‘the older cows would lead and the younger ones would drag. You’d have to push them along. Keep pushing them along to keep up with the leaders. The leaders seemed to enjoy going to the coast for a holiday.’
The drovers, their horses, dogs and up to several hundred cattle would leave their farms after milking finished around Christmas or New Year, and start their journey to the coast. It would take several days and they followed well-travelled routes.
It must have been a wonderful sight - the cattle walking slowly along the tracks accompanied by several drovers on horseback with a dog or two chasing up any that strayed.
The cattle grazed on the scrub along the way and drank from water courses as they crossed them. A few drovers had cattle yards at the overnight stops while others would muster the cattle in the morning before setting off.
Although there were some huts along the way, usually when the drovers were ready to hit the hay, they slept in their swags under a tree if it was raining, they would sling up a tarp or tent.
Riders carried their rug roll or swag across the saddle as well as a bumble bag. This was a sack that was sewn up at the top but open along one side. It was slung over the horses back and contained meat, bread, tea and other supplies for the journey.
‘Well, it was a wonderful experience because it was just my father and I and we carried everything on our horses and camped; carried our swags on the front of the horse, rolled it out at night and slept in it Got up early in the mornings!