Mermaid Beach to Millmerran

Monday and it’s time to check out of beach weather, surf, and seagulls to head for Millmerran, land of dust, ticks, and kangaroos.

We will travel there today to help out with last minute setups and catch up with cowboys and cowgirls from near and far.

Here’s a quick schedule for the week.

  • Mon-Tues – help where necessary, get measurements for new prop
  • Wed – Pat Garrett match and coaching clinic
  • Thu – Plainsman and side matches
  • Fri – 1st day of main match
  • Sat – 2nd day of main match and shindig
  • Sun – shootout and awards

Will try and keep you posted but phone service is very limited or none.

Have a great week ahead!!

Kat xo

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Excitement Looming

Yes!  We are almost at the end of this stay on the beautiful Mermaid Beach and getting set to head to Millmerran for Chisholm Trail and the Nationals.

Looking forward to catching up with some cowboys and cowgirls, meeting many new ones we haven’t come across also.

If you’ve been shooting this weekend or getting set to, we hope you have a sensational time.  I know there is plenty on what with OK State Champs, NM State Champs, Hellfire and many other great shoots overseas.  Dalby is shooting tomorrow as a last practice before Chisholm and then it’s all on, come Monday.

We had a good practice last weekend with The Gamblers and are ready to go. Will keep everyone posted with posts, pic’s and more this coming week and beyond.

Soon we will head out for the next exciting adventure too!

Stay tuned.

Kat xo

 

Book Review With Kat: The Son

New York Times Bestseller, The Son by author Philipp Meyer.

Based on the McCullough family and it’s heirs in the mid 1800’s to the mid 20th century, The Son ended up being a book I was very taken with.

Recommended and loaned to me by Wild Horse John, I began the intriguing journey Philipp Meyer took me on as I poured through the pages.

It is a story of Indians, frontier survival, early Texas under Spanish rule, Civil Wars, oil magnates, cattle and disjointed families.

The chapters change with family member and time, so during the first quarter of the book I had to keep going back to the family tree to see where I was.

The more I got into it the more I knew and could easily flip between centuries, characters and visual scenery in my head.

I loved the tangled tale of intrigue, misfortune and fortune that went with Eli McCullough and the generations after him.

Thanks John for the recommendation and I would certainly recommend it to any other avid reader or like me, who hasn’t picked up an ‘actual’ book in a long time.

A television series has been made of it starring Pierce Brosnan and although I did catch one episode have not seen others as yet.

Give it a go if you come across it!

Yours in paperback

Kat xo

P.S. just might have to find another good read now. Got any western history, fictional or otherwise, recommendations??

A Day to Play

Jack and I awoke to another spectacular day of sunshine, blue sky and gorgeous Spring weather.

We decided today should be a game of Putt Putt Golf and then in for lunch at Nobbys Beach Surf Club.

I can tell you that in our usual competitive form, when the guy at the centre asked who was going to win; we both had ideas of beating the other.

Off to the Fun Run with a number of mechanical obstacles as well as slots, interesting ridges and slopes.

It proved to be harder than the Waterways course we had done a couple of years earlier.

We ran close but at the end of the day Jack pipped me at the post by just 2 points!

Head then to the Club for our beachside lunch and then made our way back on a usual walking path.

Had a great day, hope yours has been just as spectacular.

Kat xo

Things that make you go

Hmmm

Pink shells washed ashore in morning tides.

Colourful ‘bird of paradise’ on morning strolls.

Where the birds have escaped my photo from sucking nectar from the Grevillea.

Palms against a cloudless sky.

A view to the ocean.

A sand castle that has partially seen a tide, Jack having unnoticed it walking by.

My favourite for the week, jellyfish lost from the sea, stranded on the sand like a shining jewel in the sun.

Ahhh the serenity.

Kat xo

Bushranger’s

As we headed towards Tamworth this morning, I quietly ponder the differences between bushranger's and outlaws and come to the conclusion that our two worlds were very much the same.

Bushranger's such as Charles Goodnight, Thunderbolt, Ben Hall, Ned Kelly roaming the Australian bush committed similar offences to our distant American outlaw cousins.

I was looking at the landscape as we left Gunnedah and wondered what a god forsaken place it would have been back in the mid 1800's. Dirt, scrub, gumtrees and a whole lot of nothing in between.

Settlers would have made their way west of the coast over escarpments such as Gibraltar Range and the Great Dividing Range after explorers had deemed possible good land on the other side.

Stage coaches did run through areas of Australia just as it was the preferred mode of transport in America. Covered wagons? That I don't know but I'm sure there would have been some type of wagon or drays driven by horses or oxen into lands unknown.

Bushranger's here were just as varied as American outlaws, running on their own, in gangs, robbing stage coaches, horse stealing, cattle rustling and more. Was it out of necessity? Boredom maybe or revenge?

Whatever the case may be they kept Troopers on the run looking for them just as the Pinkertons were doing in America. Wanted posters went up and rewards were also offered.

Let's have a quick look at some of our Australian Bushranger's.

Ben Hall – (1837-1865) Hall and his associates carried out raids across Bathurst to Forbes, south to Gundagai and east to Goulburn. He was probably one of the gentler bushranger's of the time as he was not directly responsible for any deaths unlike several of his associates.

 

Ben turned to bush ranging after his wife and son left him. He was said to be a bushranger after being sighted with notorious Frank Christie (alias Gardiner) during a robbery. Later Gardiner, Hall and others robbed the gold escort coach of banknotes and 2700 ounces of gold.

Ben escaped conviction a couple of times and in the meantime lost his property and wandered the countryside drifting into a life of crime.

Ben and his gangs most notable, or one that I care to write about, was the bailing up of Robinson's Hotel in Canowindra, NSW. Where towns folk were kept hostage but given food and entertainment. The policeman was locked in his own jail cell for humiliation and when the hostages were finally released the gang insisted on paying the hotelier and compensating the townspeople 'expenses'.

Ben Hall was shot at Billabong Creek in 1865 supposedly under the protection of the Felons Apprehension Act 1865 which allowed any bushranger specifically named under the Act to be shot and killed by any person at anytime without warning. Although there was still controversy over Hall's death that the Act had not yet come into force.

Andrew George Scott 'Captain Moonlite' – (1842-1880) an Irish-born Australian bushranger. He was accused of disguising himself and forcing a bank agent he had befriended to open the bank safe. The agent described being robbed by a fantastic black-crepe masked figure who forced him to sign a note absolving him of any role in the crime.

 

The bank agent said it sounded like Scott but no gold was found in his possession. Moonlite managed to turn it around onto the agent and a local school teacher who became the principal suspects in the minds of police.

Moonlite stayed elusive for a while buying horses, a groom and maintaining a gentleman's life. He was eventually convicted for obtaining money by false pretences. After serving two sentences for that he was arrested for robbing the Egerton Bank and sent to Ballarat.

He succeeded in escaping gaol by cutting a hole through the wall of his cell. With another prisoner they seized the warden, gagged him, got his keys and let out four others before escaping over the prison wall. He was recaptured and after 8 days of self representation he was finally convicted and sentenced to 10 years hard labour of which he only served two thirds the sentence.

Frank Wordsworth 'Captain Thunderbolt' Ward – (1835-1870) renowned for escaping from Cockatoo Island and for his reputation as the “gentleman bushranger”. He is said to be the longest roaming bushranger in Australian history.

 

Thunderbolt robbed the Rutherford toll-bar in 1863. Robbed mailmen, travellers, inns, stores and stations across Northern NSW and some parts of QLD. With 3 others, he then went on a crime spree in 1865 but that was soon disbanded after one was shot and captured near Moree.

Later the same year he got together with two other felons but the second gang also disbanded after one of them shot a policeman.

His next gang he only had younger accomplices that would do as he said. After one of them left, Thunderbolt stayed hidden, surfacing to do the occasional robberies. There is a cave named after him in the region he hid out near Uralla. He was shot and killed by a Constable Walker.

Edward 'Ned' Kelly – (1855-1880) of Irish descent, a bushranger, outlaw, gang leader and convicted police murderer. One of the last bushranger's and by far the most famous. Ned wore bulletproof armour during his final shootout with troopers in Victoria.

 

Ned came from a poor family whose father had died when Ned was only 12. Third of 8 children, eldest male in the family. The family had gripes with authority. Ned was first arrested for associating with another bushranger Harry Power (Ned's bush ranging mentor) and served two prison terms for various offences, the longest being for receiving a stolen horse.

The Victorian Government proclaimed Ned, his brother Dan, Steve Hart and Joe Byrne to be outlaws after shooting three policemen dead. An act of revenge for the imprisonment of Ned's mother.

The Kelly gang crime spree included armed bank robberies, killing a sympathiser turned informer and stealing. The final showdown in 1880 after a failed attempt at derailing a police train, the gang dressed in armour had a gun battle with police. Ned injured was the only one of the gang left and was eventually tried, convicted and sentenced to hanging.

 

Ned Kelly is now a cultural icon in Australian folklore.

 

Bushrangers were those who had abandoned social rights and privileges, taking up 'robbery under arms' as a way of life. All in all, there were some 2000 bushranger's who had thrived during the gold rush years and indeed for almost a full century.

Now we are out of the ranges, trees and rocky outcrops back on the coast and my mind wanders to other things.

So in the final words of Ned Kelly, a famous saying now – “such is life”

Kat xo

Aka 'Ned' Kelli

Credits:

Kathouse Kelli – my wandering mind and random thoughts

Wikipaedia – Ben Hall, Captain Moonlite, Captain Thunderbolt, Ned Kelly, Harry Power, Bushranger's

 

Buffalo Camp 2018

We left the girlies Friday morning and headed West towards Gunnedah, NSW. We wound our way through some small and historic towns.

Singleton – established 1820's by John Howe. The Main Northern Railway line reached Singleton in 1863 and remained the end of the line until 1869. It still has a number of historic buildings including the court house (1841), churches and pubs with some rural mansions dated between 1828-1877.

Muswellbrook – est. 1833 or gazetted. It was explored by John Howe also in 1819 with the first white settlement in 1820's. It too, had a number of heritage listed buildings.

Aberdeen – just north of Muswellbrook, it lies between there and Murrurundi. Aberdeen is named after the Scotland Aberdeen. It's first post office opened on 1st August, 1856. First police station 1862. First school 1864 and by 1866 it also had two churches, 3 inns, a few shops and a steam driven mill.

Scone – 'Horse Capital of Australia', Scone was named in1831 after Scone, Perth and Kinross, Scotland by Jason Kent Toth. It was gazetted in 1837. The Scone Cup is one of the richest country racing days in New South Wales and Australia.

Blandford – a small village outside of Scone had an 1872 railway station (no trace remains) and horse farms such as Aquis Farm and Emirates Park reside here.

Murrurundi – est 1840 after European settlement began in 1820's. Thomas Haydon, a local landowner established his own township called Haydonton adjacent to this and in 1913 the two merged to be Murrurundi that it is today. It is said to be an aboriginal word meaning “nestling in the valley”. According to Wikipaedia it it in fact means “five fingers” a representation of the rock formation visible at the northern end of the town.

Ben Hall – The infamous bushranger's father Benjamin Hall had a small farm near Murrurundi in 1839. Ben Hall lived in Murrurundi until he was 13.

Quirindi – early spellings 'Cuerindi' and 'Kuwherindi' was gazetted in 1884 with its Post Office opening January 1st 1858.

Breeza – Ben Hall Senior worked on a station here at one time. Another bushranger Frederick Ward, known as Thunderbolt, robbed a man here in 1865.

And finally we reach Gunnedah – Koala Capital of the World – a farming region for cotton, beef, lamb, pork, coal, cereal and oilseed grains. It is home to Australia's largest annual agricultural field day which coincidently just finished this last week on Thursday. Gunnedah was settled by European sheep farmers in 1833-34. Coal was discovered on Black Jack Hill in 1877 and by 1891, 6000 tons of coal had been raised.

So after our brief township history lesson we are ready for this weekends match!

Namoi Pistol Club hosted this year's Buff Camp. Buffalo Camp is a Pat Garrett match that utilises all cowboy guns as well as a large lever action or single shot calibre in the mix.

Each stage had 6 rounds of large cal ammo, 10 rounds rifle, 10 rounds pistol and 2+ shotgun. Ten stages of fun with side matches held on the Friday.

We arrived Friday to warm weather and played with other cowboys and cowgirls doing some side matches before going to check into the motel. The precision pistol and both rifles was a bit of fun with an extremely small buffalo target wayyyyy out there!

 

It is so so dry out here due to the drought and of course the match is on and the area is expecting rain. However, the rain stayed away with just a cool start to Saturday morning. Six stages were completed by mid afternoon and some have faired a little better than others in the fun that was.

 

Saturday night we had some very good showers in town and guessed they had same at the range. They had some steady showers which had definitely settled the dust!

Sunday morning it was cool but few clouds around made it warm quickly. With 4 stages left to do the clouds moved in near lunch time and a few drops started just as the other 2 posse's were finishing their final stage.

 

Fortunately with everyone squared away the rain hit hard with thunder and some hail! It soon cleared again and with everyone under cover (just in case another round comes) the awards got underway.

Jack won the Speed Rifle and I was 2nd, although Jack thought it was the other way around. Congrats man! He placed 2nd in Silver Senior and I was 1st in Lady Wrangler.

 

Congratulations to all 62 competitors – there were no 'clean' matches!

Congratulations to Drop Bear in 1st place overall and I came in 5th overall and 1st lady.

 

Thank you again to all the members of Namoi Pistol Club, the ladies who worked the lunches, morning teas, scoring and to the Match Directors.

We had a blast!

Kat xo