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Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:38 pm
by Maureen K Clifford
This is a true story and still makes me laugh :lol:

BLACKFELLA MAGIC ... Maureen Clifford ©

Back in the days when I was out on the property I remember going out one weekend with a couple of mates of my ex’s to cut down sapling for didgeridoo blanks.

The criteria were pretty straightforward. Ideally they were straight, hollow and about the thickness somewhere between the circumference of a blokes arm or leg – that gave you a fair amount of leeway. The theory was that you looked for trees with termite nests at the base or close nearby, that way the termites would have done the job of hollowing out the tree for you. We were assured that these made the best didges.
The next thing was cutting them down, trimming off the surplus branches and foliage and then lugging them back to the truck. We were looking for about 200 blanks so it wasn’t a five minute job.

Luckily our second property out the back of Inglewood was pretty heavily timbered with cypress most of which grew up on top of shaley ridges or down in the gullies. None of it was easily accessible, and you were traversing traprock country which is never easy going..

We broke up in two teams of two – drove as far as we could and then started walking carrying the chainsaw, spare chains, fuel, drinks, tucker and a few other bits and bobs in a haversack. It was hot and dirty work, the scrub was thick, there were wild pigs around and snakes. We’d left the dogs behind, chained up outside the donga in the shade – hoping against hope that no stupid goanna would get it in his head to stroll past and create mayhem and madness.

My ex was a skilled bushman and knew exactly where trees fitting the description were, so we were soon busy stockpiling a nice, neatly sized stack of suitable blanks. We could hear the other blokes saw buzzing away somewhere over the other side of the dam so it seemed they too were onto a good patch of timber.

The only problem that we noticed was that despite having ticked all the boxes a lot of the trees we were cutting weren’t actually hollow. Oh they may have been hollow for a foot or so but that was it. We were tapping up and down the trunk to ascertain how good they were, but it seems we were failing miserably. Not to worry though – the rejects would go onto the wood heap so wouldn’t be wasted.
By about 2pm we were over it and decided to start dragging them out to the track where we could then drive the truck and pick them up – that took another couple of hours and daylight was starting to wane and there was a distinct chill in the air. You cut these in the winter months when the sap has stopped rising as it makes them easier to de-bark. That was day two’s job.

Cut to the chase – back at the campsite enjoying a beer, the camp oven simmering away with a huge piece of corned beef in it that we had put on the coals before we left. There’s a damper ready to go on, carrots and onions ready to toss in with the beef and the spuds are in the coals wrapped up in alfoil looking like space eggs. The makings of a parsley and white sauce are in the billy ready to go. All’s good. The forty gallon drum of water is hot enough for bush showers and the three dogs are all chowing down on some nice meaty roo tail.
We’re sitting around the fire yakking and the subject comes up as to how come all the blanks our mates bought back are hollow, and only about half of ours are.

Steve looks at my ex and winks – a huge smile on his black dial and he says ‘‘Blackfella magic.’’ Well OK – I get that – but we’re not particularly stupid so there has to be more to it than that. Being as ever curious I had to ask. ‘Oh come on what’s the secret. How could you tell?’ “Like I said Mate, Blackfella magic’ he replied and with that reached down into his haversack and pulled out a cordless drill. “Works every time” he said, cracking a cheeky grin.


Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:15 pm
by Neville Briggs
it's called technology. :lol: :lol:


Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 2:57 pm
by Shelley
Good yarn Maureen! A bit like that scene in Croc Dundee where Mick checks Wally's watch before accurately identifying the time "by the sun".


Posted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 3:08 pm
by Maureen K Clifford
Technology indeed Neville and pretty smart. :roll:

I remember that scene well Shelley - it was so funny :lol: