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Aussie Pioneers - 20. AP Chapter 20

“Apples. These are a nice treat. I haven’t had one of these for a few months,” I said before biting into it and munching away at the delicious fruit.

“Florence bought some on Monday, along with some lemons and oranges. She hopes to use the seeds to grow some fruit, so save any seeds that you may have,” Archie said to us.

“I think we can all squeeze into the buggy, so we can rest our feet for a while, and just slowly push the stock forward,” I announced, and my cousins were pleased to hear this.

“I don’t mind walking for a while, so you three can stretch out a bit,” Archie said. “How is the fence building going?” I asked my brother.

“Good. We had completed another half a mile, before I had to come and meet up with you. Oh, and Florence said that we will accommodate Daniel and Archie in the community hall, until we decide what to do on a more permanent basis,” Archie responded.

“Yes, I have been thinking about that. We have enough wood to build a cottage, say 2/3’s the size of the new house. We can build it on the south east end of the hamlet. That should be enough for a new home for Daniel and Charlie,” I announced.

“You don’t want them closer to the homestead?” Archie enquired.

“No, because when Ma and Pa and our sisters arrive, they will be close by in the hamlet, if they get too lonely.In the meantime, I think we can put them in the barn, where it is warm and cosy, and Florence can feed them, until the cottage is finished,” I said.

With the horse and buggy assisting to push the stock forward, we managed to cover a lot more distance than we had the previous day, and with a clear night, we enjoyed some beef and vegetable soup, that Florence had made for us, plus some fresh bread and butter, and an apple each, of which I gave half of my apple to my horse – Honey.

It was about two hours after our midday meal stop the next day, when we pushed the stock through the hamlet, and our cousins were amazed at all the buildings located here, so far out from the nearest town of Ceduna. “What is that building way back there on the rise with a windmill?” Charlie asked, and I heard Archie chuckle, “That my dear cousin, is the school, where you will be attending when not helping on the farm” I responded.

“Do I really have to go?” Charlie complained, and I glanced over to Daniel who just nodded his head to me, “Yes you do, since I am the oldest in the family, it is my decision that you attend school, just like Simeon has to do, until the end of the school year that you turn sixteen. By the way the school timetable is a little different than what you are used to in Scotland, our summer holidays are 6 weeks during the hottest period of the year, from mid-December to the start of February.

At this school, it is 9am to 2pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and just 9am to 11.30 on Wednesday and Saturdays, as most children in this community have morning and afternoon chores to do, as will you” I said to my younger cousin, who screwed up his nose in dislike, and he turned to face his brother.

“Sorry little brother, but Edwin is the head of the family, so what he says, goes” Daniel said to his brother and I nodded my approval at what Daniel said, just as the children came rushing out of the school building, and down the slight hill into the hamlet.

“Hello Edwin, who is this with you?” James asked when he and his two brothers arrived, “Hello boys, these are my two cousins, who have just arrived with this big flock of sheep and goats, Daniel is Archie’s age and Charlie is and older than Simeon, where is he by the way” I replied.

“He got in trouble with Mrs O’Grady for cursing, and has to stay behind” Adam said, “Oh did he just, well I hope he will learn his lesson. Cousins, these three rascals are Florence’s three sons, and my step sons, James who is 12, Adam who is 9 and Mark who is 6” I said finishing the introductions.

Jump into the buggy, boys, and Archie can take you home, I will have a quick talk with Mrs O’Grady and let Simeon know he will be bringing the other buggy on his own” I said and I set off towards the school, stopping just before the door to listen in, but all was quiet, so I stepped into the doorway and Simeon turned when he heard me enter.

“Has he finished his punishment Mr O’Grady” I asked, “Yes, he can go home now thank you Edwin” Mrs O’Grady answered, and Simeon stood up and raced towards me, and he wrapped his arms around me and started to cry. “Shh now, we can go home now” I said to my youngest brother patting his back to console him.

“I am sorry Edwin I didn’t mean to curse, it just slipped out” Simeon said quietly, “Ok, did you apologise to Mrs O’Grady?” I asked, “That he has done, thanks for asking, now off you go, I must get home to cook supper” Mrs O’Grady said.

“You will have one more for your school tomorrow, my two cousins have arrived unexpectantly, and the youngest – Charlie… err Charles O’Donnell aged 15, will be attending” I informed the head teacher, “Thank you for letting me know Edwin, I look forward to him attending, good day now” Mrs O’Grady answered and we walked out of the school and down the hill.

“Your cousins also brought along with them 124 sheep and 16 goats, oh and a little surprise too” I said to my brother as we entered the Hamlet and turned left to head for the yards to retrieve the horse Dickens, and the buggy. When we caught up to Daniel and Charlie, they were almost home, and Simeon jumped off the back of the buggy to great his cousins, with a hug and pat on the back, before asking what the little surprise is, and Charlie pointed down at his feet, where Jock was sitting on his master’s boot.

“Meet Jock, a wee present from your sisters, Martha and Beatrice to keep guard for all of us” Daniel said to Simeon, who smiled broadly as he bent down and patted the dog. “He is such a wonderful present, Edwin, where are Daniel and Charlie going to live?” Simeon asked.

“Well I did say they can stay in the barn, but I am sure Archie and you can share some floor space in your bedrooms” I announced, “Yes that they can, it is wonderful to see you again cousins” Simeon said excitedly.

“Can you take our cousins in the buggy, and let Florence know that I am about half an hour away from arriving with the new flock, and start on your chores please, and open the gate for the second stock yard ready for this lot to arrive” I said to Simeon, who indicated for Daniel and Charlie to climb into the buggy and they soon raced off in a trot for the homestead.

When I finally arrived home, the boys had formed a line to corral the sheep and goats into the yard, before closing the gate, and I headed indoors to say hello to my wide and give her a big hug, since I had missed her over the past few days.

“Hello my dearest, I am finally home, thank goodness, and we all arrived in one piece, although a little soggy from the rain the other night” I said as I came up to Florence and wrapped my arms around her, “Go and wash up, I have made sure dinner is early today, the boys should be finished their chores by now and will be in soon” Florence said to me, and I gave her a kiss on the neck and headed for the wash house.

For the next two weeks, fence building was put on hold, so that the cottage for the O’Donnell brothers could be built, and some more work was done on the house for our Ma and Pa, with the external walls and roof completed, including the door and window frames.

When Daniel and Charlie moved into their new home, in early June, work continued the fencing, with Daniel Archie and I working on it full time, with us being able to do 1/3rd of a mile a day, which I was very pleased about, even if it is very hard work.

In just under three weeks, we had managed to complete four miles of fence line, getting a lot faster as we went, and we didn’t stop when it began to rain, as I wanted to get some paddocks completed as soon as possible.

We didn’t even stop for Sunday’s which really annoyed Florence a lot, especially when the day came around for Reverend Forrest to visit, but I insisted to Florence that the farm must come first, if we are to survive out here, as we could never tell when something may go wrong, so we must be prepared no matter what.

Daniel and Charlie would have their evening meal with us at the homestead each night, and Florence made packed lunches for all of us, depending on if it was the boys going to school or us men going to work out on the farm.

During the little spare time we had, Archie and I would do a little bit more on the Cameron Home in the hamlet, and it was while we were on one of those spare days, Archie announced to me that once it was liveable, that he would move into the house, until our Ma & Pa and sisters arrive.

When our cousins heard about this, Daniel suggested that all three of them share the house, and that the cottage could be a guest house, which I thought was a great idea. When we had begun building in the hamlet, I had made sure that all of the medium sized trees, a small number of larger trees and some of the shrubs remained, to provide wind and sun protection during the hotter summer months, and now I was glad that I had done that, as it makes the hamlet look a lot more suitable for families to live.

Florence along with Louisa and Maria, made the journey into town in the motor vehicle in early July, so they could jointly purchase their basic supplies for each of their homes, and this allowed Archie, Daniel and I to continue with the farm work.

It was the first week in August, when we had completed to fence lines west to east, from the western boundary to the sheep yards, plus the 8 short fences to divide the long paddocks into 5 paddocks of 690 acres along the south boundary and the same along the north boundary.

This also created a very large central paddock, which instead of dividing into five paddocks, I had decided to make them into just 3 paddocks of 1150 acres in area. We would also build the additional two more fence lines to create two laneways to easily move the sheep around between paddocks, and a shorter laneway between two of the larger paddocks to get access from the north laneway to the south laneway, which I estimate to take another 4 weeks to completed all of the fencing on the western half of the farm.

All the other neighbouring farmers have also been busy building post and rail fences on their farms, with a road laneway now established between our southern boundary and the northern boundaries of the Barrington farm - “Greendale”, O’Grady farm - “Parkham” and D’Angelo farm - “Patrizi”, with gates for access to the road.

By now the house in the hamlet was also completed, and Archie, Daniel and Charlie shared the house, while Reverend Forrest used the cottage when he was staying in the hamlet, which was now for two nights each month.

Between all the fence building, we also had to manage the rest of the farm, with all the new ewes already pregnant before leaving England, and we had a total of 158 lambs and 16 kid goats born on the farm, and Simeon and Charlie took on the responsibility of taking care of all the new-borns.

Meanwhile the other three boys looked after feeding the goats, pigs, dog and chickens plus collecting the eggs, while my dear wife did the twice daily milking of the goats and dairy cows, as well as making the cheese, butter, feeding us all and keeping the house in order.


Copyright Preston Wigglesworth January 2019 All Rights Are Reserved

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Chapter Comments

Another fantastic chapter. The story is continuing to get better with each chapter as more of the Cameron family arrives in Australia. The rest of the family should arrive around Christmas time which would make the Hamlet a bit more lively. When they arrive they will meet Florence and her sons for the first time as well as the other families that live around them. I look forward to reading more chapters as they come out. 

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