Let’s Keep Alive the Drover’s Day


The campfire’s flames were flick’ring high and embers drifted to the sky,
by old Georgina’s bank I camped just west of Camooweal.
My thoughts then drifted to the men who’d never ride these tracks agen
who’d never squat and share once more the campfires and a meal.
Let’s sing the songs of yesteryear
before the mem’ries disappear
we cannot let them drift away
so keep in mind the drover’s day.

I think that credit first is due to Ludwig Leichhardt, Landsborough too,
their epic explorations paved a way across the North.
Then in their paths the drovers came, we’ll try to mention them by name,
we cannot hope to meet them all but let us sally forth.

A legend Wentworh Darcy Uhr, we’ll not forget you that’s for sure,
the first to use the old gulf track a wild man it was said.
Then George de Latour made his mark, his expeditions end was stark,
though Leonard Elvoy went for help they found Bill Nation dead.

Old droving men like Paraway, the King who opened up the way
and Croker known as Green Hide Sam these men were pioneers.
With strength and courage simply grand they crossed the Barkly Tableland,
then trekked on through the Murrunji which men had fought for years.

Remember Durack and his clan they all were there when it began,
they made their castles and were kings and faced life’s every test.
A droving feat beyond belief some seven thousand head of beef
through Queensland and the Territ’ry up to the far, north-west.

McDonalds from the Isle of Skye they sought to give this land a try;
three brothers forged a new frontier in which they all could dwell.
Their journey is still talked about of how one brother toughed it out
to keep the family’s dream alive he went through flamin’ hell.

The Gordon boys, the Farquharsons, would could forget those sons of guns.
Jack Skuthorpe, Speargrass Noble too; a few that come to mind.
Blake Miller, Jumbo Smith and Rose, the Lewis Bros. … stone the crows,
let’s not forget old Brady too, the first of all their kind.

Our reminiscing must include the Cattle King who was so shrewd,
Jim Laffin is the last of them, Sid Kidman’s men of fame.
A drover’s skin was not just white for Murri drovers earned the right,
the honour rolls include such men and proudly bear their name.

One cannot hope to mention all the droving men who rode so tall
I only hope we can preserve their spirit and their ways.
Perhaps out here in Camooweal they’ll build a hall to praise their zeal
so all Australians can recall those good old droving days.
Let’s sing the songs of yesteryear
before the mem’ries disappear
we cannot let them drift away
so keep in mind the drover’s day.
January 1998

After attending the Inaugural Camooweal Drovers Yesteryear Festival in September 1997 and meeting up with some of this countries legendary drovers, I was moved to write the above poem to the memory of those men who pioneered the early droving days of the North and who are no longer with us. If you do not recognize the names mentioned above you may have to do some research so you too can play your part in keeping alive the drover’s day.

From the Book Laughter and Tears From the Bush


4 replies on “Let’s Keep Alive the Drover’s Day”

G’day Sarah. Yes the bushfires certainly caused a lot of destruction and now the rains are finally coming down and flooding everywhere. Nature sure is mixed bag. I only hope everyone can learn something from them.


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