Here is a wonderful poem from our AHVISE Volunteer Sharon from her placement in Dyvenor Downs. This December we will be sharing photos, videos & stories from our AHVISE Volunteers for our competition. We hope you enjoy & thanks Sharon for sharing your experiences with us.
By Sharon Pearson during our VISE placement Oct/Nov 2018
Thargomindah was our destination,
We set out Monday with some hesitation.
Dynevor Downs it said on the map,
What could be hard to find about that.
Head west along the highway it says,
Keep going a long, long, long ways.
Cunnamulla was our overnight stay,
A cosy motel we found on the way.
Next morning we’re out bright and early,
The rest of our trip shouldn’t be too curly.
We arrived at smoko right on the dot,
Greeted with coffee, tea & bickies – the lot.
So into the school room I found my place,
With children all working their lessons to face.
On air was happening the teacher to talk,
No blackboard, bells, rules or chalk.
Just computers, govvie guide and on-air scramble,
The school day time was spent in an amble.
All lessons were over by lunch – a big hooray,
And onto the station with horses to play.
Each day followed calmly in the same vein,
Except Mrs Linda was in quite some pain.
So off to the doctor up Quilpie way,
And over to Roma an overnight to stay.
Mum goes out each day, the ‘woolies’ to find,
They’re up through the mulga – ‘up yonder behind’.
A few today and some more on the morrow,
‘Not all have been gathered,’ she says with sorrow.
Another day out and a few more come clear,
When Saturday comes they’re all there to shear.
They’re all in the pens, the dogs did their job,
The shearers are here to shear the mob.
A buzz round the shed from the shears is heard,
Each shearer with a hand piece is skilfully gird.
By mid-morning they’re done so they tally their score,
Press down the fleeces left on the floor.
Next day is the marking, rams made to wethers,
They missed last year, they’re not light as feathers.
‘Haydo’ lifts sheep including the rams,
Pushing mulga most days, he’s the right-hand man.
Louise does the job, most fellows would do,
She’s adapt at most things, she’s country right through.
One week later we’ve survived all the fuss,
We’ve not been invited to ‘get on the bus’.
“Thank God you are here,” we hear them say,
A little more help in the kitchen today.
Some cooking and cleaning when school is over,
While Mum feeds the weaners but not on clover.
The storm clouds gathered and the air was hot,
Anticipation grew thinking rain was our lot.
The dust rolled in with the wind at speed,
All hands on deck the animals to feed.
The wind races through at alarming pace,
In comes the dust, quick hide your face.
The clouds rolled in quickly, the thunder roared loud,
Then drops or rain from a threatening cloud.
We waited for more but none was in store,
No moisture from dark clouds did eventually pour.
The promise to break this years’ long drought,
Just left all again, the weather to doubt.
I look ‘cross the yard from the workers quarters,
Dan is there guiding his daughters,
On how to break in an untamed horse,
With strength and know-how and patience of course.
Round and round ‘til they face up to you,
Now you can halter and teach trust that’s true.
The V8 is loaded with stock lick to feed,
The cattle way up, we follow the lead.
The bulldust flies high as we make our way,
The water trough lies where the cattle all stay.
The mulga is red from bottom to top,
When will this dry weather turn dry dust to slop?
The boots they wear come up to their knees,
To stop the dirt from getting in (if you please).
Shirts are all long sleeves, they’re very sun smart,
They carry lots of water, they know their part.
Jeans are standard out here on the job,
Especially when mustering and feeding the mob.
We pour out the cotton, urea and seed,
The cattle mill ‘round – they’re glad of our deed.
The kids find their pets and give them a pat,
“Hello old friend,” comes from under a felt hat.
The troughs are fine, now what about calves,
They’re mothers are thin, no wonder they starve.
We find a little one its mothers not found,
It’s laying in the shade making not a sound.
The kids pick it up and put it in the back,
Another poddy calf, we head down the track.
Back to the house with others no doubt,
The toll of this terrible, long lasting drought.
Word comes in that the waters up north,
Are not as reliable as one had thought.
5 days of water are left that’s all,
What do we do? What do we call?
The questions keep flying, how will we cope?
The cattle need water – do we pray or just hope?
The weather map tells of a good lot of rain,
Heading this way will it be the same?
We’ve seen this before and seen it all go,
Slip south or east and bring no river flow.
Too scared to hope, too weary to believe,
We understand how the rain could relieve.
Another day passes and the heat doesn’t stop,
If there’s no reprieve we surely will drop.
The boys on the dozers come in from the heat,
The air con is working they sink to their feet.
‘Twas 42 today they gasp out at last,
I wish this heat wave would hurry go past.
We wake Wednesday morning with grey clouds above,
Do we dare to hope for the rain that we love?
The wind brings it in and there’s a light little patter,
It builds on the tin roof with quite a loud clatter.
By mid-afternoon there’s 10 mls in the gauge,
Will this go down in his-tor-ies page?
The children finish school and run out in the mud,
Oh! what fun this is not a scud.
They kick and scream and roll around,
Enjoying the cool they splash on the ground.
They haven’t seen it for such a long while,
To their faces it has brought such a huge smile.
Days pass by and no promise of rain,
Dust, high temps and wind again.
The dozer leaks oil, it needs a new track,
Quickly fix or mulga the cattle will lack.
The parts can be found in the USA,
Hope they come within a few days.
The school room keeps going at lightning pace,
2 hours of on air, “That lesson was ace”.
All spelling and reading, English and more,
Maths, Science and History assessments to score.
EKindy, year six, year four and year one,
November is here, the years nearly done.
Our days as a VISE have now come to an end,
Back home now we sadly say good bye to new friends.
We’ve loved every minute of our time spent here,
We hope to come back – maybe next year.
Next time no sickness or drought to confront,
Maybe fishes and birds on the lake we could hunt!
Thank you for a wonderful experience Hoch family.