Monday, June 8, 2009


The coloring of this portrait of Don and me is simplistic:

That's because the tints were applied manually by me, when I was about eleven, during a period when I liked to fiddle around with photos.

During our childhood at Waterview, South Grafton, Don and I used to listen to country music performed by a fellow named Buddy Williams, who had got around to incorporating a variant of Swiss yodeling into his songs. Today, these songs strike us as rather corny, but we loved to listen to them constantly on our archaic gramophone with a wind-up spring. I've found a few YouTube samples of Buddy Williams songs that Don himself used to imitate, accompanied by his steel-stringed guitar.

Where the White-Faced Cattle Roam

Music in My Pony's Feet

Riding Home at Sundown

Here's an old photo of the cattle saleyards at South Grafton where Don once worked as an auctioneer:

On a nearby corner, in Ryan Street, there was a well-known pub: the Royal Hotel. Bruce Hudson reminded me that, one day, as a prank, a stockman had ridden a horse up the staircase, onto the first floor, and the publican found it impossible to persuade the animal to go back down again. (I can imagine my donkey in such a situation.) Finally, the only way of getting the horse back to ground level consisted of blindfolding it and dragging the poor animal down the stairs. As for the rumor that the stockman in question might have been my brother, I have no idea whatsoever...

I remember Don talking to me about the harsh cattle track along the Diamantina River, north of Birdsville, as if it were an awesome roadway to Paradise. This magnificent ballad by John Williamson is a subtle musical tribute to my brother's memory:

In the following photo showing Don at Wave Hill, the fellow in the white shirt is his friend Sabu Singh, born of Chinese and Aboriginal parents, who went on to become the manager of a large cattle station:

Click the above image to obtain the original scanned photo.

In the next photo, in black-and-white, Don is standing alongside a desolate Outback homestead:

Click the above image to obtain the original scanned photo.

In the following photo, Don is standing alongside his horse:

Click the above image to obtain the original scanned photo.

Finally, here's a photo of Don and our mother at South Grafton:

Click the above image to obtain the original scanned photo.


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  2. Looking at photos while listening to "music in my pony's feet"... Wonderful remembrance of days gone by!

  3. Catherine: I know what you mean. Buddy Williams created the basic nostalgic cowboy music for Don, me and our family. Today, I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I recall every word of his Orphan's Lament:

    All alone in the busy city
    On a deep and dark winter's night...