Congratulations Phil Bianchi

Last night I had the pleasure of attending Phil's book launch of his mammoth volume 'Work Completed Canning'. The launch was well attended, (including Canning's Great Grandson), extremely entertaining, and it was great to catch up with mutual friends and acquaintances and also put faces to names of others.

I counted at least half a dozen or so EO members present.

Congratulations Phil truly a great feet of researching endeavour.

Cheers

Dunc



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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 16:50

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 16:50
Hear hear!!!!
I look forward to getting a copy of Phil's book.

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Follow Up By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 20:41

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 20:41
Hi John it's a pretty impressive book and damned heavy as well. It will keep you in reading material for some time I'd wager?

Cheers

Dunc
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Follow Up By: equinox - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 21:23

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 21:23
Your just buying it John because you're mentioned in it :-)

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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 21:28

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 21:28
Ummmm!!!! How did I rate a mention??
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Follow Up By: equinox - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 21:31

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 21:31
Page xxIII, you and Mick O, haven't you got it yet?




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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 21:36

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 21:36
No because you haven't sent me my personally autographed copy as your Xmas present to me as yet :)

Does Mick know about this??

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Reply By: Ron N - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 19:54

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 19:54
Duncan, that sounds like a good read. Another item to add to my list of Christmas presents!

Can I put my hand up here for a tiny claim to fame regarding a personal link to the CSR?

My Dad worked on Doolgunna Station (approx. 120kms North of Meekatharra) from 1930 to 1934, for a bloke named Jim Howard who was the owner of Doolgunna at that time.
Jim Howard was a terrific bloke, and employed Dad during the Depression, when work was non-existent.

When Dad turned up looking for work, Jim said he had work for him, but he had no money, as the Depression was really biting.
He told Dad he'd supply board and lodgings for him, without pay - but if and when things came good again, he would pay Dad up for all his back pay that was owing.

Dad had walked from Perth in late 1929 and the early part of 1930, looking for work (as a single man) and only found one job that lasted him a few weeks (in Carnarvon, operating the Blackstone engine that pumped water for the town water supply) - until a married bloke with 7 kids turned up, and took his job.
He'd arrived in Perth from Victoria, to try his luck, in October 1929 - just as the Depression struck!

He decided he had little choice but to take up Jim's generous offer, so he commenced work on Doolgunna and stayed in employment with Jim until 1934.
Dad worked around the Murchison on many other stations, as well as Doolgunna, while he was employed by Jim, because it appears that many station employees were often "lent" or hired out to various other stations, at various times - possibly due to staff shortages on other stations.

At the end of 1934, Jim had recovered from the Depression with good wool prices and good wool yields - and he was true to his word, and paid Dad up in full for his 4 yrs of unpaid work.
Dad never forgot Jims assistance in what was a terrible time for Dad, and they became lifelong friends. I can still remember Jim calling on us with a social visit in the mid 1950's, when he was quite an old man, and Dad was very pleased to see him.

When Dad got paid up, he decided to take on a water-boring agreement with the W.A. Boring Co.
This would be known as a franchise today - but the word wasn't invented back then!

Dad got supplied with a trailer-mounted, Southern Cross-engined, percussion boring plant by W.A.B.C.O, and he did contract water boring and windmill installation from the far North of the Murchison right down as far as Kalannie.

Now, Dad didn't have any other equipment, and he certainly didn't have enough money to buy a truck to pull the boring plant - but he did know about, and could handle - camels!

As a result, he acquired 4 camels and used them to pull his plant around while he was with W.A.B.C.O.
I believe he was probably one of the last camel-team owners in the Murchison in that era.
Trucking was already big business in the Murchison, and Kingsford-Smith's Gascoyne Transport was taken over by Westralian Farmers less than a year after Dad left Doolgunna. The onslaught of Gascoyne Transport trucks virtually wiped out any remaining camel teams.

One of the camels Dad acquired was a big black bull camel that had belonged to an Afghan in Meekatharra. The Afghan had been badly abusing the camel, beating it constantly - until one day, the camel just turned around and bit the top off the Afghans head, killing him instantly.
As a result, no-one wanted the camel, they all reckoned it was a "killer" camel. But Dad said it was one of the best and hardest-working camels he ever had, and it never gave him an ounce of bother.

Now comes the CSR link. As part of his water-boring setup, Dad had bought a dray off Jimmy Howard.
This dray was actually one of Charles Cannings drays that had been used in the construction of the CSR!

Jim confirmed it was one of Cannings drays, and Dad often remarked to us what excellent condition it was in, for its age (over 25 yrs old when he acquired it).
This dray was used to haul water in a 200 gallon tank for the boring plant - and it was also used to collect stores and carry his stores and equipment whenever he moved from job to job.

I called into Doolgunna in my Hilux in 1988, on my way back to Kalgoorlie from Marble Bar, and made myself known to the current owners at that time (their name escapes me) - and they promptly produced the station records - and in that record book, for 1934, was the clear and legible transaction where Dad had bought the dray!

Here's a couple of photos of the dray, taken when Dad was water boring.
I have no idea what happened to the dray. Dad left the Murchison and the W.A.B.C.O. in late 1937 and went back to Perth to work, because he was sick of the loneliness and dangerousness of his lifestyle.
Working alone for weeks at a time in the Outback with no communication was exceptionally risky.
I don't know what happened to his camels either - he probably turned them loose, as everyone else did, because they were worth virtually nothing by the late 1930's.




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Follow Up By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 20:43

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 20:43
Interesting story Ron. I bet Phil would love to hear any stories similar to what you've just described.

Cheers

Dunc
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 20:28

Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 20:28
Thanks a good read, Ron.

You ought to turn it into a blog, before it disappears into the depths of the archives.

Bob.
Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: Phil B (WA) - Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 21:52

Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 21:52
Ron
I agree with Bob - a blog is most fitting for this story

cheers

There is a lot of difference between
‘Human Being’ and ‘Being Human’.





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Reply By: Phil B (WA) - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 21:25

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 21:25
Hi Duncan,

It was indeed a great night and an opportunity to catch up with various people. Thanks for posting.

Some of the photos have been made available. Below find a real motley crew of EOites.
L to R Equinox, John Baas and the little bloke on the right is yours truly.

It wasn't only Alan that got a ribbing about a suit - I copped fair share with where's you shorts and blue hat?




Last night was I believe a fitting tribute to AW Canning - an unsung hero.

cheers to all
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Follow Up By: Mick O - Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 00:53

Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 00:53
Holy bleep Bwana, I'm trying to reconcile the man in the suit above with the man I know below!!



and Phil, just so you don't feel so bad....



The worst part is there is absolutely no paralex error with this shot!

;-)


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Follow Up By: equinox - Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 05:08

Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 05:08
You can throw out your bloody hooks all at once if you want, You'll have no bites from this man.

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Follow Up By: Mick O - Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 09:41

Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 09:41
he he. I can only suck it in so far Al lol. You do look good in a suit though Al. You are setting such a high standard that we may have to refine the dress code for after 4pm campfire attire ;-)

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Follow Up By: Phil B (WA) - Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 09:49

Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 09:49
Watch what you say Mick
'we may have to refine the dress code for after 4pm campfire attire'

He might come out with a
'I say Osborne old chap - a gin and tonic and some cucumber sandwiches please'

LOL.

cheers to all
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Follow Up By: Mick O - Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 20:18

Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 20:18
I always thought you traveled with a man-servant Phil Isn't that what Morts is for? I don't leave home without the Dingo. Someones got to press and lay out tomorrows attire.

;-)
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Reply By: Phil B (WA) - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 21:28

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 21:28
Hi Ron

Thanks for your info - interesting stuff. I wasn't aware of it before and will add it to my files if you don't mind.


cheers
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 22:09

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 22:09
Phil - No problem. I must say I'm sorry I never got any of Dads stories from his time in the Murchison down on tape or in written form, which is a shame.
I was too busy working to bother with recording history, as I know now, I should have done. Dad died in 1988 at the age of 81 a few months after a particularly virulent melanoma attack was diagnosed.

He regaled us with many stories of his Murchison days, enough to fill a book. He worked with fencing parties as well as droving parties, built and maintained many windmills and watering points, and nearly lost his life on a number of occasions.

He was stranded in cyclonic floods on the Gascoyne floodplain at Three Rivers Station, with 2 others, for 3 weeks during early 1934. The team had gone out with camels and a dray on water point maintenance, when it started to rain heavily, and it rained solidly for 3 days. The Gascoyne rose to form a massive lake around them that was as high as the fenceposts.

They retreated to a nearby windmill and built a platform in the windmill about 10' (3M) off the ground. They were stuck there for 3 weeks until the water subsided enough for them to walk out. The camels with them, all died. Luckily they had enough supplies for the 3 weeks - and they sure weren't short of water!

Another time, Dad got lost out the back of Doolgunna when he was in a fencing party. On his way back to camp he took a wrong turn. As a "greenhorn" he walked for several hours after dark, until he saw a glow in the lower part of the sky. At first he thought it was a star - then he realised it was a beacon fire.

The old bloke in charge of the fencing party, one Bill Bandy, who was 70 yrs old at that time, had climbed a huge tree, dragging limbs with him, and built a platform with the limbs 6 or 7 metres off the ground and set it on fire. The beacon guided Dad back to camp and saved his life.

One of the interesting things Dad told us was how Lake Nabberu was chock-a-block full of water while he was on Doolgunna, and it was a real place of respite from the heat.
The lake must have filled during the early 1930's when a number of heavy rainfall periods were recorded in the area.

Dad also spoke of a group of them nearly losing their lives one night when they camped in a river bed, when they were moving between stations. They were travelling in a Station-owned Dodge tourer, and they threw their swags down on the nice comfortable creek sand.

They were woken during the night by one of the party who had spotted lightning well inland, and he insisted they move out of the creek. No sooner had they moved, than a wall of water about 4 feet (1.2M) high came rolling down the creek! By morning, the creek was running a "banker"!

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Phil B (WA) - Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 05:19

Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 05:19
Hi Ron

I've now come up for air after the launch etc and re-read the wonderful story about your dad and realised you haven't mentioned his name. Would you mind providing it? You can email me on
pelbianchi@gmail.com
if you prefer

cheers

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Reply By: equinox - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 21:40

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 21:40
Good to meet you finally last night Dunc.
It was a terrific night, and it is to Phil's enormous credit that he not only was able to write a thoroughly detailed book on the subject that he obviously loves (and has probably had enough of), but he was able to pull together a crowd of maybe 160 people from all walks of life, who shared a common interest.

Awesome work Phil, will take me a few long nights to read it :-)



Cheers
Alan

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