Allyn River cattle muster | State Library of New South Wales

Allyn River cattle muster

This small booklet is by an anonymous author. The paper is watermarked to 1851 and it contains an account of a cattle drive from Camyr Allyn, a number of humorous pencil sketches, two maps of the Allyn River district and a vocabulary of words used by the Allyn River Indigenous people.

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Transcript: Cattle drive on the Allyn River, c.1851, by an unknown author
Manuscript  Aa 52/1

1/ Notes on a Cattle drive:

On Tuesday morning we started from Camyr Allyn, having sent the stockmen and dray with supplies the day before; to muster the H brand of cattle, which had been almost entirely unlooked after for some years before, and there being a large proportion of unbranded calves among them. On arriving at the yard, we had to construct a wing to the right hand corner, as there was a deep gully on the edge of which the yard was built and when the cattle were coming quickly in they generally rushed down this creek, before a horse could come round to oppose them. By dinner time we had finished a few substantial log panels (sic) extending about 40 yards, and after dinner (we) started for our first lot of cattle. We soon caught a large mob, quietly grazing by the side of a creek, but when [we got them] near the yard, half of them broke away, and galloped off, not to be caught again that night; however we got some more before dark & then had a first rate supper. Indeed you can make a much better meal in the bush, where you have been on the move all day, off damper & tea, than you could from the most luxurious dainties at home. We had a piece of beef, that would have been turned away from almost any table, & yet I am sure I enjoyed it. When the morning came, two horses were missing, and nearly the whole encampment turned out to look for them, after a couple of hours search, they were found by a black fellow, at some distance down the creek, on their way homewards. After breakfast a man came from the river to help, & after dinner another settler brought two men, & we got a good number. But the day was an unfortunate one for the stockman for he killed his mare - the most wonderful creature for going - He was crossing a creek, when the mare slipped on some smooth stones, and the force with which she fell broke her hip, and injured her internally, in some way or other, for she died a short time afterwards. Thursday brought more assistance from the river, and we went over a high range of hills, into a neighbouring creek. There the cattle were very wild: as soon as they saw the men coming, they would dash down the sides of the hills, as hard as they could gallop, and make for the brushes. The men endeavoured if possible to keep between them, and the brushes to which they were running, and though most of the riders have good horses, and are very fearless, the cattle generally get away, at least some of them. At one time, you may see cattle, and horsemen climbing up some hill, where a man on foot would find it difficult to go, at another, descending at full gallop, it is quite wonderful that the horses do it. We did not get many that day, and came home with both our horses, and ourselves tired, and hungry, and glad to be done for that day. We saw a fine chase. It was a large wild bull - a terrible fellow - black as jet, his eyes flashing fire, as he galloped along, or charged the nearest horseman, there were full 20 men after him, and it was as much as the best horses there could do to keep up with him. Every now and then he would stop, and then make a rush at the nearest, but whenever he did this, a man would gallop up, and thrash him with a long whip, till he turned, then off the whole lot would go shouting cracking whips and making all the noise they could; at last they hunted him into a water hole and killed him. Friday was the dragging day, in which our's [and other per] were seperated (sic) from other people's cattle. The yard was a very inconvenient one for this sort of work, as most of the caps were rotten, and the cattle were very wild, and given to charging. However, at 1 o'clock we had finished and having had dinner started homewards. As soon as the rails were down the cattle rushed out and did there (sic) best to get away, some succeeded; but on the whole, we got off very well; though when we were a few miles down the river, a 'worn out cow' gored one of the horses, but not to hurt him seriously. We stayed a short tine at Mr W. Boydell's yard, to refresh the cattle, and arrived at home about dusk.

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