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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:12 pm

'The Drover' - Page 108:

tomorrow would be the jewel in the crown of success and hopefully everything would work.
After an hour’s break Les saddled his horse and rode out to relieve Claire and the others so they could return to the camp for lunch.
‘How’s everything going?’ Harry asked his daughter when she rode into camp.
‘It’s better than doing school work Dad – I love riding Dusty and droving,’ she informed her father, ‘it’s the best job in the whole wide world.’ Claire’s face flashed with pride.
Harry was proud of his daughter and the other children who helped. They didn’t worry about aboriginal ancestors in the range. It could have been an old wives tale as far as they were concerned, but one thing was for certain, he could depend on his daughter and the others.
By late afternoon Les reached the plateau on top of the range. One by one the cattle followed and settled on the sweet grasses spread across the top. When the last of the cattle settled, Greg set up camp and boiled the billy.
From the top of the plateau Harry and Les stood looking west. In the distance flowed the Wilson River winding its way down from the north.
‘Tomorrow we’ll be down there Les.’ Harry pointed in the direction of the river. He saw a reflection of glass flicking from the bank of the river and looked closer to see it was Rose with the truck. He felt relaxed knowing she’d arrived.
‘The track down is a little dangerous. When I rode the trail yesterday - the edge is safe, but if the cattle don’t keep moving, the fall is straight over the edge. How do you want to do it?’ Harry asked Les.
‘Same as today – I’ll take the lead. I’ll take it slow and easy. Hopefully they don’t rush because that’s when we can have trouble. I’m sure after today – we’ll make it.’ Les admitted to Harry.

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:07 am

'The Drover' - Page 109:

Each took turns with the Nighthorse – soothing the resting cattle with their low country style singing.
Before the sun had time to rise above the broken sky all hands were on deck. Each had had their breakfast of a mug of tea and Johnny cakes.
Les took the lead and started the steep decent down the range.
It was dangerous at first because Les needed to be certain the cattle walked slow – one behind the other – and important not rush. If anything disturbed them there would be a catastrophe and there is nothing worse for a drover when cattle rush and in this case force one another over the edge to their death.
‘Easy does it,’ Les muttered when he let his horse guide himself down the side of the mountain. The ledge was wide enough for six cattle to walk along. A distance of about a quarter of a mile and they would be home and hose.
Whilst Les walked his horse at a steady pace the cattle followed in single file; the others kept a distance in the rear. Cattle are like sheep, if you have a leader than the others follow.
Harry and the others were at the rear end of the mob, he saw Les walking his horse making his way down the steep incline; a lump formed in his throat, if I didn’t have Les, I wouldn’t have taken the chance with going this way, the thought past through his mind.
With steady going Les finally reached the base of the range. It was open plain and he let the cattle walk at their own leisure waiting for the remainder to follow. Les felt a smile spring across his face, took a deep breath, he said to himself, ‘we made it – Harry was right - we did it.’ He felt like punching the air he felt great about the achievement.
By the time the remainder of the cattle stretched out across the plain, Harry galloped around to Les and said, ‘good on ya mate – I knew you could do it.’

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:33 pm

'The Drover' - Page 110:

‘We were lucky. You haven’t got any other bright ideas like this one, have you?’ He replied to Harry.
‘Not at this time. This was the toughest part and thank goodness you were with me. I couldn’t have done it without you.’
It was time for a rest to allow the cattle to graze and eat. They had another five miles to go before they reached the Wilson River.
‘Greg, could you ride onto the river; take five horses. Tell those other fellows everything is okay to help us take the mob to the river and tell them to bring back the dogs.’ Harry said.
Greg acknowledged the message from his uncle. He cut out five horses from the mob and with the packhorse drove them the five miles to the river where his aunt Rose had made camp. She was delighted to see him to know all the children was safe.
After the ringers saddled their horses they returned to where the cattle rested.
‘I want you lot to take fifty at a time to water’, Harry instructed his ringers, ‘cut out fifty and drove them to the water steady. After they’ve drank enough water let them graze on the plain and come back for another fifty. We’ll take the final fifty when we return to the camp.’
‘Okay Boss’, the spokesman replied and galloped off to fulfil his task.
Late that afternoon Harry and the others drove the final fifty head to the water. After the cattle drank sufficient water they joined their mates to camp down for the night.
Rose was pleased to see Harry but more pleased to see Claire and the other children, ‘how did you go with your Dad?’ She asked Claire when she rode into the camp.
‘It was wonderful – this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.’ Claire shouted with joy in her voice.

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:02 pm

'The Drover' - Page 111:

‘Let your horse go and have some dinner, I’ve cooked a roast dinner with pudden. I thought you’d be hungry after two days on the road.’
Claire unsaddled Dusty and let him go with the others. She returned to the camp and after eating her fill retired to bed. She was blissfully tired. Before going to bed she hand washed her body with a soapy sponge to clean the red dirt from her skin. It was too late for a bath in the river.

Days went into weeks and they followed the Wilson River to head toward the miniature town of Noccundra, the nearest pub for more than one hundred and twenty miles.
‘What about letting the boys and I go into the pub for a quiet beer?’ Les asked Harry when they camped down the cattle.
‘I don’t know Les. You know the rules, I don’t like drink in the camp.’ Harry remarked. It was like a red rag to a bull with liquor in the camp. Men get drunk and the next thing is they leave and there’s no one to finish the drive.
‘Yeah, well I thought one drink wouldn’t be too bad.’ Les said.
‘Sorry mate – you know as well as I do what’d happen if I allowed the men to have one drink. You know yourself, it wouldn’t only be one and the taste never leaves. We’ve got a lot of miles to go and we’ve only started.’ Harry confirmed to Les almost pleading for justice to keep away from the grog.
‘Okay – you’re right. I couldn’t stop at one and I know these other fellows wouldn’t stop.’ Les admonished.
Harry was pleased Les decided not to visit the hotel. Although it was the only hotel for miles, it was built in 1882 and still going strong.
Before daybreak the next morning the cattle were ready to move off camp. It was time to leave the winding Wilson River and head west toward Durham Downs cattle station.

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:11 pm

'The Drover' - Page 112:

Apart from Bulloo Downs, Durham Downs was the next largest property in the south west corner of Queensland.
‘I’ll be gone most of the day.’ Harry told Rose, ‘I’ll ride over to Durham Downs homestead and tell the owner I’m moving cattle through his property. After we’ve got through this place, it’ll take a couple of days; we’ll head for the Thompson River.’
As the sun set on the horizon Harry returned to camp. Les and the others had moved the cattle ten mile toward Durham Downs property and camped on the boundary fence. They used the corner of the boundary fence as a brake. Tonight would be easier to hold the cattle together.
‘Everything’s right to go through Durham, I spoke with the manager and he didn’t think it necessary to send one of his workers. I think he trusts me.’ He told Rose and Les.
‘We’re getting short on meat, Harry – you might have to kill.’ Rose told Harry.
‘Okay Les, let’s cut one out and butcher it.’ Harry commanded.
Les took the .22 calibre rifle whilst Harry rode in amongst the mob to select a killer. The cattle had retained their weight and didn’t look too bad, Harry thought. He selected a smaller size beast, ‘here Les, this one over here.’ Harry pointed to the beast he wanted Les to kill.
Les walked up to the beast; pointed the barrel of the rifle to the forehead of the beast and pulled the trigger. A slight muffled sound was heard but not enough to frighten the cattle. The beast instantly fell to the ground. Les put the rifle aside; drew a butcher knife from its holder. With precision he stuck the knife into the lower throat of the animal and plunged the blade into the heart of the animal. Blood oozed from the wound of the beast.
After the beast bled out, Harry threw a rope to Les who fastened it around the hind leg of the beast. Harry dragged the beast closer to the camp from the top of his horse. It was now dark and a bright moon shone to brighten the night.

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:11 pm

'The Drover' - Page 113:

Harry and Les went to work on skinning the animal, first laying it on one side and paring the skin away from the meat. After they finished one side, they rolled the beast over and began to do the same on the other side.
By the time most of the hide was separated from the beast they spread the hide to prevent any dirt from soiling the fresh meat. The beast was now positioned on its back with four legs pointing toward the sky. Harry opened the brisket with his knife and chopped through the hard chest bone with an axe. He opened the chest and sliced along the stomach to remove the heart, liver, kidneys and sweetbread. Sweetbread is a soft portion at the bottom of the stomach and when cooked tastes like chicken.
Cuts were made from the favourite portions of the animal, meat cut away from the rib cage; the bones of the rib cage chopped away with an axe to remove from the animal. The rib cage was taken in sections to Rose who instantly threw them onto the fire. At every killing there was no better dish to serve to the workers after a kill than having rib bones cooked on the coals.
The tender meat pealed away from each cooked rib bone and tasted like nothing else on earth. After the rib bones cooked on the coals of the fire; fat from the cooked rib bone dripped down the side of the mouth when chewing the meat away from the bone. It was the best feed ever.
When all of the cuts of meat were finished Rose salted them by rubbing course salt into the meat to save it from going rotten. There were no refrigeration facilities on the road. It was packed into hessian bags for storage. Salt was added to keep the meat from going rotten. After the meat was cut into various pieces; the hide was stretched to dry over night.
Early next day Harry used his pocket knife to slice the hide into one long piece of leather. He began to cut from the centre of the hide and continued in a circle. By the time he reached the end of the hide he had sufficient leather to either

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:04 pm

Thank you Nevis: Here is the page for today: 'The Drover' - Page 114:

plait a whip or make a rope. It depended on time available during the day how much he worked on either making a rope or a whip.
This time he decided to make a rope. After attaching one end of the ride to a tree he stretched it to its length. Using a forked piece of wood he fastened to one end of the rawhide and started a twisting action. After each twist of the hide; he stretched it until the whole rawhide was made into the length of a rope.
Tying a weight on one end of the rope he mounted his horse and dragged the rope along in soft dirt to remove the hair from the rawhide. After which he rolled the rope into a coil and fastened it to his saddle. Whilst riding behind the mob he spliced one end of the rope and trimmed the excess of hide with his pocket knife. With the opposite end he folded a flap to make a running noose into a lasso.

Chapter 14

Harry rode the black stallion he’d captured at Mount Alfred. Falcon, coloured black suited the name of the stallion, athletic and a joy to ride. It is a good sign for a drover when his horse ambled along, a bit like slow pacing, giving the rider a comfortable ride in the saddle and the strength to go long distances. Harry was overjoyed with Falcon for when his horse was right, everything else was right. No other person was allowed to ride Falcon only Harry.
Harry left Durham Downs and followed the Thompson River west heading toward Eulbertie Station, about a fortnight’s journey. By following the river there was sufficient grass and water.
It was time for a bathe. Time on the road with a lack of water often provided the drover with many days of non-bathing, especially the children.

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:15 pm

'The Drover' - Page 115:

One afternoon after the cattle were bedded down Harry called to the children, ‘what about you kids have a bathe.’
‘Do we have to?’ Claire sang in her childish voice.
‘Yes – you have to; all of you have to. There in the river and don’t forget to take some soap and wash behind your ears.’ Harry answered.
All of the children except the twins and Annie stripped naked and dived into the water instantly splashing and playing. The brown coloured water looked dirty but it wasn’t and shortly afterward with clean bodies they returned to the camp. Rose had dinner ready.
‘It’s good to have a bathe, Dad’, Claire told her father and sat beside him on a log near the fire. She’d dressed and waited for her dinner with the others. The camp was alive with children laughing and at times screeching with joy of feeling clean and happy.
After the sun passed beneath the horizon Harry and Rose left the camp and walked to the river for their bathe. The children retired to bed and all was quiet. It was so quiet Harry needed to whisper to Rose when they stripped naked and walked into the water. The moon glistened on the water and Rose couldn’t think of being in a better place with her man and what they were doing.
Since the start of the trip Rose put in many a long day caring for the twins, and Annie, only a toddler, whilst trying to keep track on the other children. She lay on her back to relax and said to Harry, ‘can we stay here for the rest of our lives.’ The water lapped her body to put her in a sense of total relaxation.
‘Wouldn’t it be great,’ Harry whispered, ‘how would the cattle get to Clifton Hills?’
‘I don’t care about the cattle Harry,’ she swung her arms around his naked body and pulled him close to her. She felt the nipples of her breasts harden and his body wrap around her as their lips met and a shuddering feeling travelled

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:12 pm

'The Drover' - Page 116:

through to her groin. She loved Harry more than anything else in the world.
‘Why don’t you wash me,’ she asked Harry handing him a cake of sunlight soap. Harry held the soap and moved it over Rose’s strong lean body feeling each curve and muscle as the soap covered her skin. Unfortunately in the river soap doesn’t lather as in a bath. She dipped down under the water and grabbed the soap from Harry at the same time commencing to wash his body. She felt his strong muscled arms and legs and when she moved the soap to his stomach and further down to his loin, she discovered he was ready to make love to her.
With their arms wrapped around one another Rose thought this was one of the best times in their married life they’d made love. She felt his hard penis enter her vagina with ease. In no time he’d ejaculated and at a similar time she’d reached an organism. Her body shook in delight. Each nerve in her body throbbed and at that moment she honestly knew how much she loved this man.

Early the following morning Rose couldn’t wipe the smile from her face; she was deeply in love and would follow Harry to any part on earth he wanted to go. She felt wonderful and even gave the children leeway. Nothing would upset her this day.
Unfortunately this feeling couldn’t go on forever; she wished it would, but children being children there had to be a problem.
Claire and Louise were chasing budgerigars through bushes outside of the camp area.
‘Come inside for your lessons,’ she called to both girls.
There was no answer. A feeling of terror entered her mind and immediately she felt fear of danger for her two daughters. Away from the camp were dingoes, snakes and worst of all - death adders.

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:58 pm

'The Drover' - Page 117:

She called again and still no answer. Through the mist of the morning dew she saw the two girls hiding and giggling crouched behind a saltbush. She went and grabbed the rifle, the same .22 calibre rifle used by Les to kill the beast. She pointed the rifle in the direction of the bush and called out, ‘if you don’t come here immediately I’ll bloody shoot you both.’ With that she fired a bullet in the direction but away from the bush. They soon stood up and raced toward the camp; not giggling almost terrified thinking their own mother was going to shoot them.
‘When I tell you girls to come, I mean straight away. Do you understand me?’ Rose bellowed still holding the gun.
‘Yes Momma – we’ll never do that again.’ They said in unison.

After they moved camp and settled for the night, Harry had the cattle camped down by late afternoon. He returned to camp and said to Rose, ‘I think there’s a dust storm coming – over there look.’ He was concerned. If a dust storm came the cattle wouldn’t settle and could rush. He hoped this wouldn’t happen.
Rose looked to the sky and saw dark shadows quickly forming, ‘come along children, into the back of the truck.’ She calculated the storm was about five minutes away.
Everything needed to be tied down tight, for the wind carried debris and branches, but mainly dust. She cautioned the children to hide in the back of the truck until the storm passed.
She moved what she could of the cooking pots and other utensils and stacked them below the truck away from the wind. She’d been in many a dust storm and this one looked a dozy. With the children safely tucked away in the back of the truck and everything tied down, she climbed into the cabin for safety.
Harry rode to his men and told them to cover their faces with a handkerchief and ring the cattle in tight to weather out

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:58 pm

'The Drover' - Page 118:

the storm. All took notice. Harry covered his face and waited for the wind and storm to arrive.
Clouds of dust covered the horizon followed by howling wind. It was similar to a tsunami but instead of forcing its wave from the ocean, crossed the dry dirt plain. Rolls of dirt struck the men riding horses, each attempting to control their animal and keep their post to prevent the cattle from stampeding. It would only take less than a minute until it was gone.
Harry and the men rode out the storm and watched it pass without incident. Next it attacked the camp blowing its forces toward the truck and the family. Dust storms are dangerous and many a time people have been seriously injured by flying debris and other material when caught in the eye of the storm.
The storm by-passed them without incident, Rose had done everything possible to prevent any accident. Harry rode to the camp after checking he didn’t lose any stock to check on his family. Everyone was safe.
At the camp that night the children’s voices buzzed with stories of how they were scared and thought they’d never see their parents again. After a hearty meal all went to bed with visions of the dust storm almost blew them away.
The only problem with dust storms in the open they leave behind a film of dirt which imbeds into everything. With constant shaking and dusting of bed clothing and everything else finally rids the dust from its hiding place. Another problem is for the next few days afterwards eating the taste of dust is evident in everything.
Harry couldn’t complain about the trip to this point. Apart from a couple of minor hic-cups nothing untoward had happened. They were one day out from Eulbertie Station. He told Les to keep the cattle going while he went ahead to speak with the owner of Eulbertie Station about passing through his property. He’d stay overnight and return the following day and meet them near the boundary fence.

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:51 am

'The Drover' - Page 119:

After Eulbertie Station the stock route followed across the Beal Range. Tributaries of the major rivers flowed through Eulbertie Station and Harry knew there may be little water supply before he hit the Diamantina River. All of these rivers formed what was known as the channel country. After a good season all of the rivers flowed through this harsh country turned it into lush green pastures however; when the rain didn’t arrive it was likened to a desert, dry and hard. There hadn’t been good rain in this region for the past five years and the drought was biting deep.

Harry met the mob on the boundary of Eulbertie Station late on the afternoon of the second day. He’d been given permission by the owner to travel his stock through his property. Harry didn’t need any person to accompany him because his name was one of being honest as the day is long.
They moved the cattle through the property clear of any trouble. Their next stage was crossing the Beal Range. It was smaller than the Grey Range and Harry couldn’t envisage any problems with his aboriginal workers. They crossed through Eulbertie Station and camped at the base of the Beal Range.
After having their meal, two of the aboriginal ringers rode around the camped mob singing their ancestors song. Without notice one of them spurred his horse and galloped around the mob to his companion. In the night sky he saw bright lights just above the horizon. The cattle stood and started to move off camp.
Harry was asleep in the back of the truck; he awoke - things weren’t right, something was wrong. He dressed, saddled Falcon and stirred the others to help him with the cattle. By this time all of the cattle were standing and started to move off camp. He didn’t know what stirred the cattle and by the time he reached his two aboriginal ringers, they jabbered something and pointed at flicking lights on the horizon.

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:48 pm

'The Drover' - Page 120:

He’d seen these lights before, many years before, he thought aliens were coming after him and he hadn’t had a drink.
Five aboriginals rode toward him, ‘we aren’t going on boss – spirits are chasing us. We’re off.’
With the words hardly out of their mouth the five aboriginal stockmen galloped away from the mob and before Harry could call them back, they vanished. Les and Greg joined Harry, ‘where’re they going?’ Les wanted to know.
‘They’re gone and taken my bloody horses and saddles with them.’ Harry questioned.
‘What’d they do that for uncle?’ Greg asked in an inquisitive voice.
‘They saw those lights flicking out there on the horizon and thought they were spirits chasing them.’ Harry replied.
‘Don’t they know it’s only the min min light? Les answered.
‘What’s a min min light?’ Greg asked.
‘When I was your age I was droving with my father and holding cattle out one night. My horse spooked when I think we each saw this light flicking above the bush.’ Harry told his story.
‘I’ve never seen one before.’ Greg intervened.
‘When it happened I asked my father about it and he told me to gallop over and chase it, which I did. I rode at a gallop for a couple of miles and couldn’t get near it. I gave up and returned to camp. When I was near the camp the light flickered again, it was just above the bushes. I’d had enough; I told my father I couldn’t catch it because it kept moving.’
The light continued to flicker above the bushes on the horizon.
‘They’re gone and won’t be back, you know Harry.’ Les told his brother-in-law.
‘We’ll keep going. I can’t worry about them. We’ve still got a long way to go. I’ll stay on watch, you two go and have a sleep and relieve me before daylight.’ Harry finished and

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:23 pm

'The Drover' - Page 121:

rode Falcon around the cattle singing his favourite tune saddle boy.
All through the following day Harry moved the cattle with Les and Greg. Claire helped. They crossed the Beale Range and made camp on the other side close to the South Australian/Queensland border fence. Les rode up to Harry and said, ‘I know where those fellars have gone.’
‘Where?’ Harry wanted to know.
‘They wouldn’t have got further than the Betoota pub. What about I ride over there and have a look.’ Les asked Harry.
‘You only want to have a bloody drink – you old codger.’
‘It wouldn’t be fair to ride all that way and not wet the whistle.’
‘How’d know they’ll be there?’
‘That’s where I’d go if I left the camp.’
‘If you catch up with them, tell em they’re sacked and bring my horses back.’
Les let out a Cooee, flicked his hat in the air and galloped toward the camp.

Chapter 15

With Les and the five ringers gone Harry called on Greg and Claire to help him, even little Hector’s help was encouraging. This meant Harry worked longer hours and went without sleep. They weren’t far from the South Australian and Queensland Border. Birdsville was only fifty miles west.
Harry decided not to go near Birdsville but take the cattle across the Diamantina River and follow the border fence until they reached the South Australian border crossing gate. They would cross the cattle at the gate and head south to Clifton Hills. The toughest section of the trip was almost over.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:21 pm

'The Drover' - Page 122:

That night the cattle were camped on the plain, earlier they’d drank in the Diamantina River and had their fill. Harry circled the mob softly singing to help them settle. He saw storm clouds on the horizon earlier and sensed something was about to happen. He’d seen these signs before and couldn’t put his finger on it. Instincts took over.
His nostrils filled with moisture of rain; it was sweet and refreshing. Without notice lighting flashed above his head and thunder screamed. The cattle stood and rushed off camp. Falcon and Harry galloped as one, Harry drawing his stock whip from his saddle riding hard to get to the front of the mob. Rain blasted his face; lightning flashed throwing electric ribbons through the night sky.
Falcon guided by his master drew level with the front leaders stampeding to escape the rain and thunder. Harry heard the sound of another horse, perhaps Les returned to help, was his wish. He strained to look at the rider and saw it was Claire riding Dusty. After another crack with his whip for some reason the cattle stopped. He looked across at his nine year old daughter; with love in his eyes, a lump in his throat he thought how lucky he was to have an offsider as good as her.
Lucky Harry stopped the cattle before they stampeded and were lost in the bush. Greg joined them with little Hector not far behind. Hector was drenched through to his skin. He was a tough little character who was born to be a drover.
‘How are they uncle?’ Greg asked as he and Hector stopped their horses near to Harry and Claire.
‘I was lucky Claire came to help. I thought they’d be gone for sure.’ Harry muttered.
‘You and Claire go back to camp for a break; we’ll keep an eye on them.’ Greg finished.
Harry and Claire returned to camp. Daylight broke across the horizon as they rode into camp. Rose had a fire going and as they unsaddled their horses Rose said, ‘that was a good one Harry; I thought we’d get washed away.’
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