My father the jackaroo

Looking through some old family photos and documents. This from 80 years ago…

In 1939, my father Bruce Macdonald applied by letter for work as a jackaroo at Newinga Station, Talwood Queensland. He was 17 years old and had already been working as a jackaroo (trainee stockman/farmhand) for a some time.

The Station Manager replied, asking:

“What weight are you, can you swim a river in flood with or without a horse, can you crutch a sheep with hand shears, can you and are you prepared to kill a sheep or milk a cow if required run a horse up in the morning, muster sheep or cattle in rain hail or shine from flooded country & otherwise fall into line at anything asked to do at any time?”

I don’t know how my father responded, but he got the job, and was given princely remuneration amounting to 33 shillings per week ($3.30). In offering him the job, the Station Manager further advised:

“If you have a dog or two that are worth bringing bring them along”.

He worked there until March 1941, and left with a nice reference declaring that:

“I have found him very capable, energetic and most conscientious and truthful about his work and he also has a good knowledge of most station work …. Thanking you and trusting you will be in a position to put a position in his way.”

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