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The Barkley

Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 5:45 pm
by r.magnay
Connells Lagoon is a small property between Brunette Downs and Alexandria Stations on the Barkley Tablelands, I had travelled out there to to wire up three new houses we were building on a small aboriginal community. Well, an outstation really.
When the builder rang me to say they were ready for me, he said that it would pay to take some sort of bed to keep me up off the ground, there are plenty of snakes out there, and some of them are the serious type, so better not to camp on the ground. I rounded up a camp bed to stick with my other gear and headed off. I knew the camp was a pretty rough affair, a small tin shed open on two sides and nothing else,the toilet was an old cafe chair about 50m away from the camp, it had the seat removed and replaced with a toilet seat, there was nothing around it so you actually sat out in the open to do your was visible from the camp!
When I arrived I wandered into the shed, to my surprise there were two swags still rolled out on the ground, the builders were off at the job site, a couple of hundred metres away so I was quite bemused by that. It is not good practice to leave a swag rolled out during the day unattended at anytime, much less when it is already known that there is a reasonable snake population in the area!
That night I said to the two blokes about the swags, one of them was a pommy bloke, he was the one who said, "nah, snakes are no worries, they won't hurt you."
"OK, what ever you say, but I think I will stick to rolling my swag up every day, and sleeping up off the ground."
I was there for a few days, we saw no snakes while I was there, but a couple of days after I left the pommy bloke had a snake in his swag, it bit him on the arm and luckily for him, the flying doctor happened to be at the homestead at Alexandria, about twenty Km from our camp. When the boys took him in, the flying doctor flew him to Tennant Creek hospital. As it turned out, the snake was either not too deadly or didn't give him a serious bite, he spent a couple of days there and was OK to go.
The snake may not have hurt him too badly, but the $400 bill from the flying doctor certainly gave him some pain!.....That was in the late nineties so $400 was a substantial amount of money!

Re: The Barkley

Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 12:12 am
by thestoryteller
Enjoyed the read Ross.

I recall looking after a mob of cattle at Blythedale near Roma once and had thrown my swag on the ground to have a kip around midday.

After I'd been lying there a while one of the other boys came over and said quietly,
"Don't move Merv and lay still."

I knew what he was on about and asked what sort.

The reply was a brown.

After a few minutes the suspense got to me and decided to make a real quick departure from the swag.

Got away with it but after that I bought a hammock.

Re: The Barkley

Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 8:19 am
by r.magnay
Bugger that Merv, but a hammock wouldn't be much good on the bloody trees!

Re: The Barkley

Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 8:34 am
by thestoryteller
You're right there mate. Probably have to tie it between two horses. Lol.

I remember taking the young fella on an over night camp with the local pony club and we camped the night on a property.

There was a long over hang between the yards and a shearing shed and so I strung the hammock between them.

The kids were told not to put their horses in the particular yard but one of the others.

Sometime mid morning I was woken with a loud commotion and found one of the kid's horses had jumped the fence and was now in the boxed up section of the overhang and the only way out was over the top of me.

I did a lot of whoo now boying and finally was able to get up and catch him.

Phew, thank goodness. I had visions of me and the horse wrapped up in the hammock. :shock:

There were a couple of occasions I was camping in it and dead asleep only to be woken by my frame hitting the ground and once on a sharp stick. Rope broke.

Ahh such is life.