ROLF BOLDREWOOD DAYS: PART 1. Life at Yambuk – blue and golden days were waiting!

NOT MADE TO ORDER: PART OF THE YAMBUK RUN WAS DISTINCTLY DANGEROUS RIDING. MANY A GOOD STEED AND HORSEMAN HAVE BITTEN THE DUST.

Thomas Alexander Browne, later to become Rolf Boldrewood, was born in 1826. Browne grew up in Sydney and went on to have a varied career, working, among other things, on stations in the Riverina and the Western District of Victoria, and as a magistrate in Albury. Writing under the pen-name of Rolf Boldrewood, he became well-known for his famous bushranging novel Robbery Under Arms. Browne spent some time on Yambuk, a cattle station on the west coast of Victoria, in the 1840s. – FM.                                 

THOMAS ALEXANDER BROWNE

Once upon time, in a “kingdom by the sea”, known to men as Port Fairy, Yambuk, was a choice and precious example of an old-fashioned cattle station. If one could easily ride up … to that garden gate, receive the old cordial welcome, and turn his horse into the paddock, what a fontaine de jouvence – fountain of youth – it would be?

Touching the groves on the opposite side of the Shaw River, down to a bank of which the garden sloped, were broad limestone flats, upon which rose clumps of the beautiful lightwood or hickory trees, some of Australia’s noblest growth, when old and shady.

The cottage, low roofed, veranda protected, was thatched at the early period I recall, the rafters b0.eing picked from the strongest of the slender ti-tree saplings in the brush which bordered the river side. The mansion was not that imposing.

The rooms were of fair size, the hospitality refined, and pervading every look and tone; and we, who in old days, often shared in on our journeys to and from the metropolis of the district, would not have exchanged it for a palace.

YAMBUK -- EXTREMELY PICTURESQUE

A man with a thousand head of well-bred cattle, on a run, capable of holding half as many more, so as to leave a reserve in case of bushfires and bad seasons, was thought fairly endowed with this world’s goods.

If prudent, he was able to afford himself a trip to Melbourne twice a year or so; and to save money in reason. He generally kept a few brood mares, and was enabled to rear a superior hack for himself or friend.

As it was not the custom to keep more than a stockman, and one other man for general purposes, he had a reasonable share of daily work cut out for himself.

Yambuk was then an extremely picturesque station, combining within its limits unusual variety of soil and scenery, land and water. The larger grazing portion consisted of open undulating limestone ridges, which ran parallel with the sea beach.

BLUE AND GOLDEN DAYS

The River Shaw, deepening as it emptied into the ocean, was the south-eastern boundary of the run. Beside the limestone ridges were sandy hillocks, thickly covered with the forest oak, which growing almost to the beach, braved the stern sea-blast.

What was very sound and well sheltered were these low hills, affording the most advantageous quarters to the herd in the long, cold winters of the west.

When our dreamy summertime was o’er, a truly Arcadian season, with “blue and golden days” and purple shadowed eves, wild wrathful gales hurtled over the ocean waste, rioting southward to the pole which lay beyond.

Mustering then in bad weather was a special experience. Gathering on the sea-hills, the winter’s day darkening fast, a drove (herd) of heavy bullocks …lumbering over the sand ridges ahead of us, amid the flying sand and spume (foam), their hoofs in the surf … it was a season study; worth riding many a mile to see.

How often has that picture been recalled to me in later years! The sad-toned, far- stretching shore; the angry storm-voices of the terrible deep; the little band of horsemen; the lowing, half-wild drove; the red-litten cloud prison, wherein the sun lay dying!

<< Life at Yambuk adapted from Australian Pathways, Spring 1998.

Pictures: The cattle are coming! The cattle make a mad dash for land on the side of the creek. One escaped. Two stockman ambushed a bullock.


VALE: AUTHOR MICHAEL BOND WITH PADDINGTON BEAR.

CREATOR OF PADDINGTON BEAR, DIES AT 91 – HE WAS A DAZZLING WIT

The tributes never stop! They poured in for the creator of Paddington Bear Michael Bond who died aged 91. The author passed away at home on Tuesday, July 4, following a short illness. I regard him as one of the finest examples of childrens’ authors around. Bond introduced his famous creation in 1958’s A Bear Called Paddington. He would entertain kids with his bear for more than 20 books. “He will be forever remembered,” his publisher said. – FM.


HEAD COVERING: NED KELLY, IN FULL GEAR, WAITING ON THE REPLY FROM THE POLICE. (SIR SYDNEY NOLAN CENTENARY, AND TO MARK THE 100 YEARS, THIS PRINT OF KELLY IS INCLUDED IN AN EXCLUSIVE COLLECTION OF ICONIC PRINTS. CONTACT: thestore.com.au/nolan

BUSHRANGERS! PART 2. THEY HAD A DEEP-SEATED HATRED OF SQUATTERS

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

Bushranging in Australia can be divided into two fairly distinct periods or phases. The first bushrangers were convicts who escaped from their chains to the comparative, often temporary, freedom of the wilds.

Of these, Matthew Brady and Martin Cash in Van Diemen’s Land and Willian Westwood (“Jacky Jacky) and Bold Jack Donahoe from NSW are best known. Their careers were, with few exceptions, short and tragic.

The second and major phase of bushranging dates from the 1860s when alluvial gold had largely petered out; and gold-diggers, unable to afford the expense of quartz mining, turned to the land for a livelihood.

Under public pressure, the legislature of NSW introduced a Land Act in 1861, with the object of unlocking the lands to small farming. The squatters, holding the best lands as sheep runs, resented this intrusion on their preserves.

They opposed the new “selectors”, the small scale farmers, with every weapon at their disposal. They employed “dummies” to buy up the blocks of land – the “selections – as they were put up for sale.

DIED GAME                                                                                       

Beside their wealth, the squatters had behind them the power of the legislature. They fenced the small selectors in with variety of repressive measures. The police force was of a generally poor calibre and showed little sympathy for

With few exceptions, the bushrangers of this period and up to the time of Ned Kelly’s death in 1880, sprang from this class. While their motives in turning to robbery under arms were varied and considerable, in each instance an underlying hatred of the squatters seems to have been involved.*

Meet Jack Doolan, the legendary “Wild Colonial Boy”, Ben Hall, “Darkie” Gardiner, Johnny Gilbert, Dunn, “Thunderbolt” and later Ned Kelly. Kelly and his mates all became the people’s hero-symbols in the fight against the squatters.

The bushrangers fought fairly and “died game”, it was claimed.

<< Bill Wannan’s The Australian -- Yarn, legends, ballads; Currey, O’Neil Publishers, Melbourne.

Pictures: They knew everything. Fred Lowry (top) and John Gilbert knew what was expected of the bushranger.


HE’S BACK! SPIDER-MAN PITS HIMSELF FOR ANOTHER JOURNEY AGAINST THUGGERY AND EVIL OPPONENTS.

CLASSIC REPEAT: SPIDER-MAN – THE CULT IS STILL GROWING!

“I’m one of his most ardent fans,” said Stan Lee, the creator.

FRANK MORRIS

The Spider-Man cult is growing in leaps and bounds in Australia, so much so that the genial Super Hero’s comic books have become a much sought-after commodity by collectors.

In some comic exchanges around the country early Spider-Man pulp ranges in price from $10 to $15 a copy. Signed copies by the Spider-Man creators would spiral in price.
The ubiquitous Spider-Man is one of a galaxy of comic superstars that has become a ‘blockbuster’ for the America publishing company, Marvel Comics.

Such literary landmarks as the Amazing Spider-Man and The Avengers -- The Hulk, Iron-man, Thor, Captain America and Back Widow – have paved the way to take the Comic Kingdom by storm.

Spider-Man’s creator, Stan Lee, had been toying about a “doing a strip that would break all the conventions – break all the rules.”

In his book on the history of Marvel Comics, Lee writes: “Just for kicks, I wanted to be different.”

PULP MAGAZINE HEROES

“I wanted to create a strip that would actually feature a teenager as the main character who would lose out as often as he’d win.”

In the 1930s, one of America’s favourite pulp magazine heroes was a stalwart named The Spider. Stan Lee, believe it or not, was one of his “most ardent” fans.

Write Lee: “The Spider wore a slouch hat and a finger ring which, when he punched a foe fearlessly, would leave its mark – an impression of a spider.  “It was The Spider’s calling card and it sent goose pimples up and down my ten-year-old spine.”

Although The Spider had no superhuman powers, Lee “was grabbed” by the name.

I BARED MY SOUL

When Lee mentioned the idea of a spider-type character to his chief he was informed that “people didn’t like spiders” and that it was an unlikely name for a hero.

Write Lee: “It was then I bared my soul. I related how my childish heart would madly pound in breathless anticipation new for each new issue of The Spider.

“I zealously explained that The Spider-Man would be a trendsetter, a freak character in tune with the times.”

Lee contended that everybody knew about Superman – so the time had come for “a competitor” to hit the scene.

And that’s where his childhood took over. It had to be Spider-Man, he writes.

And it was.

<< Grand Years ran this article about 6 years ago. This Spider-Man was originally published in 1984. It wasn’t written until after I had read Stan Lee’s book.


 

CARS: FAMILY’S WOULD LOVE THIS ONE -- PLASTIC PONTIAC, THE GHOST

The 1939 Pontiac DeLuxe Six “Ghost Car” was first displayed at the World’s Fair in New York of that year. It was originally built at a cost of $25,000. It was sold recently by RM Auctions for $309,000.

After the World Fair it went on display to dealers around the country spending some time at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.

The car had only 86 miles on the clock at the time of the auction.

HOW MANY WERE BUILT?

It was built by General Motors and Rohm & Hess Chemical Company who developed the Plexi-Glas material in 1937. It has been used by the aircraft industry from that time on. The metalwork was treated in copperplate and chrome plating.

How many of unique 1939 Pontiacs were built in a mystery. But it is believed that one was a later update fitted with the 1940s front sheet-metal. The spare wheel is clearly visible from inside the trunk; and the dashboard is in steel, as are the floor panels.

<< Photographs from the Internet and Special Interests Auto magazine. Article appear in Restored Car, May-June 2017.

Picture: Firmly built. The dashboard is in steel, as are the floor panels.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 13 July 17

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