sadness that I inform you of the passing of George Rankine and Freddy Trindle. These avid supporters of the Drovers Camp will be sorely missed.

Yours in droving,

The 2011 Drovers Camp Festival is supported by
Events Queensland

The Bronze Spur Award

Winners announced at The Drover’s Camp Festival in Camooweal on 24th to 26th August 2012. These awards were first competed for in 1997 and have been an annual event of the festival since.

Original Written Bush Verse 1st Bronze Spur + $250.00 2nd - $100 & ribbon 3rd - $50 & ribbon

The handcrafted bronze spurs are made by Jaye Daley from Julia Creek and are mounted on polished gidyea bases made by Carmel Williams from Camooweal. This unique and prestigious trophy is highly prized by bush balladeers and poets throughout Australia. To compete in the written verse section please complete the form below and return with remittance and work by 8st August, 2012. For enquiries please contact Ellen Finlay at Undilla Station, Camooweal Qld 4828. (Ph 07 47 482 186).


  • Maximum of 4 (four) entries per competitor; cover page for each entry (no poet name on poem) and 3 copies of each entry.
  • All entries to be neatly printed or hand-written legibly, and a maximum of 100 lines.
  • The competition is open to all writers, and to previously published material which has not won a prize but may have been commended by judges elsewhere.
  • Poems to be keyed to the theme of rural Australia, its people, animals, way of life and values.
  • All poems must be written in traditional rhyming bush verse with balanced meter, in the style of the ‘Old Masters’.
  • All entrants shall be able to reclaim entries at the Festival. There will be no return mail-outs.
  • Judges decision will be final and irreversible.
  • The Association reserves the right to display the winning entries and use in publications put out by the Drover's Camp.
  • Entries cost $5.00 per poem, payable to The Drover’s Camp Assn. Inc., mailed to:-


Bronze Spur Bush Poetry Entry Form

Wake Up Time!

When the shearing sheds are silent and the stockcamps fallen quiet
When the gidgee coals no longer glow across the outback night
And the bush is forced to hang a sign, "Gone broke and wont be back"
And spirits fear to find a way beyond the beaten track.

When harvesters stand derelict upon the wind swept plains
And brave hearts pin their hopes no more on chance of loving rains
When a hundred outback settlements are ghost towns overnight
When we’ve lost the drive and heart, we had to once more see us right

When “pioneer” means a stereo and "digger" some backhoe
And the "outback" is behind the house, there’s no where else to go
And "Anzac" is a biscuit brand and probably foreign owned
And education really means brainwashed and neatly cloned

When you have to bake a loaf of bread to make a decent crust
And our heritage once enshrined in gold is crumbling to dust
And old folk pay their camping fees on land for which they fought
And fishing is a great escape; this is until you’re caught

When you see our kids with Yanky caps and resentment in their eyes
And the soaring crime and hopeless hearts is no longer a surprise
When the name of R. M. Williams is a yuppy clothing brand
And not a product of our heritage that grew off the land

When offering a hand makes people think you’ll amputate
And two dogs meeting in the street is what you call a "mate"
When "political correctness" has replaced all commonsense
When you’re forced to see it their way, there’s no sitting on the fence

Yes, one day you might find yourself an outcaste in this land
Perhaps your heart will tell you then, "I should have made a stand"
Just go and ask the farmers, that should remove all doubt
Then join the swelling ranks who say, "Don’t sell Australia out".

Author unknown


On the 5th February 2012 the annual Territory- Barkly Reunion was held at 29 Strawberry Road Beewah. The home of Wendy and John Ohlsen. (John managed Alexandria Station for many years.) People travel from near and far to attend this reunion and to catch up with old mates.

Here are some of them. Dawn and Cec Watts (Ex General Manager for Vestey).

Cookie and Gavin McDonald. (Ex Stock Inspector). Sue and Tony Clark (Ex Manager Nutwood Downs N.T.) Thea Hayes (Ex Wave Hill). Bruce Paine (Ex Chief Vet Darwin). Adrienne and Jack Travers (Ex Brunette Downs Stock Inspector).

Terry Crowson (Ex N.T. Stock Inspector). Edna and Mick Moloney (Ex Southern Cross Machinery). Alla and Ross Brunckhorst (Ex General Manager NAPCO).

Heather and Robbie Atkinson (Ex Helen Springs NT). Diane and Ted Martin (Ex Flying Stock Inspector Tennant Creek).

Margie and Ken Wright (Ex Wrights Transport). Jock Bremner (Ex Manager Scotts Creek N.T.).Roger Steele (Darwin). Brian Thompson (Adelaide) Peggy and Tom Kennedy (Peggy was one of the Moloney girls from Camooweal). Gail and Campbell Copeland (Ex Avon Downs Manager).Val and Rod Dixon (Ex Barkly Stock Inspector). Barry Whitaker (Rolling Hills Eidsvold). Pam McPherson (Ex Alice Springs) my wife Cooee was also buzzing around and there were a host of others.

Apologies were sent from Mary and Peter McCracken, Robin and Graham Fulcher, Jan and Ian Knight, Kay and Ian McBean, Tom Cuskelly, Val and George Birch ,Gwen Bisley, Geoff Wagstaff, Jenny and Rowley Walker. My wife Cooee she was buzzing around also.

This was a great day and a great Get together. So don't forget the first Sunday in February every year at 29 Strawberry Road Beerwah. A big thank you to Wendy and John for a great effort every year.

NT Reunion

Song of Other Day

The magpie warbles fondly from the birdbath on the lawn
Her mate responds in kind from bough on high,
The breezes rustle softly and the dappled sunlight plays,
As I listen for the song of other days.

For I’m sitting in the garden and my wife with smock and hat,
Absorbed with soil and pots attends her plants,
The fragrance of the honeysuckle wafts in scented waves,
And softly comes the song of other days.

And the songs that I’m ahearing come from memories down the years,
Of mates I’ve had, some old, and some long gone.
From the Barkly to the Lachlan and places in between,
From township lights to lonely camp fires’ gleam.

Oh, the coolness of the morning when the scent was on the air,
The tang of dew on grass that’s turned to hay,
The glorious panorama as the eastern sky lights up,
And the dawn wind heralds in another day.

Where we swung big mobs in muster on the endless sun drenched plains,
We were mounted on top horses bred for stock,
Through gidgee scrub and mulga we hustled fired aglow,
In that reckless, reckless era long ago.

Then we’d hold the mob together on the plain for open draft,
Stockhorses cut and wheel with easy grace,
And the growing mob of branders settle down on camp,
Till we move them to the yards with bronco ramp.

And the thoughts now come aplenty as the memories flood back,
The busyness of bustling bronco yards,
When the giant horses strain, ‘gainst collar, girth and channel,
As they hall reluctant cleanskins to the panel.

On night watch with fresh weaners was a time of wild hull-oo,
When holding yards were few and far between,
Half a dozen men a-horse as the steers splashed in fright,
And the stockwhips woke the echos of the night.

And we bought our fastest horses to the outback picnic meets
Where mateship and the challenge was the lure,
And our foam-flecked straining cuddys showed their mettle and their pace,
In the ‘drenline charged excitement of the race.

Nostalgia comes with memories of the girls when we were young,
The delightful flare of interest, enchantment of rapport,
Then the bitter sweet, "it’s over" when fate says "you must part",
But a touch remains forever in each heart,

Then five years artesian drilling from Bedourie to the Gulf,
I made a quid and found myself a mate,
She is someone really special, four children giv’n to share,
Our farmstead’s been an ideal place to rear.

There’s a few things I’d do different if I had a second run,
Hindsight is the wisest guy I know,
But I’d need again the guidance of the Lord Creator’s hand,
Who blessed my life and journey o’er this land

Author - Lex Shepherd

Letters to the Editor

Morning, I was reading your website with interest. I am trying to help a friend find out about her ggrandparents William Henry and Maggie Day. Her grandfather William Henry Day was born at Camooweal in 1892. In about 1895 the family were at Anthonys Lagoon (Maggie was housekeeper, William Henry a carrier) They were down to vote at Warnado. William Henry Day died at Rankin Dam in 1897 and apparently his wife spent three days bringing his body back to Borroloola. Noone in the family knows anything more about this couple. I was wondering if anyone in your group would know anything about this couple. Fingers crossed.

I am wondering if you or any other members of the Dover's Camp can help me locate the descendants of a Gentleman who had a large cattle property in the North, circa 1900.

This Gentleman was George W Sawtell of "Bryimine".

I have learned that "Bryimine" has been sold & divided.

My reason for wanting to contact family members is that I have a collection of books that once belonged to George W Sawtell dated 1902. Anyone who has details please contact the Drovers Camp as per detail in front of newsletter.
Audrey Leggett

Hello, I work for the NT Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation, I came across your website and found it a font of information. My job is to assist aboriginal people to research and reunite those whose families were separated for a variety of reasons. I believe that some of your readers maybe able to assist with personal and family records they may have of the local populations at the times they were working and living remotely. If you could please post in your next Cattle Pad my contact email ( This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ) and phone 08 89479171, any photocopies or scanned documents that people would be happy to supply that are relevant would be wonderful.
Janetta O'Donnell

Old photos


Last Updated ( Saturday, 02 June 2012 )
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