Wild Cattle from Wallabadah

Wallabadah Rock looms up from the valley.
Thirsty mouths agape with dust, cows’ long horns scraping through the rock.
The wild cattle hurtle down to the gully.
Madly searching for water after being bailed up in their paddock.

They run headlong with cattle dogs snapping heels.
Stockman John is wary of the beasts overshooting the gate.
The Australian Stock-horse Rouchel Rebel reels.
The small brandy kelpie dogs flank the herd like a long lost mate.

John imagines he is Jackie Jackie, a kindred spirit to the rock faces.
The cracker echoes between the mighty gap.
The muster is getting there, Rebel foams between his legs, the dogs coming up aces.
The rocky debris is proving a damn trap.

The cursed rabbit, the mob of cattle take flight.
Between the boulders they scatter.
The spider web is caught flying by the sunlight.
Sisters canter like mad hatter.

Jane, Joann, Cathie and Debbie herd the mob
Dad sits on top of his trusty steed, giving commands
The cowgirls all have horses and a job
Holding onto saddles, it’s as steep as Bridgelands.

Brandy, Whisky and Tonic cunningly hunt the mob out of the maze.
The goal is the gate in the yards over yonder.
Dad quickly wipes his brow, yells at the dogs to heel and raises his gaze.
The cattle reach the yards and are left to ponder.

The rock tall and imposing like an old man kangaroo.
As we drive the cattle from Crofton to Corrong.
The size is second only when compared to Uluru.
We gallop all the way home singing a wee song.

Lean the horse against the gates to open and to close
We cross the creeks, with the drought, they aren’t too wide.
Because I am nearly home I can forget my woes.
Wash down the horse sweat at the end of the ride.

By Cathie Brooker © 2007
See the poem as a video clip at:

Wild Cattle from Wallabadah

Cathie Brooker

Newcastle, Australia

  • Artist

Artist's Description

Poem dedicated to my father: John Brooker 1925-1984
He bought me up working on a cattle property.
Influenced by Banjo Patterson without the metre and word stress.
Wallabadah Rock is the second largest rock in Australia & is owned by my step father’s family.

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