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Aussie Pioneers - 11. AP Chapter 11

“No sir, we just completed a few chores while waiting for the stampede to end,” I replied, which made Mr Harking roar with laughter.

“I heard that, young man,” Mrs Harkin said when she stepped into the room from the back.

“Oh, leave him be, Dear, he is only telling the truth. We will have to call it the Cameron Stampede,” Mr Harkin said before starting to laugh again, and Archie and I chuckled at the humour.

Once we had settled down a little, Mrs Harkin asked us to come out the back to collect Simeon’s two chests of luggage.

“Two chests! What on earth did Ma put into them? One of our sisters?” I asked.

“No, Brother. Ma just wanted me to bring some learning books on mathematics, history and geography, so we can keep up with our education,” Simeon replied.

“Well that is good to know. Mrs Applegate has been spending mornings teaching her three sons, so I guess you can do the same, while Archie and I are out working in the fields. You will have your share of chores to do, as the other boys do. You may want to take over doing the milking each morning and evening,” I said to my younger brother.

“Don’t forget about the rest of it,” Mr Harkin said to us.

“What do you mean rest of it? Is there more, than just these two big trunks?” I exclaimed in surprise.

“Oh yeah, I did forget something,” Simeon said looking a little sorry for forgetting. “You will have to follow me, so we can collect them,” Simeon added, as Mr Harkin carried the lighter of the two trunks, and Archie and I carried the heavier trunk, full of books.

Once the trunks were loaded and secured, Mr & Mrs Harkin waved us goodbye, and we climbed onto the buggy and set off down the street towards the harbour.

“What exactly is it that we have to collect?” I asked Simeon who just smiled.

When we arrived at the harbour, Simeon lead us to the freight clerk.

“My name is Edwin Cameron. I have come to collect the freight that came on yesterday’s ship please,” I said to the clerk, as I glanced over to Simeon, who whispered into Archie’s ear, and he laughed out loud.

“Right, Mr Cameron. We have 43 Exmoor sheep and 8 British Alpine goats,” the freight clerk said, after looking at his information. My mouth dropped open in surprise.

“Well, Pa must be doing alright if he has sent us all of these animals,” I said sounding a little shocked, while Archie and Simeon were chuckling.

“Ok, you two, you will have to start them moving towards home, while I finish buying all of the supplies, including extra hay and oats for this lot,” I said to my brothers. Once they had the sheep and goats on their way out of town, I headed to the stock supply store to get what I needed there before getting the essential food supplies from the general store, before collecting some packing crates and milk pails from the Harkins.

Archie and Simeon had the stock grazing just out of town when I caught up to them, and we set off on what is now a well-used track heading in a north west direction towards home, stopping just over an hour later to set up camp for the night. Once again we used the long ropes to keep the sheep and goats together, to stop them from wandering away.

The next morning as we ate some breakfast, I remembered what day it was. “Archie, today it has been 9 months since we arrived in Ceduna,” I said casually. Archie stopped eating for a moment, nodded in understanding and continued to eat.

“I don’t miss home any more. This is our new home, and although it is hard work, I like it,” Archie said eventually.

“Me too, Brother. Me too,” I replied.

When we arrived back at the farm, Simeon looked in surprise as we approached the house. “Wow, did you build this house?” he asked.

“Yes, we sure did,” Archie replied proudly, and I smiled and nodded pleased to see that Archie was proud of what he had achieved, just as I was proud of him.

“By the way, when I went to collect the milk canisters and wooden crates from Mr Harkin, he gave me a note from the Lands Registry, informing us that the second family that had bought the Western property just south of us, had returned their land licence, as they were not able to cope with how tough it is out here, and we have been given first offer on the 8 square miles of land, which I decided to decline,” I announced.

By the way, I want to move into the study and Simeon can have my old room,” Archie said as he jumped down off the buggy, just as the three Applegate boys exited the house.

“Hello, boys. This is our youngest brother, Simeon,” Archie said to James, Adam and Mark, before they started to unload the buggy.

Archie helped me to lift down and carry the heavy trunk of books, which we put in the hallway, just inside the main door, which is the one between the kitchen and living room.

“Florence, this is our youngest brother, Simeon, who made a surprise arrival the day before we came into town. Sim, this is Mrs Applegate, our housekeeper,” I said making the introductions when Florence stepped out of the kitchen.

“Well, it is a pleasure to meet you Simeon. You look to be a year or two older than James, my oldest,” Florence responded.

“Two years, Ma’am. I am 13,” Simeon replied shyly.

“Mr Hiltz from the bookshop has put some books aside for us, and I bought all 20 of them, and Simeon has brought some learning books with him for schooling,” I said to Florence, pointing down to the trunk near her. She bent down and opened the trunk.

“Not just books. There are all sorts of things in here, and oh my goodness…” Florence said as she pulled out a set of bagpipes.

“Our Pa’s set of pipes, that belonged to our grandpa, and I learnt to play them when I was just Simeon’s age,” I announced.

“Well, it is your house, so I guess I can’t complain,” Florence said screwing up her nose as she handed them over to me. I slipped the bag under my arm, the pipe into my mouth and I grabbed the hand piece and began to blow.

I began to play Amazing Grace, as it was one of my favourites, and by the time I had finished, Florence had tears on her cheeks.

“Are you ok” I asked looking worried.

“No, I am fine. That was one of my mother’s favourite tunes, and it brought back a lot of happy memories, thank-you,” Florence said, before returning to the kitchen.

Indicating to Simeon to follow me, I lead the way down the passage, and showed him which would be his room, next to mine, before showing him the wash room and out house, then the living room.

The learning books, and the books for general reading were placed in the shelving in the living room, while the books for me were put in the study, along with the bagpipes, and a mantle clock, that also belonged to our grandparents, back in Scotland.

Once the buggy had been unloaded, and Honey had been unharnessed and fed, Archie and Simeon went out to feed all the other animals, and get the new sheep and goats settled into a separate paddock from the others, while I helped with storing away all of the supplies that we had brought back, and getting the new bed set up in the study for Archie.

At dinner time, Simeon didn’t eat very much, which worried me a little, but he just said that he was tired from all of the travelling, so I let him be, and hoped that a good night’s rest would do him some good.

The next morning, Simeon appeared washed and dressed just as we all sat down for breakfast, with the small chores of milking and collecting eggs, plus feeding the horses already done.

“Good morning, Simeon. How did you sleep?” Florence asked when he entered the dining room.

“Ok, I guess thanks,” Simeon replied.

“He came into my room, and slept with me for a while, till I put him back into his bed,” Archie added, and I nodded my head in understanding.

“I am going to try making cheese out of the goat’s milk today, and see how much different it will be,” Florence announced to us as we ate breakfast.

“Simeon after breakfast is over and clean-up is completed, which you, Mark and Adam will help with, Mrs Applegate will be supervising your learning, and now with your new books, you can have a broader education.

After lunch, Mark and Adam will show you around the farm. Just remember to wear boots at all times, and now that it is summer, make sure you keep an eye out for snakes and scorpions, and keep well away from them,” I informed my younger brother, who looked a little scared as he nodded his understanding.

“Florence, Archie and I will be working on boundary fences, starting today, so can we have a packed lunch please. Oh and there is something in the study for you also,” I said to Florence, and she smiled and nodded her head, before standing and heading to the study, where a spinning wheel stood in the corner.

“Oh, its’ wonderful. Thankyou, Edwin,” we heard her call out, and a few moments later she returned, and came and gave me a side-ways hug.

“You are most welcome. Soon we will have a new product to sell in town - knitting wool,” I said smiling.

“Yes, and maybe a little to spare, so I can knit some pullovers for everyone,” Florence added.

Once we had the Clydesdales harnessed up to the big wagon, and the tools loaded on, Archie and I set off down the track towards our southern boundary, to start building a proper post and rail fence.

Starting from the South East corner, we left a large space for some gates that we will make later, as we began building the fence, heading West, using some of the posts that Archie had already installed a few months earlier.

We arrived home just before dark, tired and sore, but we had achieved quite a lot for one day, with a lot more-hard work ahead of us. The next day, we decided to shear the new sheep, as they had a good length of wool on them, and I didn’t want it to get too contaminated with dust and grass during the summer months.

Archie and I got to work to shear the 43 new sheep, with Florence helping with collecting the fleeces and temporarily storing them in hessian bags, until she could wash them.

Although not as much as the previous lot of wool, it was still plenty to keep Florence busy with washing and drying each fleece, and now between cooking and cleaning, we would start to spin the wool into knitting wool.

I informed Florence that she would get part share of the profits from the sale of the wool, for all of her hard workwith the fleece.

Once the shearing was completed, Archie and Simeon joined me to continue work on the boundary fencing, of which we had 5 miles to complete the southern side of the property, before we started on the Western boundary. We were averaging about a ¼ mile a day.

Three weeks later, we finally reached the western boundary marker, once again leaving a space for a gate. We were all pleased at what we had achieved, which would be the start of building a fully functioning farm, instead of having just a heap of small paddocks, which would not help to improve our stock numbers.

With our bottom and top boundaries being 5 miles long, and the two side boundaries 6.4 miles long, it meantthat it would take us just over four weeks to complete each boundary.

I decided that once we had completed the Western boundary, that we would work on the Northern boundary next leaving the Eastern boundary to last.

With the post and rail fence having just two rails, there was a big enough gap for sheep to get through the fence, so we would have to do well with the sale of the wool, to be able to purchase the plain wire that we would require to strand between the ground and the first rail and between the two rails, to keep all the sheep inside our land.


Copyright Preston Wigglesworth January 2019 All Rights Are Reserved

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Chapter Comments

Awesome chapter. I hope that Simeon is alright, he didn’t seem to be feeling well, it could be from all of the traveling he’s done to get to Australia. Of course it could be homesickness as he was sent to live with Edwin and Archie in Australia, after seeing the bagpipes and hearing Archie play Amazing Grace it’s possible that it brought on some homesickness. With the new arrival of more livestock they’ll be able to get some good wool from the sheep. 

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