Anyone know this fella?

Submitted: Friday, Jun 26, 2009 at 18:16
ThreadID: 70183 Views:4220 Replies:5 FollowUps:2
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I don’t know who this bloke is, but it’s good to see more and more people recording their bush experiences on the web. A few modern day kids may benefit from reading the story as well.

Here is what he had to say:

‘The Day I Downed Bruiser Brown

Of all the boys I grew up with in Ivanhoe during the 50’s and 60’s Bruiser Brown featured most in my memories. In fact some of my earliest recollections are of Bruiser and his family at Waiko Station and then of the adventures we had later when we all moved into town.

We were living out at Conoble Station in the late 1950’s where my father was a Jackeroo. When Dad died Mum packed us four kids up into the old black Ford and headed off to Waiko to live with our Grandparents, Snake and Amy Stevens.

They were camped on the edge of the swamp in a big old Caravan and ex army Tent along with Grandfather’s mob of draught horses. He used them to de-silt water tanks and construct table drains for a lot of the local sheep stations, and had been doing this for over 25 years all throughout the back country around Ivanhoe, Hay, Balranald and Wilcania.

The Brown family, Victor and old Mrs. Brown and their seven kids, lived in an old log cabin on the other side of the road. Bruiser was about six and a few years older than me and so he was the big kid, someone I looked up to, especially when he rode the pigs.

I don’t know of any other kids ever riding pigs, but he and his young brother Toddy were experts at it. It wasn’t long before my brother Trevor jumped on and joined in the fun, galloping flat out across the paddock giggling and shouting with the pigs snorting and pig rooting, while keeping a lookout for Colonel Nott the Grazier who owned the property. He probably would have booted us up the backside for messing with his pigs.

I went close to riding them one day. The other boys were off playing in the scrub when I plucked up enough courage to have a go. I snuck up behind this big black pig determined to prove to Bruiser that I could be a good rider just like him. Well just as I was about to leap on it turned around and let out this enormous big snort. Fearing it would eat me I took off and flew up the nearest tree. That was the end of my pig riding days.

The years went by and it was around 1963.The Browns were living in town and Mum had got together with Les Squires and we all moved out to Mannara Mines, 60 miles out on the Mennindee Road.

I spent the first week of the school holidays in town staying with the Browns, hanging around Presso’s Café hoping Iris would shout me a milk shake, or other days just jumping old Obique’s fence with Skinny Man so we could pinch his grapes, swimming in the Government tanks with the Fox, Pup and Honeyman, playing tennis with Steady and Jenny, helping Roo bake bread, buying ice creams on the Silver City Comet with Buggsy Earsman and listening to records with Pat at Nana Smith’s place.

Then when the second week came around it was Bruiser’s turn to come out to our place. Mum had rung the exchange and left a message for us to take the train to Manara and then get on the mail truck which would take us the eight miles into the mine site.

We lived there with four other families, the Huntleys, McKays, Dixons and the Greens, a Pommy family with a big mob of kids. So after packing our bags we excitedly jumped on the Silver City Comet, both eager to get out in the bush to go rabiting, bird nesting and swimming in the lake.

An hour late we pulled into the railway siding at Manara. Not being the busiest of places with its four fettler’s houses, the platform was only about the length of one carriage. Problem was we were seated in the first carriage and by the time we got our ports down and walked back to the middle carriage the train began to take off.

I looked at that big red button which said emergency stop button. Oh no you’re not allowed to press that, I thought, Maybe we could just go on to Mennindee and come back tomorrow.

Luckily for us one of the girls from the buffet walked by and saw that we looked like we wanted to get off, so she stopped the train which by this time was 100m up the track. Pretty soon the guard was lifting us and our ports down off the train and the Comet was quickly on its way again.

We walked back to the siding just as the mail truck disappeared into the distance. All we could see was the dust. “No problem” I said to Bruiser, “it’s only eight mile, let’s walk. We still have five hours before dark.”

Well those suitcases got a bit heavy after a mile of half dragging them along the dusty track, so we hid them under some bushes and kept walking. Being eight years old I got a bit worried as the sun disappeared under the horizon and I was really glad that I had Bruiser with me, he was tough and scared of nuthin.

Mum was a little surprised when we walked in out of the darkness, thinking that we must have ended up getting a lift out from town with Doc Kilday. “No” I said, “we missed the mail truck and walked the whole way, what’s for tea”.

The years went by and we moved to town. It was in 65 and Bruiser had progressed to riding horses and due to his earlier experience with the pigs he was very good at it. One afternoon he was cantering along the main street, saw me and said “Hop on Pom and let’s go for a ride out the road”.

Turned out Cyril Dempsey had a mob of horses out near the cemetery. Bruiser expertly caught a little chestnut for me to ride bareback, made a simple rope bridle and said “On you get , lets go look for wild goats”.

We were having a great time right up until my pony decided to gallop under a tree and I went up at the wrong time and whacked my head on a low hanging branch.

I was seeing stars when me and the horse came to the corner of the paddock. It veered to the left and I kept going, rolling over amongst the burrs. I got up blood pouring out of my wound. Bruiser told me to get on with him so he could take me back to town. “No,” I cried, “I am never getting on a bloody horse again as long as I live”.

“Well I heard about a kid who bled to death the other day after falling off a horse,” he said. “Rightio let me on and take me straight home.” Been wary of horses ever since and I still have that scar on my head.

Bruiser had really matured by then, grown big and strong and him and his mate Percy ruled the town kids. We were in fear of those buggers, step out of line and you got a flogging. Not that it happened often as we just did what we were told.

I was in 6th class and was also starting to fill out a bit. One day at school during play time us boys were having a game of touch footy which mostly ended up being a game of tackle. Whenever the young kids got the ball Bruiser would touch us extra hard so we ended up in the dirt.

Well one day I’d had enough, “that wasn’t a forward pass” I shouted. Bruiser looked at me astounded that I dared to challenge his ruling. As he rushed at me with fist raised, a sudden wave of fear overtook me and I took off for the bubblers running as fast as I could go.

Unfortunately it was not fast enough and as I heard him right behind me I stopped. Even now I still don’t know how I managed it, but I swung around and threw a great big haymaker. Well it connected with his nose and he went down, his knees buckled and he dropped to the ground blood spurting out all over the place.

“ bleep ,” I thought now I am in real trouble. But, to my surprise, Bruiser had had enough and he left me alone from that day onwards. And that was the day I downed Bruiser Brown.

Apparently Jeff and his wife Tiny now live in Broken Hill. I have hardly seen him since I left to go down the inside to attend high school in 1968. You know dusty old Ivanhoe is in my blood and keeps drawing me back.

I must have driven out there a hundred times over the past 40 years to either see family, attend school reunions, footballer’s balls or funerals. I have run into Bruiser a few times and had a quick yarn, but I doubt if he realizes the fond thoughts that I have of growing up with him and his family in Ivanhoe during those memorable times’.



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Reply By: On Patrol & TONI - Friday, Jun 26, 2009 at 21:05

Friday, Jun 26, 2009 at 21:05
Kim that's pure GOLD, It was a fine short story that Australians are just sooo good at. Loved it.

And the little tyke didn't have to worry about getting knifed for standing up for himself as he might do today. A good read, I love that sort of stuff.
AnswerID: 372014

Reply By: Member - Old Girl (QLD) - Saturday, Jun 27, 2009 at 09:49

Saturday, Jun 27, 2009 at 09:49
That was a good read. We stopped at Ivanhoe last year with the rally. I'm a baby compared to you but I do enjoy stories of the way it was. We get into the history of places we visit.
Got any more?

AnswerID: 372058

Follow Up By: Kim and Damn Dog - Saturday, Jun 27, 2009 at 20:19

Saturday, Jun 27, 2009 at 20:19
Gidday Sharon

No more bush stories at this stage, but the mate and I are heading off tomorrow morning.

We might be able to find an old fella in a pub or two who’ll give us a tall story.


FollowupID: 639386

Reply By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Saturday, Jun 27, 2009 at 12:51

Saturday, Jun 27, 2009 at 12:51
That was a good yarn Kim, thanks for sharing it with us
AnswerID: 372076

Reply By: Member Lesley (QLD) - Saturday, Jun 27, 2009 at 16:42

Saturday, Jun 27, 2009 at 16:42
Enjoyed reading that Kim - you come from my era - thanks for posting.
AnswerID: 372095

Reply By: Bob of KAOS - Saturday, Jun 27, 2009 at 22:19

Saturday, Jun 27, 2009 at 22:19
Great story Kim, thanks for that. From the way you introduce it I gather its written by a bloke you don't know. Where is it from?

AnswerID: 372138

Follow Up By: Kim and Damn Dog - Tuesday, Jul 07, 2009 at 19:49

Tuesday, Jul 07, 2009 at 19:49
Gidday Bob

I was looking around for some old bush tales and came accross the story.Try keying in the the name and you might be able to pick it up on the web site.


FollowupID: 640626

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