Now many farmers had water trucks, or big tankers and pumps in the agricultural areas, but on the pastoral stations in those days nobody had much of that type equipment. With the regular checking and maintenance this situation should not have occurred – but shit happens, we just had to fix it now.
Dad and Lady had the sheep from the south western paddock “Moolarie”, mobbed up and gently moving thru the gate into “Curbur” paddock. There was not the usual rushing, not only because they were all so very dehydrated, but because it was bloody hot around forty plus degrees centigrade and sheep just hobbled together into a mob reluctantly. Of course there was a few sheep that were quite sprightly, obviously been off water for much less time, perhaps they just came in for their first drink this morning to find it dry. They were to be very responsible for the later dramas to come, but they were only looking after number one, and could not be blamed.
We finally got the combined mob out of Curbur paddock into Tin hut paddock (that’s the paddock not the mill –the mill is on the NW end of the paddock) and the others out of Muthernabbin and after twenty minutes or so we were mobbed up and ready to head north towards Tin Hut mill. Travelling on the eastern side of the fence line where the mill track was, some ten kilometres away to the north.
It looked OK to start with, as the animals were at their strongest initially that they were going to be, and of course we weren’t expecting speed and knew well it was going to be a hard slog. Importantly going north from Georges towards Tin Hut its quite open country for a kilometre or so, and everything was going along pretty well, or so we thought.
However after and hour or so the old bitch Lady was knocking up understandably, and the tail was constantly pulling up in the shade now that we were starting to get into thicker shade country. While this was happening, the stronger faster young sheep I mentioned before were easing out away from the fence to the north east, for protection into the bush, attempting to slip away from Dad in the jeep.