The Macleay Street Ringer

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The Macleay Street Ringer

Post by ALANM » Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:30 pm

Authors note:
In 1965 I was working on a sheep and cattle station in the Mulwaree region of NSW.
The company who owned the station either had an office in or used an employment agency in
Sydney’s Macleay Street, to recruit workers when no locals would apply for vacancies.
I have a vague notion that I have heard the term “The Macleay Street Ringer” or similar
used somewhere else but can find no references to it on the net, so I feel ok about using the term.

The Macleay Street Ringer
(By Alan McCosker August 2019)

My mind takes me back to a station outback, in the region that’s known as mulwaree
by the river wollondilly, I was just a lad, still sixteen and still a bit clumsy
green as the grass when it came to the land but the boss was kind and mild tempered
he knew my old man, that gave me the edge, over others who were much more suited

But it didn’t take long I was soon up to speed and makin’ a good contribution
ridin’ the horses and musterin’ the stock and completin’ each job I was given
some of the lads were locals like me, who’d spent all their lives in the country
others who came were drifters or drunks, who’d stay for a month then they’d fly

If no-body local could be found for a job, the boss called the office in sydney
they would go out, in macleay street and the first vagrant seen they would employ
then they’d send him down on the train to marulan, the boss would drive in, in the tilly
and fetch him back out to that station outback, to start a new life in the country

Some of them came fully intent, to succeed at this chance they’d been given
all of them were far greener than me, when I first came to work on that station
but after awhile they’d lose their enthuse, the bright lights of sydney would beckon
they’d pack up their kit and jump in the tilly, to be driven right back to marulan

One of these blokes was a new chum of note, quite tall and thin as a stockwhip
he arrived in the tilly, clothes and boots all looked stout, he even had his own bullwhip
that night at supper he related, a great many stories ‘bout life in the outback
we were really impressed, we hardly could wait, to see him in saddle on horseback

Next day after breakfast we all trundled down, to the horse yard and saddled a horse
all but for the new chum who just stood about, his hands in his pockets, quite morose
the boss was a big man but gentle of nature, he rode a big horse called the captain
we saddled up captain and waited for him, to make some phone calls before leavin’

When the boss trundled down to the horse yard he saw, the new chum standin’ there idle
he wandered on over to the new chum and said “ why are you not up in the saddle ”
the new chum then said “ sir, I’m not really sure, of which horse I’m s’posed to be ridin’ “
“ these blokes never said “ now that was a lie, we’d shown him a bay mare called poppin

The boss said to him ” catch that bay mare you see, she’s got a white blaze on her forehead “
“now move right along we’re supposed to be gone, it’s a long ride, way out past the woolshed ”
said he to the boss “ which one is the bay mare, I’m not sure of which one you’re meanin’ “
frustrated the boss pointed and said “ that bloody brown horse over there, now get movin’ ”

New chum took a bridle and charged right on out, like a runaway tram at the bay mare
that spooked the old pony and she trotted away, with the new chum trailing behind her
‘round the yard they both went, in and out of the herd, the dust rose up high and hung over
till the boss yelled out loud “ for pete’s sake slowdown, talk to the horse try to calm her “

New chum then stopped and to the boss said “ what words should I say that will calm her ”
the boss now enraged roared “ask her what time, the next train leaves marulan, you’ll be there”
with the muster called off, we unsaddled our nags and were tasked other jobs to complete
the new chum drove out with the boss in the tilly, to catch the next train to macleay street.

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