Bullock Team. Queensland, Australia ca. 1870sBy Remembering the Past Australia / August 16, 2020 / Australia / 0 Comments
This image is part of the Colonial Office photographic collection held at The National Archives UK.
On the Land. Farm and Station. The “Bullocky”. Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday, 4 June 1910, pg. 9.
The bullock-driver, with his long team and heavy load, is a very harmonious feature in the Australian landscape. The ‘bullocky,” as he is universally called, is certainly an easy-going individual. But while he never appears to be in a hurry, his life is not the lazy one that some people may imagine. Seen on the road, walking with long, slow stride, and looking as if he had no cares at all in the world to worry him, it is not realised what work he has had before and after getting his load on. With the team moving lazily onward, his whip resting obliquely over his shoulder, it does apparently look as if he has nothing to do but to keep up a walking pace with his bullocks. But only apparently; it takes a good man to make his entire team pull together. His eyes have to be ceaselessly on them. This is where a good dog is of great assistance. Commencing at the hindmost off-side bullock, the dog will make a bite at his heel, and then with lightning speed to that of the one in front, following up to the next along the line, and so on. He then wheels back, dodging dextrously in and out between the wheels, with only a bare inch or so to spare from being crushed to death. With lolling tongue he is evidently enjoying the whole proceedings.
The bullocky is sometimes accompanied by a mate, who walks on the offside of the team, keeping the off-side bullocks up to their work He is known as an “off-sider,” a term that is also applied to the shearers’ cook’s assistant. A good dog, though, is as efficacious as an off-sider. He plays no small part, and a good cattle dog is as invaluable to a bullock-driver as a sheepdog is to a drover or a shepherd. The horse when hitched up behind the wagon very often takes It Into his head to pull back-possibly objecting to the slow steps he has to take, which means a broken bridle. To guard against this he is provided with a rope breeching. Here again, the dog plays his part. When first starting the horse will probably not move at once the dog falls behind, and “heels” him on.
Showing a Bullock Team in Queensland, Australia. Original photo published ca. 1870s.
From the collection of:
The National Archives UK Flickr