WYRUNA – a story from Narrandera’s rural past

Part One

The following story had its beginning during the last few years of the sixth decade of the last century and it traces the trials and experiences of a most unlikely person as the story unfolds. The Riverina and the diverse pastoral and agricultural lands to the north and west of the Murrumbidgee River, plus the farmers, graziers and many others involved, have a long and interesting involvement in the rich and productive region.

To this present point in time it is my belief that a lot has been left untold and much more can still be said and recorded. I will endeavour to rectify this somewhat by, in a light-hearted and down to earth way, introduce readers to some of the many people who lived in or were involved in this area over the past five or six decades.

It is early morning, a fine morning with the promise of a hot day to follow. The Christmas season is now well behind us and nearly everyone is settling down to ride out the generally expected dry and hot season over the next few months and await the anticipated autumn break in the season. And so it is that the main character in this story (we will call him Jack) has been up and about for quite a while, always being an early riser as expected for a person who has lived the last 70 years either on the land or involved with it as a stock and station agent.

Now long retired as a full-time employee of a large pastoral company Elders Limited, he still maintains a strong interest in the land, personally looking after the agency interests of a few of his older and more loyal clients. Today he has arranged to visit one of his oldest and most successful clients. He has now been doing business with Tom and Molly for at least 30 years so apart from a business relationship there have been many personal experiences over this long period that consolidates their absolute trust in each other’s knowledge and advice.

The property that Tom and Molly farm is about 50 miles north of Narrandera. It is situated on what is regarded as some of the best cereal growing land in this area. The property is around 8000 acres in area, which is above average for the district. Originally cleared of Murray pine and Grey box timber the soils are in the main soft red, self mulching loams – absolutely ideal for cereal farming. As I turn in the front gate and over the ramp and continue up the carefully graded and treed driveway, I am always amazed at, but pleased by the neatness and tidy way the initial presentation Wyruna displays to any visitor.

Now approaching the farmhouse and associated farm buildings I notice that as always Tom has the farm tray body ute out and is all ready to go. Tied on to the tray are his two working kelpies plus a new young red Kelpie pup, recently purchased from the Wyreema Stud in Narrandera which Tom is currently training up. Salutations and greetings are exchanged and the usual inevitable discussion of the weather and the prospects of an early autumn break and then we set off to inspect the balance of last season’s drop of wether lambs as Tom is of the opinion that they are now ready for marking. He only needs my confirmation before they are consigned.

Altogether there are 250 in the mob and they are running on a paddock of oaten stubble with access to a self-feeder and a mix of grain and hay. The lambs are now rising one year old and there is a need to sell them before they put up their first two permanent teeth and are then being classified as hoggets and subsequently lose value. After a careful inspection there is no doubt that Tom’s assessment is correct. The lambs are in top condition and a decision is made to immediately consign them to the Wagga Wagga lamb sales. And so the business relationship between Tom, Molly and Jack continues as it has done over the years.

It is a story that I hope to develop and narrate for readers’ interest and enjoyment as it unfolds over many years.

to be continued…

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